How to ensure a long and successful career
Achieving career longevity doesn’t happen by accident. It takes time and effort to succeed in your chosen field, and nobody but you is responsible for making it happen.
However, in an increasingly competitive jobs market and a technologically advanced society, the road to success is not as black and white as it once was. According to research from Investec, graduates switch jobs an average of four times within the first ten years of their career. But is it any surprise? Thanks to the rise of automation and forces of globalisation, what it means to have a successful career has vastly changed over the last few decades: today, the concept of a ‘job for life’ is a distant memory, but that doesn’t mean we can’t aspire to greatness.
While the game may have changed, the rules remain the same: if you are to strive for success, it must come from within. The following tips will help to steer you in the right direction and build your future to fit your goals.
Map your journey
While it’s practically impossible to predict how your personal life will pan out, creating a strategy that reflects your career ambitions should allow you to at least determine your professional journey. There are bound to be unforeseeable circumstances that will de-rail your mission or distract from the plan, but establishing certain milestones you must achieve to succeed in your career will allow you to forecast your future development and track your progress.
Never stop learning
Previously, a long career was synonymous with climbing the corporate ladder in a firm until you reached senior status. However, to “live long and prosper” in the working world no longer relies on the security of a single employer: instead, it demands the drive of an individual to enhance their own employability. To drive your career forward, you must take learning and development into your own hands. If you are satisfied in your current company, investigate both the short-term and long-term requirements of your role: which areas could you improve on to enhance your own skills and benefit the business? If you are seeking new opportunities within other companies, expanding your knowledge and experience is critical in gaining a competitive edge.
Be open to change
As times change, technology moves with it. Adapting your skills to meet the requirements of the ever-evolving business landscape is a must. Reading industry news, keeping up to date with webinars and enrolling on professional development courses are professional ways to avoid having your career metaphorically placed in the recycling bin. It’s also essential to understand whether change in the business is benefiting or harming your career. If your current remit has evolved significantly since you took the job, your new-found responsibilities could play a crucial role in your professional development. However, if they do not relate whatsoever to your career plan, it might be time for a change.
Don’t be afraid to move around
If you are passionate about your job but don’t feel motivated by the company, don’t let fear hold you back: you’ve signed a contract, not signed away your soul. Yes, certain employers may be cautious about hiring candidates with a history of short stints in companies and yes, searching for a new job takes time and effort. But if we are to spend the majority of the week at work, we had best ensure that it inspires and empowers us to improve.