Over the years I’ve learned a lot about seeking and managing opportunities for my own career. As an HR expert and Coach I’ve also helped others to pursue their career opportunities. When I left university I was conscious that I entered a world where my parents’ social network wouldn’t land me a job like some of my studying peers. I had to start from scratch. My mum worked in a sector which I didn’t feel was right for me. I had to create my own path and at that stage I didn’t quite know what my future career would look like.
Twenty years on I continue to invest in my career and carefully assess the opportunities that come my way. It’s also about thinking about the the opportunities I’m yet to discover. So what helps us to create career opportunities?
1. It’s not just about who you know, it’s about who you’re going to know… Networks generate career opportunities but it’s also about thinking about WHO you need to meet up move forward or sideways in your career. Think about the key contacts you need to link with who can play a key role in your career. These could be recruitment agents, mentors, your social network or someone who is doing what you’d love to do.
2. Research what your ideal career opportunities really look like. What is it you’d love to do? Write it down or draw it out. Work out what you’re looking for, then it’s easier to spot opportunities that work for you. Career opportunities don’t have to mean looking for a new job or company. They could be about creating new work or experiences where you are right now.
3. Interview yourself! This is all about knowing your own career strengths. Jot down your career talents. Ask yourself what would you bring to a role, business or company? What are your existing skills and which ones can help you show your worth when career opportunities crop up.
4. Know how to talk about yourself. Over the years I’ve coached lots of women on their career elevator pitch. It’s about knowing your own brand. Practice taking confidently talk about yourself, what you do and more importantly what you CAN do. If you bumped into one of your role models (mine are Michelle Obama and Meera Syal) and they said they’re looking for someone to join their team where you can create your own role – what would you say about yourself in a couple of minutes?
5. Never give up…Managing your career takes a lot of effort. Even if opportunities come your way it’s then about earning your stripes and meeting expectations. Things may not always go your way so it’s important you invest in your confidence. Careers can take years to build and involve some learning lessons. I used to kick myself for not taking up the opportunity to do a work placement at Marie Claire in my early twenties. At the time I didn’t believe I was good enough! What did I learn from that decision? Now I’m more open to opportunities because I know my skills and talents. Every step or sidestep in your career is an opportunity to learn.
What top tips do you have for creating career opportunities?
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