Performance Management

An Employee’s Guide to Owning Your Career

This article is all about getting that dream job, where to start, and the dos and don'ts along the way to owning your career. Here's your employee's guide.

It doesn’t matter what stage of your career you are at or what has happened before now; you can at any moment decide to take control of it. This decision is entirely yours. The opportunity is at your fingertips all day every day if you want it enough to take it. Whether you feel stuck, like your dreams are out of reach or they aren’t happening fast enough, remember that you have to start small with your career actions and things will move from there.

Let’s look at how to go about this. Ask yourself the following questions listed below. The answers to these will help you hone in on what you want. They will also give you more insight into how to get there.

  • What is your dream job?

  • What do you need to get it?

  • What are the gaps between your current destination and your desired one?

  • What do you need to do to close them?

  • What support if any could your manager provide to help you achieve this?

  • Did this year change this position? What does the future of this role look like?

The last question is relevant because many jobs out there are unlikely to be the same anytime soon. Some will never be again. You might desire to be the manager of your department, but are you considering the role in the context of everyone being in the office? While the reality is that managing a distributed team is very different from managing everyone under one roof.

You may no longer want the job you once did or indeed, find you want to change profession. Whatever the answer, it’s fine if it brings you one step closer to your ideal career. Be open to it. So what next? We suggest the following tips.

Do your research. Talk to people in the role you want to do. Find out what it entails. Does that specific job spec suit you? It may not be anything like you imagine. If it turns out to be what you want, find out what you need to get it.

Have a joined-up approach. Your actions need to align with the answers to those initial questions. There is no point spending valuable time and energy in areas of your organisation that won’t garner the results you are looking for in terms of career advancement. Be joined up in your thinking and actions.

Meet your targets. At the very minimum, there is an expectation that for you to advance in your career, you are achieving your current goals. Aim to deliver on these if you aren’t already. By doing so, you show you take your work seriously, are accomplished and reliable.

Be tactical and practical. Be strategic in your approach to this. Put yourself forward for the right committees, projects and events. Make sure you are sitting in front of the right people.

Make your manager aware. This might sound obvious but tell your manager about what it is you want to achieve and where you want to go. Be honest, and you will be on their radar if anything that could support you in getting there comes up.

Ask for guidance. If you need help, a second opinion, or advice on the next steps of the process, ask for it. This might seems like a mammoth task to you as it’s personal, but people are willing to help if you ask for it.

Make your presence known. There is no point in smashing your goals behind closed doors. Use the appropriate channels, for now, digitally, to notify or update when there is a win. Ensure you have a regular check-in with your manager, so none of your good work goes unnoticed. It’s vital to praise and recognise other team members for their achievements too.

Reflect company values. Your actions need to align with the company values also. If the company is big on engagement, then engage. If its trust, then you need to be trustworthy. If you want to evolve in a company, they need to see you can fly the flag of their brand.

Champion your career. No one else will do this for you.

All of this might seem easier said than done, but it is about small regular steps having big results. It’s about making a start with the desired outcome in mind. When you have clarity on the end goal, how to get there becomes clearer too. Accept change along the way. You might find after learning more about a position that it isn’t quite what you had in mind. If so, then pivot towards what is. This is all about you doing what you need, in the most professional way possible to get the job you want – so go for it.

At Frankli, we’re on a mission to help people optimise their performance. We bring simplicity and transparency to your experience through goal-setting, real-time feedback, 1:1s, pulse surveys and review cycles. Let us show you how.

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