Over the course of my 30 year career as an executive search consultant with Spencer Stuart I’ve had a unique opportunity to observe the formation of many successful and not-so-successful careers. A number of components go into building a successful career, but professionals who take personal responsibility for proactively managing their careers have a distinct advantage. Over and over again, I’ve seen these executives have smoother career paths and achieve consistently higher levels of success.
What does it mean to proactively manage your career? It means taking the time to understand your interests, abilities, and shortcomings and learning how they align with different roles and industries. It involves becoming more self aware. It means acquiring the skills to effectively interface with others and build productive relationships. It requires understanding of where you think you want to go and what’s required to get there. It involves learning the rudiments of effective networking, interviewing, and how to make great career decisions.
The plain truth is that no one will ever care more about your career than you. If you do not take the time to reflect, think, and act, no one else will. What’s the best career advice you never received? Become proactive about career planning. You’ll be amazed where it takes you.