Taking the Next Step in Your Career (When You Don't Know What Staircase You're On)

You're an ambitious person. You work hard, you spend time developing your skills, learning new programs, keeping up with the latest and greatest, and you've made a living as an employee who is adaptable and experienced enough in several different areas. A jack of many trades, master of several.

But what comes next?


For many people, the next step in their career is a clear cut path. There is a job they want and they work their way straight towards it over time, snowballing skills and experiences that will set them up to reach that position they've been aiming for for years. More established companies often make the path known, with their organization charts acting as a rough guide to getting the job you eventually want. It's simple: work your way up the chain.

But what if you don't know what you want? With the expansion of the tech industry and the explosion of jobs in brand new industries, the journey to a higher level isn't the straight line it used to be. Many skill sets overlap so feeling adequate in marketing and design, for example, doesn't solidify a strong path towards one over the other.

We very often try to move very quickly from one thing to the next, but this is one time when it's worth it to go a little slower. So many possibilities can be overwhelming, so take a deeper look before jumping into something new. Here are some tips to get you started.

Determine your must-haves.

Decide what you'll need to be satisfied in your next job. For example, maybe you have got to be close to a city, must interact with many people throughout the day, and have to be creative stimulated. Or perhaps you want to be managing people. Extracting the parts of a position that you'd consider "essential" will help hone in on a solid next step.

Talk to colleagues.

If you aren't sure which way to go next, why not start by identifying your strengths? Get an unbiased opinion from friends and coworkers, asking them what qualities you have that they'd consider exemplary and that should be fostered in a professional setting. They may mention something you hadn't realized about yourself.

Get some ideas.

Look to someone who has your dream job. There's a good chance the path through their previous professional experiences is much more winding than you'd expect, so take a look through it. If you don't quite know what opportunities can come next, studying the prior positions of others who have can be a very useful guide map.

Think small.

You don't need to get your dream job right now. Take the pressure off your next move and focus on finding some immediate skills you'd like to develop, then search for a job that will expand on those skills. Eventually

Talk to someone who does this for a living.

*Stares at you, grinning* HI. We have placed candidates in hundreds of jobs. We've seen the skill sets and talent that go into different types and levels of positions, and who knows, maybe we can help you out. We've certainly seen our fair share of job seekers AND companies with room to grow.

At the end of the day just remember, there's a perk to not having a "dream job" in mind – you can't be disappointed! Going into your next position with open arms and a positive attitude means you're sure to work your way into an area that could become your dream job.

Posted: 11/8/2018 3:17:10 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments