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Planning Your Next Career Move

Your career will evolve as you do. When you take on new positions, gain new skills and credentials, and meet other professionals, new career opportunities will present themselves. Keep aware of how your industry is changing and how you, as a professional, are changing with it.

You may have up to five different jobs as your career evolves and changes. Staying employable means continually focusing on self-awareness, lifelong learning, and building your professional portfolio that aligns with your career development over time.

Be Self-Aware

When considering your next career move, it's essential to know what your professional strengths and challenges are. You will benefit from gaining insight into the qualities that make you a strong candidate for other opportunities, and into your areas for improvement that require attention here and now. Your self-awareness will be a deciding factor in:

  • starting your job search

  • accepting a job offer

  • staying where you are and continuing to build your skills

If you have been working for a number of years in a job, and you are feeling ready to try something new, you may feel insecure about making your next move. This feeling may influence your decision to take on or shy away from new opportunities.

Through the clarification of your values, interests, personality and aptitudes, a self-assessment is a great reminder of:

  • who you are

  • what is important to you

  • what value you bring to your field, and

  • where you see yourself in your career development.

Consider conducting a self assessment on a regular basis throughout your career as a valuable career "check-in" - reflecting your growth as an individual and a professional.


Plan for Lifelong Learning

Whether you gain certifications, obtain a graduate degree, or receive training from your employers, you must continue to stay up-to-date with your knowledge and skill set. This can also help you stay aware and confident of your talents and abilities.

Part of your learning will come from your own self-motivation to develop further knowledge in areas you are passionate about. This is voluntary and will enhance your employability greatly. Some ways to achieve this learning include:

  • Enrolling in continuing education courses

  • Attending professional conferences and networking events that include presentations on topics of interest

  • Participating in an organization as either an active member or as a board member

The other part of your learning will also come from unexpected experiences. You may find your network contacts have friends with mutual educational interests, or you may find a mentor who is an expert in an area you wish to learn more about. Be open to these opportunities for growth, as some of best learning occurs outside of a classroom.


Building Your Professional Portfolio & Personal Brand

An important component of making a successful career move is to have an updated, ongoing, professional portfolio.  A portfolio is a collection of documents that speak to your education, skills, and experience. It is meant to illustrate your expertise. When employers are searching for top talent, they will use online mediums like LinkedIn, Google search, and personal websites to get information about potential hires. As you network and share your professional self, both in person and via online, you will create a personal brand that future employers will find and remember.

What is Your Personal Brand?

Your personal brand is like your professional reputation. When you develop a personal brand, you are giving industry professionals a chance to see:

  • what you are about

  • what you have to offer

  • what you are known for

  • what is your niche / specialty

  • what makes you different

Being self-aware and knowing your professional strengths and challenges is essential.

When thinking of what makes you unique, and how you want others to think of you, consider:

  • Your core values - what they are and how they are represented in your personal brand?

  • Your education - how have you continued learning to become an expert in what you want to be known for? How will you?

  • Your profile - how do you market yourself and  communicate your personal brand to others in person and online?