Career stalled? What you can do to keep it moving!

Photo courtesy of morgue file user hotblack

Photo courtesy of morgue file user hotblack

Navigating your career’s progression can be a relatively planned event or a chaotic chain of unfortunate circumstances. As a career coach I’ve noticed that careers stall because people don’t or can’t communicate scope in their resume and the interview process. I think most workers in the field wind up doing their day to day jobs and hitting benchmarks or metrics. Few stop (or maybe don’t have time) and reflect on the depth of work they do. A worker may spend 8-14 hours a day at work and not even have the chance to contemplate what they have done before tending to the next commitment.

You will do better in a position as well as in a career transition if you are aware of your accomplishments and understand the scope of your work history. Here is what I mean by scope:

It’s one thing to tell someone that you are a supervisor. It’s another thing to say you have been a supervisor for over 5 years, have been responsible for the performance and management of 55 team members and led that team in the best safety streak in company history.

It is one thing to say you worked in a coffee shop. It’s another thing to say you’ve trained over 25 employees in the last 18 months in a high sales store.

It’s one thing to say you’ve taken on special projects. It’s another thing to say you led a process improvement initiative which saved the company 100 labor hours every month.

How do you add scope or depth to your accomplishments and keep your career moving? Try one or both these suggestions.

  • Meet with a mentor
    A good mentor will have discussions to help you see situations differently, add scope to your accomplishments, as well as acting as a sounding board for your concerns. By telling someone your goals it forces you to stay on track. Mentors can be in or outside of your company. You can have multiple mentors or as one very wise woman recently taught me, you can have a ‘kitchen sink’ of people you regularly count on to help you.
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  • Have a professional development plan
    I had a very young leader share an effective PDP strategy with me. He stated that setting goals and working on leadership attributes doesn’t have to happen while doing extra projects or special assignments. Somewhere along the way that seed gets planted. If you structure your goals in your daily work responsibilities you can then think about what you are trying to get better at and use your daily experiences as the stories you share about your progress.

By utilizing these two resources one can keep professional performance and goals at the forefront as well as get outside perspectives on the situation. So when it comes time to write your resume or answer the interview question of ‘what was that result?’ you will have plenty of examples in mind because you have already been thinking about them.

Do you have any other suggestions to help jump start a stalled career? Please, feel free to leave your comments below or reach out to us on Facebook and Twitter.

About Jason Mueller

Jason is a career and development coach, residing in south east Wisconsin. He has earned his Business Coaching certificate from UW-Milwaukee and worked with clients in business and career coaching at the UW-Milwaukee School of Continuing Education. Jason says he does everything with empathy, compassion and the client's best interests in mind. He’s found that he can do anything well by being genuine, useful, present and vulnerable. With a degree in religion, years in theater, experience in business, and a dry sense of humor Jason’s unconventional wisdom helps him connect the dots. You can find his website here or connect with him on Twitter and G+.

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2 Responses to Career stalled? What you can do to keep it moving!

  1. Bilbo Baggins May 22, 2014 at 10:19 am #

    Got stuck in a dead end job for 8 years. Only took the job as a “get your foot in the door” kind of thing. Figured I’d only be there for about 3-5 and then move up. Apparently companies don’t promote people anymore. The only thing I got from my boss was “you’ll get a promotion when I decide to give you one.” Am no longer employed there. ..Never quite got over that.

  2. Jason E. Mueller (@QuirkyOptimist) May 23, 2014 at 8:42 am #

    That’s tough to be stuck in a dead end. There are a lot of resources out there for finding better fits based on interests and talent. O-Net online and Quintessential Careers are good starting points, lots of good info if you can weed through to the parts you need. Hope your seeking goes well!

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