Recently I was reflecting, mainly on my career (which is still in its very infant stage), but I was asking myself:
- Is my current role something I want to do forever? (No)
- If not, what do I want to do in the future? (Something digital / innovation related)
- Am I currently qualified to do that role? (I think I can lock arffff any employment opportunity lol, but technically speaking, no)
- How will I get there?
I was looking at my CV and LinkedIn and realised I had not added many new skills recently. This doesn’t mean that I’m not learning but, if I want to have a career in the future that is digital / innovation related and I’m not building the relevant skills for that type of role, how will I get there?
The job market is consistently being inundated with new grads, people returning to the work force etc., many bringing new and different skills, experiences and qualifications to the table. If you’ve had the same skill set for a while, you become stale. All of a sudden, what you can bring to the table doesn’t matter as much anymore, because there someone else who can offer that and more.
We graduate from university, secure these great roles and then we get complacent and we forget something very vital. In the same way that university, many of us argue doesn’t necessarily prepare for the realities of employment, your current JOB won’t necessarily prepare you for your CAREER (and there is a difference).
When your employer is providing you with training, it’s to ensure that you can do THEIR JOB well in THEIR COMPANY. The aim is not to give you the skills and training to work in your dream job elsewhere. So if you’re a banker but have dreams of being a software developer in the future what do you do? If you’re a trainee lawyer, but actually want to embark on a more creative career later on, what do you do? You take the initiative to seek out the skills you need and develop them yourself.
What are the skills you need to secure your dream job? Do you have them?
Take a look at your CV and do a comparison with the skills, experience and qualifications required on the job specifications of your ideal role. What is your CV lacking?
If there is a role and company you’d like to work for one day, take a look at the LinkedIn profiles of the people that work there. What are the type of things they did which led to their role? Which skills are they endorsed for the most? Outside of work, what are they involved in? Connect with them on LinkedIn and start a conversation.
Reach out to recruiters via LinkedIn who post your “dream” job role and ask them outright for more details on the type of candidates they are looking for.
How will I get those skills?
Now that you know your skills, experience and qualification gap, it’s time to fill it. This really depends on the industry and the career you’re aspiring to have, for example I signed up to Codeacademy , starting basic coding lessons and I started a Google Digital Marketing course because I hope to work in a techy /innovation related role. Other examples:
- If you want to one day work in a client facing / advisory role in Finance, you may be required you to complete the CFA / IMC qualifications.
- You aspire to be a journalist, but you need to demonstrate high level writing ability. Start a blog on a topic you’re super passionate about, which will enable you to develop your writing style and have something tangible to show your future employer.
Fitting it all in
Trying to achieve the above whilst studying or holding down a full time job may be difficult, so you should try to establish a routine, with the aim of sticking to it. For example every Saturday morning, from 9am to 11am, I dedicate to my digital marketing course and Sundays from 4pm to 6pm I do some coding. Monday to Friday isn’t ideal for me, because working in an Investment Bank means my hours can be unpredictable. If I finish early (well at 6pm) on some days, I try and do an extra hour here and there if I’m not too tired.
Keeping a record
Its soooo easy to do all these extra things and not keep track, so definitely keep a record in a word document or spreadsheet and make sure you update your CV and LinkedIn as you go along.
In an ideal world, we would all walk into the career of our dreams when we graduate from university, but unfortunately that isn’t always the case for a number of reasons. That doesn’t mean you give up hope and spend your life in a job that doesn’t fulfil you. Plan ahead and reflect on the below:
This is where I am.
This is where I am trying to get to.
This is what I need to do to get there.
What are you waiting for? Let’s go!