Don’t Be Confined by the Limitations of Your Career Label
Perhaps the most difficult part of developing your career is making sure you don’t limit yourself with a career label. If your current passions align with your long-term goals, it’s fine, because systematically, it’s easier to get promoted through the ranks to earn the position you want.
However, you might have established a career in one industry, when your long-term goals are in another. In this case, it’s much more difficult to advance to your dream position. The entire hiring process tends to be reductive; because there are usually many candidates competing for the same role, hiring managers do a quick scan of your resume and assess what you are doing right now, and whether or not your current duties fit the requirements of the role they want to fill. As a result, candidates are more likely to obtain positions closely related to their current one even if they are trying to branch out.
In order to avoid being limited by your current career label, it’s important to first determine your long-term goals. What do you want to be doing in five years, ten years or beyond that? You don’t need to have every single detail of your career trajectory planned out, but you need to have at least a rough idea of the kinds of duties, work and lifestyle you want in the future. Ideally, your resume should look like a logical timeline to achieving your longer-term goals.
In order to achieve your long-term goals, it’s necessary to develop a rough plan. One thing I like to do is take a look at some of the people on LinkedIn that currently hold a position I want in the future and study their career history. Their profiles provide a realistic timeline on how they started in the industry, the different roles they transitioned into and what experiences prepared them to land my dream role. That’s not to say you should follow their career trajectory exactly, but it certainly provides different pathways to achieve your goals.
You also need to be incredibly methodical when assessing new opportunities as they arise. You need to ask yourself, “Will taking on this opportunity play a positive role in achieving my long-term goals?” While it might seem like a great opportunity at the time, if you can’t envision it factoring into your dream job in any way, it might lead you down the wrong pathway.
It you have been limited by your career label, it’s difficult to branch out and professionally redefine yourself. Sometimes it even means taking on lesser paying, lower-level jobs in order to reposition yourself for your dream job. It’s never too late to break free from your career label and take more strategic steps toward your dream career.