THE GQ CAREER COMPASS
Keep checking in quickly and often
According to Warwick Peel, CEO of Future Directors Institute and Startup Boardroom, a career plan needs serious reflection at least twice a year. Minimum. Ideally, once every quarter. And for this, there’s no better time than during July, when companies are talking EFY and re-evaluating strategies — and most employees are popping Codral and hibernating, along with any immediate career plans. With the rest of the office set to autopilot mode, it’s a good opportunity to spin the wheels of career development. “You set aside monthly commitments on your financial plans,” says Peel. “Career plans are no different.”
Keep in mind you’re at the tiller
To continue the directional theme, considering that we spend more time, on average, at our desks than asleep, you’ll be much happier if your career progress is in your control – and not the HR department’s. “If you are leaving your career plan in the hands of HR or hiring managers from within your company, you’re beholden to what’s best for the company,” says Peel. “And that’s not necessarily what is best for you.”
Keep goals versatile
Avoid the set-and-forget approach where you create goals and leave them to collect dust on your (hopefully) metaphorical vision board. The key is in maintaining targets that are active and adaptable. A career plan should be fluid and always evolving, and not a distraction that gets in the way of kicking goals in your current role.
Keep your portfolio up to date
By updating your Cv/linkedin/ portfolio every 12 months — minimum — you can take stock of achievements. Look at the skills you’ve developed, both technical and soft, and make sure you’re moving in the right direction. Does your organisation have a performance review every six to 12 months? Perfect. Instead of closing your eyes and thinking of England, use the review time to document how your career is tracking and what you’ll achieve for the remainder of the year.