As we leave behind the no mans land that is the period between Christmas and New Year, where no one seems to know what day it, what time it is, or even if it’s still ok to drink sherry and rum at 10am in nothing but a onesie and a paper hat, many of us will be looking back fondly at the cheeky capers and successes stories of 2018, and glancing an eye forward to the year ahead, perhaps thinking about our New Year’s resolutions and focusing upon our next endeavours.
As a social housing recruiting consultancy, we see this time as a unique and potent opportunity to take a fresh look at what we have achieved over the past year career-wise, and to check whether we are still on track to take us where we plan to be over the next year or even the next few years ahead.
If you’ve read our previous articles on developing a career strategy, you will have already taken the advice of our own Barry Forsythe, and not only made your initial first move on your career chess board (whichever stage of your career you are at), and should now be contemplating how many moves you think are between you and your ultimate career goal, along with planning the next steps to take you through the most effective route to reach your destination.
Our top five New-Careers Resolutions will help ensure 2019 brings you the strategic success to make the winning moves that get you to the top of your chosen housing career destination:
1. Choosing the right organisation
You may well have decided which organisation is your best fit, but It’s OK to change your mind about which direction you are headed in, or even the route you originally chose to get there. For instance, you may decide to take a secondment to attain more experience for a particular role and find that the organisation you join has a much better fit to your own development, career prospects and even future leadership style. It is imperative that you not only feel happy in the environment you have chosen to work in, but also that you feel you are bringing the most value and gaining most value from the people and organisation you are with.
2. Choosing the right role
Once you know the direction you need to head in for your next move, make sure to check that your career plan is in alignment with that goal. Think about your destination, and whether the new role will ultimately help take you towards it. It also pays to align yourself with a role that works to your talents, utilises your key skills, and bases you where you will hold most value and make the biggest impact. If others see you are passionate about your role, adding value and you clearly love what you are doing this will ultimately drive you, and your team forward with greater momentum. Take a look at your personal values. Does the new role and organisation mirror these? Always ensure the role is a good fit for you personally and that it is bringing out your core values as a future leader and individual. Finally look for a role that will challenge you and equip you with the experience and skills you can then take forward towards your next move.
3. Knowing when the time is right to move jobs
Often, we glide along gracefully in our job without any forward movement simply because we are comfortable in that role, however if we wish to progress at a steady rate it helps to keep an eye on our career plan and make sure we are still pushing ourselves forward to attain our ultimate goals. Sometimes there can be obvious signs that we need to move on, and it is really important to observe when the time is right to make a strategic move.
Some triggers might be:
– No longer enjoying the job you do – Do you dread getting up and going to work? Do you no longer feel motivated or it simply feels like business as usual?
– Your role doesn’t offer you variety, room to grow and learn or further develop your skills.
– You no longer feel engaged with the organisation – Has the business taken a new direction that you don’t feel aligned to?
– Feeling unsupported, under-valued or not recognised for the work you do.
– Feeling underpaid compared to your peer group outside of your organisation.
– New leadership with new ideas – Do you feel part of the problem now rather than part of the solution?
– Do you feel you have added as much value as you can to your current role, and now need a greater challenge?
If any of the above resonate with you then you know it’s time to take stock and re-establish your goals and possible future alignment within your current organisation.
4. Planning your next moves in advance
Knowing where you want to be is one thing, but it’s also important to actually visualize your career path. Can you picture yourself in that role, achieving the things you want to, and reaching your highest aspirations? Take a good look at your core purpose and values. What skills do you already possess and what skills are needed within your industry segment and your desired role? Your next few moves should be about collecting those skills and experience, as well as raising your personal profile and embracing new challenges to build upon your portfolio of achievements. Test yourself! Interview for positions above your current level to pitch yourself and seek feedback on your performance. The more you practice, the more knowledge and insight you will acquire and the more confident you will be. Carry out a gap analysis so you know what you need to work on. Don’t just rely on your line manager to tell you – steer yourself towards your own success! It’s also a great idea to build a network outside of work to talk about individual and shared goals, ideas and experiences with.
5. Ensuring your plan is measurable
Having a coach or mentor can help you not only develop your career strategy, but also to help carry out a personal appraisal of where you are against where you want to be. Make sure you set clear short and medium term objectives (6 – 12 – 24 months) to begin the building blocks that will take you towards your longer term career goals. Ensure you regularly review your progress with your coach or mentor and keep your vision clear in your mind as you move forward. But remember to also be adaptable and open to new opportunities and alternative pathways.
Unlike New Year’s Resolutions, which inevitably tend to fizzle out after the first week in January, having a measured and controlled career plan will help you to take the small (and bigger) steps needed to ensure you don’t stumble along blindly or get caught up in a career ‘cul-de-sac’ along the way. Before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your new career goals. Happy New Year from Greenacre!
Alma Sheren is Head of Marketing and Communications for Greenacre Recruitment, and researches/writes articles with the team on Leadership, Human Resources, Change Management and the challenges and transitions currently facing the UK housing sector.