The old “round peg in a round role” theory of career planning is dysfunctional. In the typical professional environment today, job descriptions are changing faster than ever before to keep up with the challenges of an economy in transition. In every marketplace, there are buyers and sellers. In the traditional job market, job seekers are the sellers and their potential employers are the buyers. The commodity is JOBs and the competition is fierce.
In The OTHER Job Market, buyers and sellers hold equal responsibility for the recruitment process. The commodity is available, productive WORK… When employers have a need for someone to fulfill a specific role, often the most desired candidates are employed individuals with the credentials they seek. Thus the employer must sell their Company to potential employees in the marketplace in order to attract the best of the lot. Once identified, they simply select their choice and buy their services. This is why assessment and objective setting (first two steps of our 12-step process) represent CAREER Strategies, not simply job search tactics.
Seize control of such challenges. Understand the nature of FIT. You understand that managing your own career involves three key ingredients:
- Confidence in knowing that your career is on the right path and moving forward;
- Continuous research and networking leading to awareness of potential “next steps;”
- Competency with job-changing skills.
What is a Good, Career FIT For You?
To achieve a good “fit” between you and any future opportunity, you have to ask yourself some basic questions about yourself and your prospective employers. The fit depends on how well the jobs meets your needs and how well your skills and abilities meet the employer’s needs. The employer will make a decision and extend an offer to you: now it is time for you to make your decision.
Write out the factors that are important to you in a job… actually write out your list. During your career transition, learn the value of setting your offer criteria, a key element of your Personal Market Plan:
- Creates an objective target for your efforts ahead;
- Gives you a meaningful set of questions to ask during research and networking;
- Provides an objective way to analyze and react to offers as they occur.
To manage your career wisely has you extending the same concept. Consider some of the factors listed below … Examine each factor through the questions listed – and then ask “does this opportunity fit me?”
Work Requirements and Expectations: What is the next appropriate work for you? Is the work process or project oriented? If it’s process oriented, are the requirements and expectations clear? What kinds of projects will you work on? Will you work on one project at a time, or multiple projects? Are the projects long term or short term? Will you work on a project long enough to see the end result? Is it important to you to be able to see the project as a whole, including the result? Or will you be content to do the work without a big picture understanding?
Work Environment: Will the work space be a source of comfort and confidence for you? How formal or informal is the environment? Hectic, fast paced? Will you have the opportunity to have flex time, or to tele-commute? How many hours a week does the employer expect you to work? Will you have the freedom to wear casual clothes? What is a typical day like at the company you are considering? Would they allow a “trial visit” or at least a site visit?
Career Path: Is there a defined succession plan? What position(s) can you move to next? How long do new hires generally stay in the same job? How quickly do people get promoted? Are your opportunities for professional development well defined and available to you? Are mentors available?
Training and Personal Development: what kind of training will you get from the employer to do the job? What kind of training will you get to stay current in your area of interest? Are the answers to these two questions different? Does it matter to you if the answers are different?