Most of us spend more time maintaining our car than we do our career. Take our 10 Point Careers MOT to find out if your career is coasting along or motoring ahead.
1. When did you last learn a new skill at work?
If it has been ages since you learnt something new, think beyond formal training courses. Shadowing a colleague and then offering to help with their work can be just as useful. Could you apply a skill you have learnt outside work within a work context?
2. How many of your LinkedIn contacts have you actually spoken to in the past year?
There is no point having a long list of LinkedIn connections if you never contact any of them. Think about asking people for advice on a work issue. And if you notice a contact has a new job, a congratulations email can often renew the acquaintance. If you’re not on LinkedIn – consider joining. See the article on writing your LinkedIn profile.
3. Do you have an agreed Training and Development plan? When was the last time you added anything to it?
Career development planning shouldn’t be a once a year event at the annual appraisal. Use a CPD log to flap up training needs, note down interesting courses and opportunities you hear about and be proactive about making suggestions to your manager midyear.
4. Have you identified some potential job moves this year? What research have you done?
It is worth at least checking out some job vacancies that might interest you for your next move. Make sure you keep up to date with policy and practice in your chosen areas. A spot of networking with those likely to be hiring in future can also work wonders and positions you well when the time is right.
5. When did you last update your CV and online profiles?
Don’t wait until you are ready to apply for your next job. Check out our article on Refreshing your CV.
6. When did you last ask a colleague or customer for feedback? Did you act on it?
When you have worked with someone on an activity or project, consider asking if they have any suggestions on how you could improve your performance. Don’t just do this with superiors – you can get some interesting answers from colleagues, customers and subordinates too.
7. What parts of your job are linked to your department’s and organisation’s strategic plan?
Do you even know what those strategic plans are? Those people whose jobs align most closely with their employers priorities tend to be promoted the quickest.
8. What have you contributed to your professional bodies and networks over the past year?
Many of us feel we’re too busy to volunteer for extra jobs. Consider using a volunteer role in a professional network to fulfil some of your training and development needs – then your boss might allow you time out from your job to do them.
9. When did you last ask for an introduction to a professional colleague?
Next time a colleague mentions a contact in another department or institution whose work impacts on your own, or whose job you covet, ask for an introduction so you can find out more.
10. Which senior people have you spoken to for advice on your career development?
Asking your boss or senior colleagues for careers advice, in an informal setting, often reveals some very useful tips. It helps if you can give some idea of the type of roles you are targeting. This also flags up that you are ready for your next move.