Why there isn’t a better time to assess your career goals than now

Landing a dream job might not sit at the top of your priority list at the moment, but although the notion may feel like a far-off luxury at a time when security and familiarity are paramount, assessing your career goals may increase your tenure and could even move you in a direction you’ve never before considered

CREDIT: This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared on Robert Half

Robert Half’s talent acquisitions director, Victoria Sprott, sat down to speak with panel of experts as part of our Your Future webinar series. The panel of experts included; Janet Moran owner of The CV House, Sheryl Miller, transformation director, career coach and author, Emma Howard, HR professional and Robert Half UK MD, Matt Weston all of whom offered their advice on clarifying career goals and moving forward

Start with a structured approach

Lockdown has given many professionals the breathing space to step back and evaluate their career goals — something many of us rarely do. To avoid being overwhelmed by the task, try approaching things in a more structured way. Ask yourself questions which help identify the drivers for wanting change and whether they can be addressed without moving jobs.

“What stimulates you? What challenges you? These are all things that are going to inform satisfactory or unsatisfactory future career moves,” Janet says.

Tackle the issue in a series of bite-sized chunks, starting with some self-analysis and a few basic questions to guide your future steps, rather than ending up in a similar position a few months further down the line.

Consider your passions

Rather than viewing your next opportunity as climbing another rung of the ladder, take this time to consider what career move would fuel your passion and maintain your wellbeing at work. “When you evaluate your career, evaluate what makes you happy and what you enjoy,” Matt says. “Be bold. I think this is a great opportunity for new careers, new opportunities and new skills.”

Lean into the current marketplace and use it as an opportunity to move your career into a direction that makes you happy, even if it doesn’t reflect your current skill set.

Dont get hung up on job titles or promotions

Promotions aren’t everything! In the current climate there’s much less stigma around making a sideways career move – and you may find it adds value to your skill set.

“Don’t get too hung up on job titles,” Emma says. “Have a look at what the ‘meat’ of the role is and think about how you could really add something different to that.”

If you can utilise core skills, along with the ability to adapt quickly, taking a sideways step may prove easier than you think. “I think, from a CV point of view, being able to contribute very quickly, being agile and adapting easily to a new environment, influence new senior stakeholders very quickly, are invaluable,” Janet adds.

Learn to embrace change

Part of the reason many of us fear change is the potential to lose something we find positive. To help mitigate this, try making a list of all the positives and negatives in your current job role to gain a clear picture of what you’d like to move toward and what you’d like to leave behind.

Having a strong sense of confidence can also help you develop agility and resilience in uncertain times. “Get feedback from close friends, family and maybe some colleagues. Drop them a little text or WhatsApp message and just say to them, ‘What am I good at?’” Sheryl suggests.

“This should give you some insight into what your real skills are and what you can actually take forward – it should leave you feeling a lot more optimistic about what your next opportunity might bring.”

The change cycle is constantly evolving, so remember to be kind to yourself throughout the process — change isn’t easy!

Be clear about your personal values

Go into the job application process with a clear understanding of what your personal non-negotiables are, and what are your ‘nice to haves’. Rather than focusing completely on the role at hand, deep dive into the ethos and values of the company to make sure they align with your own.

“What I do when I’ve got people applying for jobs is look on Glassdoor to get a really good indication of what a company is really like. I also network with people through LinkedIn,” Emma says.

“Think back to times where you really haven’t enjoyed your job — often it’s because your personal values and your company values are completely out of line, so this is a great time to get clear on both of those.”

Dont neglect temporary and interim roles

The interim and temporary hiring market represents a golden opportunity for professionals looking to get hired quickly or trial a new role with a new company. It’s a great chance to get your foot in the door, without necessarily having all the right experience.

“63% of our interims go permanent,” says Matt, “so I would see it as a good opportunity to upskill yourself. Clients will also be more flexible with an interim role in terms of their requirements.”

Interim roles are often misconstrued as a blot on your CV, but that isn’t the case in the current hiring market. Instead, they prove you can deliver project requirements quickly and are a demonstration of agility and flexibility.

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