Whoever’s right, the last year has taught us one thing: you never really know
what’s around the corner.
How can you bomb-proof your career so that in future, whatever happens, you
come out on top?
Firstly, think where you really want to be in five year’s time? Think
backwards from there as if reviewing the way you’ve come plot the steps from
your goal all the way back to where you are now. Decide where you need to be in
four year’s time, three years, two years, and so on, right back to the first
step you need to take.
Find out what skills, knowledge and experience you require at each stage and
plan accordingly. Having a well thought out plan means that you can stay
When you’re driving to a place you know, along a familiar route, you can
easily make detours when there are hold-ups or take advantage of short-cuts.
It’s just the same with your career. Keeping your goal in view means you can
move forward, take side-steps and even step backwards when necessary without
losing your way. Increase your flexibility further by improving your
Transferable skills such as communication, problem-solving, interpersonal and
leadership skills are needed in many jobs. Read job ads across your sector, ads
for the job above yours and for the job you ultimately desire to see which ones
are valued in your field. Make sure you can say how, when and where you have
demonstrated these skills successfully. If you have gaps, make sure you get the
necessary experience to fill them.
Take advantage of any training courses open to you, especially in new or
expanding areas. Experience is good, but experience backed up with accredited
training is even better. Stay alert to what’s new and up-coming in your field by
making sure you keep in touch with colleagues.
Join professional associations and read professional journals. Staying
connected means you will get to hear about new developments and be well placed
to respond flexibly and effectively.
How do these developments affect your plans? Like a game of snakes and
ladders, there may be threats that could send you back to square one if you
don’t take steps to avoid them, but there will also be opportunities that could
whisk you nearer the top if you can ensure you’re in a position to take
Lynn Williams is a career coach and author of several
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