As Forrest Gump stated, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are gonna get.” To put it simply, life can be pretty unpredictable. As much as you try to plan the direction that things are headed in there always seems to be some surprises thrown into the mix. Our current unexpected pandemic is a prime example of this. With that being said, doing as much as you can to control the direction and growth of our career is something we ourselves can direct.

Career Management: Career Management is essentially being in the driver’s seat. It is knowing where you want to go and how your previous experiences have led you to take this route. Career management is directing your career and it takes active planning to produce the desired results that will positively impact your future. 

Some tips and benefits of career management include: 

Earning Potential: By building your expertise in an industry you are building your value, and with building your value comes a higher price tag for your employer. The more you can offer a company, the more they will desire you on their team and be willing to pay you a higher compensation rate. An example of this is, say you have been selling software for two years. A software company is much more likely to hire you than someone who has been selling cars for the past two years. Sure you can be an amazing salesperson and even stellar at selling yourself, but having that industry experience is key. Driving the route of your career will help you add value to yourself and maximize your potential. 

Becoming an expert within the industry: We recommend staying at a position for a minimum of 2 years. Of course, things happen that are out of our control. Showing that you have stayed with a company and not constantly bounced around will prove you are a solid candidate that can grow with the company. What do you specialize in? Are you a software sales representative, do you have certain specializations in software such as collaboration, business intelligence, or cyber security? The list goes on. Specializing sets you apart from other candidates. 

Progression: Have you progressed within the company you work for? Sure you could have started as an intern and that is perfectly okay. The important thing is to indicate how you have developed. How you have developed could have included taking on more responsibilities, aiding team members with projects, or increasing sales margins. What skills have you expanded on over the course of your time as an employee there? Are there any awards you have achieved, any specific metrics that will paint a picture for your future employer? Show what you are proud of. How you have bloomed provides a solid foundation for your success. 

Building Your Network: Building your network means building your net worth. There are so many things you can do to start building your network today. Examples include trade shows, networking events and conferences. Of course due to COVID-19, we are unable to mingle in the same ways, but this does not mean networking is out of the picture. There are still so many COVID-19 friendly ways to build your network. You can do this through LinkedIn connections and groups, online educational classes that connect you with like minded people and different social networking platforms. Building your network allows you more opportunities and it better points you in the direction you are looking to head. 

Job vs Career: Jobs can be plenty if you are strictly looking to pay the bills and generate income. A career is where things happen. Careers involve more personal development and opportunities for progression. It is for those who want to keep learning, growing and striving in their work that they enjoy. Don’t treat your career like a job. Doing so can result in limitations with promotions and income. If something is not working, try a different way. The best way to learn is through experience and hard work. 

Career management does not mean complete control. Career management is planning your steps and carrying them out to the best of your ability. The goal is for a potential employer to look at you and see the value you will bring to their company. Career management is important to building your profile and shaping the path of your career. These are just a few benefits and aspects of career management that will lead you to success and increase your overall value as an employee.