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.
- 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.