Take Charge of Your Career in Six Steps

There’s a trend I’ve noticed over the years as a career development professional. Somewhere in the 40s decade, people are often inclined to take action on their careers. It’s as though they feel an internal prompt, rather than an external motivator.

“I just fell into my career and I want to be more planful going forward. If it’s going to happen, it needs to be now.” That’s a common statement that the 40-something clients make.

If this describes you, then perhaps the following six steps will help you shift from a passive to a pro-active approach to your work life and career path.

  • Take stock of what you want from work in this stage of your life. Ask yourself if your competencies, interests and values are adequately met in your work and workplace. If not, then consider negotiating another arrangement or consider a job search to work that is more aligned.

  • Be mindful of your assumptions about what’s possible. Keep in mind what you want as outcomes, not what you fear.

  • Understand the professional value you bring to the marketplace and seek out opportunities to communicate it verbally (meetings, performance reviews), virtually (with a great LinkedIn profile) and in writing (effective emails, outstanding resume, crisp cover letters).

  • Create opportunities to increase your visibility with your clients, prospective clients or employer.

  • Stay current with best practices in your field and be innovative in presenting new ideas and practices. Be prepared to communicate your knowledge of trends in interviews or in professional conversations.

  • Consistently attend to your needs. Take time to replenish your energy so you’ll be in good shape to seize the next best opportunity.