Having a meaningful career is relevant and awesome says Julia Schmidt
When the old year was closing out, I was already planning my professional roadmap for the new year. I was not only looking at the challenges, achievements, joys, and pains of the previous twelve months, I was reading books, articles and building a new network and board of advisors who would help me start in my new role as a Human Resources professional.
Professional growth demands diversity, continuous learning, risk-taking, focus, and ownership. It is also about daring to dream and being bold. How can you identify what you need to do to re-imagine your career development plan? Do you need to explore a new industry, acquire competence in a new area, be part of an agile team, build a new network of colleagues, or learn new technologies or systems?
A work in progress
Career growth is not only about having clear objectives or setting smart goals. The purpose of setting goals is to win the game. The purpose of building a strong career strategy and systems is to continue playing the game. Your development is not about any single accomplishment. It is about the cycle of boundless refinement and constant improvement. Ultimately, it is your commitment to the process that will govern your career progress.
We need more than a vision and goals to succeed professionally. We need to build a strong strategic plan, because it is only when we implement a system of continuous small improvements that we achieve a different and desired outcome. Your career is a work in progress!
Mapping your skills
I constantly re-evaluate my skillset and determine the new skills I need to acquire in order to progress in my career. During the last years my focus was on improving my people skills – by seeking out new people, expanding my network, attending online webinars about practicing emotional intelligence, mentoring peers, and leading teams.
I started my professional career as a teacher. Teachers set the tone of their classrooms, build a warm environment, mentor and nurture students, and become role models. I spent many years working as an executive assistant and had a career working in multinational companies, small, medium and large organizations. My journey from administrative assistant to senior executive assistant was enhanced by the opportunity of working in different industries. Each new role gave me the opportunity to learn new skills, improve the ones I already had – cross functional skills – and discover that I can learn everything.
* We usually break down the categories People Skills and Leadership Skills into further sets of skills. If you need to know more about these topics, there are many business articles that you can read which cover them.
Preparing yourself for a career move
Here are four tips that can help:
1. Promote your skills, professional abilities and accomplishments as often as possible
I do that all the time by volunteering, initiating my own projects, taking leadership roles in the organizations where I work, participating in professional networks, being visible in social media, and sharing knowledge through public speaking, mentoring and writing.
2. Get connected to other professionals on purpose
No one ever accomplishes anything in their career without some fantastic people along the way. We are better together!
3. Be intentionally strategic in all you do
Some years ago, I decided to study business administration. I wanted to leverage a higher level of contribution and services to my executive. I wanted to play a role at a more strategic level. The new skills I learned are pushing me up and allowing me to become a better professional with a unique set of skills and talents.
4. Identify your passions and dreams along the way
Over the last years, it became obvious that my future would be in working within the Human Resources field. My values, vision, and dreams were leading me to this way. Also, my constant skillset analysis and my certifications in business administration were showing me that I had gained all the relevant skills to become a significant player in the HR field.
From Senior Executive Assistant to a Human Resources professional? Why not? Learning new things is encouraging. Saying no to old routines is motivating. Embracing our passions is inspirational. Having a meaningful career is relevant and awesome!
Be courageous! Be bold! Be passionate about YOUR career!