“Career Capital”

“Career Capital”

 5 Apr 2018

Practical tips for building up your “Career Capital”
Climbing the corporate ladder can sometimes feel like an impossible task. It is even more daunting when you look around and realise you might be on the wrong ladder.
When we start out in our careers it is nigh on impossible to pick the right path immediately. Most of us find ourselves in the right region but narrowing down the specific role can take years. By that time you might be high up on the wrong ladder... with years of graft beneath you.
Blog posts and lifestyle magazines run endless stories on those brave individuals who abandon their corporate careers for farming, gin making, sculpture... but what about the rest of us who want to remain in the same sector? If anything it can be more difficult, with fear of failure in front of long-time colleagues a huge obstacle.
So, how do you make the jump from one career ladder to the one next to you, the one that is right for you?
Laura Vanderkam, in her book What Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast talks about constantly working on your “Career Capital”.  She means adding to your skill set and network, not just getting the day-to-day done. The process she talks about provides some insight into how we can begin the process of moving from one ladder to the next.
To increase our Career Capital, stretch our careers and develop ourselves beyond our current roles we need take ownership of the process : take the training courses which interest you and are available to you, go to the extra sessions at conferences which relate to your interests, attend networking events in that area that may not be familiar but that you are drawn to. It might feel like extra work but your are investing in yourself and it will be worth the effort.
Practical tips for making a change in your career :
Early days...
1. Spend some time writing a roadmap to your perfect role - your ideal job might be two steps ahead so map out those steps and the actions you need to take to get there.
2. Take a look at job descriptions for the roles you are looking for - what do they require/where can you work on skills in your current role?
3. Build your network - you need to get onto the radar of the people you want to work with so they can see that you are motivated but also so you can see how they work. And just as importantly, build up a network of people that are loyal to you as a person, not just loyal to your role or position within the company. It’s important to realise that investment in people is an efficient use of your time.
4. Find a mentor - you don’t necessarily have to give them the title but having a coffee with a good contact and keeping that relationship going is, in effect, the same thing.
Further down the line...
1. Think of the stepping stones to your perfect role - do you need to take another job to get you there. Will 2 years in another role, one that you are qualified for, give you the pathway to where you want to be? If so, consider it.
2. Re-write your CV with the specific role in mind - use the experience you have gained while paying into your Career Capital.
If you are hankering after a change from your current role, don’t be put off. Do your homework - work out what you want to do, what you need to be able to do that and start making small moves to achieving that goal. Only you can make it happen.
(By Karen Welstead)


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