by: David Brown, Jr. and Darrell Fincher
In the blog post “What Is Career Consciousness” we outlined the importance of doing what you love and its connection to career satisfaction. We also introduced a concept called career consciousness; your own level of awareness about your career and all of the knowledge, skills and experiences that make you, you.
We support the idea that the higher your level of career consciousness, the more in tune you are with your sense of purpose in the work that you do. That ultimately leads to longer term career satisfaction. If you want to be satisfied in the work that you do, we suggest placing a higher priority on raising your own career consciousness.
Here are 4 tips that will help you start feeling the high level of professional satisfaction that you deserve.
- Understand how the system works: Every organization does talent acquisition and talent development “their way.” If you want to be mobile and obtain the job that you desire, it’s important that you understand the ins and outs of the hiring process of the organization. Some organizations are very formal in their approach, and are looking for very specific skills, academic backgrounds, etc. Other organizations may have strong informal networks where having leaders who know your work, and can be “talent brokers” on your behalf are critical to successfully landing a new job. A good starting point to understanding the system would be to ask questions of those who have been successful in navigating their careers in that particular system. It’s totally ok to ask for help. None of us have become successful strictly by our own skills and experience. We all have recevied assistance at some time or another.
- Move beyond the traditional technical skills training: Training (especially in certain disciplines) can be a beautiful thing. However, nothing replaces the value of experience. There are times where training and education can get you in the door, but the market has always paid a premium for a professional who has demonstrated their skills, and achieved a level of success through their experiences. Be thoughtful about where you invest your time and money on supplemental training and education. We recommend balancing that strategy with identifying opportunities to get real world experience through stretch assignments in your current role, or outside activites such as volunteering.
- Find a mentor: Mentoring relationships can be very powerful. They create a safe environment to get questions answered and discuss challenges. Identifying a mentor who is in a role that is similar to what you desire to obtain can be an extremely beneficial relationship. He/she could pass along important knowledge about how he/she navigated their careers and what’s important for success in their current position. This bit of wisdom could be helpful in formulating your own career plan. Not to mention, mentors with good track records can be powerful influencers of other leaders. People hire people they can trust. Having an influencer who is trusted by others speaking on your behalf could open additional doors for you.
- Know yourself: Assess your strengths and weaknesses. Look at your list of experiences and do a deep dive on those that brought you the most satisfaction. What was most satisfying about those roles? Are there any similarities? Were you leading a team, a part of a team or an individual contributor? What did you not like about some of those experiences? Ask yourself questions about what’s important to you, and how can your values be on display everyday that you come into work. Understanding yourself requires a commitment to become aware of aspects that we like and do not like about ourselves. Remember, no experiences are ever wasted because every experience can be a learning opportunity. Be gentle with yourself as you go on the greatest journey you could ever imagine…understanding you.
Raising your career consciousness is not difficult. It simply requires you to make the space for yourself to begin engaging in a little self discovery and research. For some people this may take them outside of their comfort zone. But, just like any change, eventually you develop a routine and a new set of habits that serve a very specific purpose begin to emerge. Now is the time to find a career that makes your heart sing. There is nothing even close to the feeling of doing work that you feel like you were put on this earth to do.
Peace and love