In this challenging job market a lot of people have gone from thinking long term to thinking that they just want a job that will pay the bills. There’s nothing wrong with that, but you should still have a long term job game plan in mind. If you don’t know where you’re going, how are you going to know when you get there or how to get there?
One way to accomplish that is to think backwards. Think about what industry you really want to be in. What do you want to be doing five years, ten years, or twenty years from now? What kind of job would you be happy doing long term?
The best way to think it through is by going through all of the necessary steps. Will you need to relocate or transfer to another department? Do you think it’s possible to work your way up in the company you’re in now or do you think you might need to work for another company for that opportunity? Would you be better off in a start up company or a more established one?
Not everyone wants to be the president of the company, nor is there room for everyone to be. If that is your goal and you don’t see the chance to advance to the top where you are, you might want to think about running your own business. That’s the shortest way to get to the top. But with that comes a lot more responsibility.
Either way, you and only you will be responsible for your career. It won’t be given to you. You’ll have to earn it and stay vigilant about making sure you do everything you can to give yourself the best chance. That means you should make sure you stay on top of any and all training you need. Take advantage of any kind of continuing education you can, whether your company pays for it or not. Always look for ways to improve your skills in all areas.
Make sure you start building your network as soon as possible. This includes co-workers, friends, vendors, human resources, management, and anyone else that might be able to help you on the way to the top. Don’t discount anyone. You never know where an opportunity will come from. Volunteer for as many things as you can handle without overloading your schedule too much. Stay active outside the office too with community activities.
Write down your long and short term job search game plan and stick to it. By being clear about where you really want to be in your career future, you’re more likely to achieve your goals.