Are you happy and fulfilled at work? Or do you feel as though you are on the 9/5 treadmill, filling in the hours until retirement?
Most of us recognise the benefits of a regular medical and financial check-up. But your career is as much in need of an annual review as your body and your bank balance.
If you’re not satisfied at work, it’s easy to plunge straight into looking for a new job. But before jumping online to a job search site, take a step back. If you work out what you really want to do with your working life first, you’ve more chance of finding that dream job.
A career check-up can help you work out where you’ve come from and where you’d like to be. And the good thing is that you can examine the issues, diagnose any problems and work out a treatment plan yourself.
- Examine—List your top 10 achievements over the past year. If there are too many to choose from, that’s great. But if you’re struggling to come up with highlights, it could mean that you need to make a change. Now think about where you’d like to be in five years’ time. Will your current job get you there? Do you need to go back to school and retrain or can you skill up in your current job?
- Diagnose—List the top five reasons why you're at your current job. Again, if day-to-day job satisfaction is high up on your list, you’re in a pretty healthy position. But if you find that you're ranking dollar bonuses and entitlements like long-service leave higher, then things might be a little out of balance. It might be time to ask yourself whether you're at the right place in your career.
- Treat—A good way to look at it is to start working on your career, not just in your job—start by:
- Refreshing your personal brand by updating your LinkedIn profile and raising your profile on the work intranet.
- Updating your resume with your most recent achievements and making sure it matches the type of work you’re looking for.
- Start networking by setting aside regular time every week in your calendar to have a coffee or lunch with your best contacts.
- Start attending professional development workshops, seminars and conferences.
- Write for trade journals or blogs in your career of choice.
- Get involved in professional associations.
- Get social and collaborate in online forums related to your area of expertise1.
Should you stay or should you go?
It’s one of the hardest questions to answer. Can you achieve your career goals where you are or do you need to look for a fresh start elsewhere?
We live in an age of workplace mobility. With the average tenure in a job just over three years, someone starting out now will have 17 different jobs and five different careers in their working lifetime.
And there’s a growing trend towards ‘portfolio’ careers, where people have a number of part-time, consultative or freelance jobs on the go at any one time. If that sounds like something that would suit your work/life balance, here are some tips to create a portfolio career.
So there’s no reason to settle for second best and stay at a workplace if it isn’t right for you. But remember, the grass isn’t always greener. If you’ve built up a solid reputation at your current employer, you should think carefully about starting again somewhere new. And of course there’s always the option of a new challenge in the form of a different role at the same company.
So if you feel as though you’re going through the motions, it could be time to get on the front foot and start planning your working life to achieve your goals.
A career check-up can help make sure you’re on the right track, help you reignite your spark and achieve your dreams.