As professional career specialists, one thing that truly perplexes us is that people in general do not do any planning (or even thinking) about their long-term (or even medium-term) career. Sadly these people jump from job to job every two to three years or so, making a reactive choice to move on when they don’t get on with their boss, feel they are not being valued or when their job has lost its challenge.
At this stage they then play ‘The Job Lottery’ gambling their future career on vacancies that just happen to be open that day. When they are successful in their application, they then move to a new company, form new relationships, lose contact with old friends and on more extreme occasions, move city or even country.
This random (but highly common) approach is certainly not the best way to manage your long-term career plan. As well as this, if you don’t focus on developing a clear personal brand message over the long term, your brand will be diluted as you jump from job to job and industry to industry.
A great way to start to gain a solid understanding of your long term brand is to ask yourself the following two questions:
Question 1. Career wise, what do I want to be doing in ten years time? In terms of this first question, think about the mechanics of your answer:
• What type of job you would like to have?
• Do you want to be employed full time, part time or on a temporary contract? The importance of your brand Developing the fundamentals of a strong brand as early as possible is very important in job hunting. It is never too late to start putting some thinking into your long-term career and to make a plan about where you want to head in the future. To quote a Chinese proverb ‘The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.’
• Do you want to work for someone or be self-employed?
• Where will you be based? (i.e. Do you want to live in the same area you work in now, or move somewhere else)?
• Will you travel much in this role?
• Will you work independently, or work with a team?
• Will you have staff responsibility and if so, how many staff members would you like to directly manage? After you gain a general understanding of the type of position you would like to see yourself in ten years’ time, ask yourself the second question:
2. What do I want to be known for / respected for in ten years’ time? In terms of this second question, think more about:
• What types of things are you most passionate about?
• If you were ‘famous in your field’ or an ‘influencer in your industry’ in ten years’ time, what would this field or industry be?
• What can you do to start to develop a strong brand in the short term that will help you become ‘famous in your field?'
Once you know some of these answers, you will be in a great place to plot your career pathway more successfully!
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