When you’re looking for help with your choice of career, it’s easy to take the first advice that comes your way – after all, it’s important and usually highly time-sensitive! Friends and family are often more than willing to tell you their thoughts. Careers are so important, however, that it’s always important to seek a second opinion. Look for advice from tenured professionals in the field that you are in or are looking to break into.
Whether it’s your first time in or you are looking to further your position within your current career, navigating your way through the path of career development can be a daunting endeavor. Knowing where to seek career advice can ease your transfer into a new career. Developing your identity, creating and maintaining your image, and preparing yourself to take advantage of emerging opportunities all contribute to your success in the workplace. Career planning is a personal plan to increase your value to an employer while focusing your career goals around your unique skills and ambitions.
Some excellent published works on career advice include: What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful by Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter; Your Career is an Extreme Sport: Focus Drive Excel by Eileen Gunn; Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies for Changing Your Career by Herminia Ibarra; and Rules for Renegades by Christine Comaford Lynch.
Some general career advice before you dive into the wealth of resources available onsite:
The first step to controlling your career path is to pay attention to your progress. Create frequent, and realistic, short-term goals and work hard to meet them. Ensure that your short-term goals are in line to help you meet your long-term career plans. Reevaluate these goals a couple of times per year to keep track of your progress. These goals can include taking on relevant side jobs, volunteering to gain experience, or returning to school for an advanced degree.
Keep your knowledge of your industry and your skill set current. Participate in any career-development opportunities offered by your employer, renew your licenses and certifications regularly, and stay connected to the larger industry outside of your own job and company. Self-motivation is the number one force pushing you to achieve.
Don’t let a company control your progress. If your place of employment lacks opportunities or promotes a culture that discourages progress, move on the greener pastures. Good companies allow their employees to grow along with them. If your company doesn’t allow you to branch out and continue to develop your skills, look for another company that does.
Knowing when to seek career advice is often intuitive. You may feel overlooked, neglected, or even bored. If you aren’t challenged by your position, if you aren’t allowed to grow at a comfortable pace, if you feel your work environment takes from you more than it gives, it may be time to consider seeking advice from a mentor or other resource.