5 Strategies for Career Development

Posted by | May 8, 2013 | Career Tips

This is a guest post by Oswald J. Eppers.

A successful career development strategy should consider a minimum of five strategies, including the definition of a career target, building of a personal network, use of online social network tools, constant improvement of personal skills and the development of a personal brand.

In this article I am presenting five proven strategies forcareer development which most of the really successful people are applying. You might find that it is just common sense, but I assure you that applying these strategiesskyrocket your chances of developing successfully yourcareer. These are the five strategies:

1. Define a Career Target
The first step in the career development process is defining a concrete career target. What do you like to change in your career? Where do you want to be in two and in five years? Defining a career target can mean for some people trying to get to the next step on the careerladder, for other people it might signify doing something completely different. In any case, you should make adecision in order to actively develop your career instead of leaving your career development just to luck or the humor of your boss or other circumstances. By deciding first what you want, you can actively take part in this process and you will more rapidly and easily find opportunities that take you to the subsequent careerlevel and a higher life quality.

2. Build up your Personal Network
It is a reality that most of the job vacancies are never posted in journals, newspapers or on-line and you only find them using your personal or business contacts – your “Network”. This also sometimes is called the “hidden job market”. Building your personal network is a long-term process, so start as soon as possible with people within your own organization which are the most easy to reach and meet. Building up a network is not making hundreds of contacts in a record time but to concentrate on developing relationships. Find ways to build on your connections by setting up an informational interview, inviting them to another event you are attending or talking to them in a more personal atmosphere (e.g. during lunch time or coffee break). If you are following these advises you will open the most precious resource you have in finding the job you want.

3. Use new Online Social Network Tool
When you’re seeking employment, Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter are some of the most used social networks that you can use to build up your personal network. Many people for instance are using with success Twitter as networking tool. Used in conjunction with LinkedIn, job search engines, and other job sites, Twitter can help you make connections, find job listings, and build a personal brand that will help boost your career and speed up your job search. I recommend also using Facebook to build up your network. The fact that Facebook has more than 300 million active users is a good enough reason to use it as a job search and networking tool. For active job searchers this network is probably beside Linkedin the most important communication platform as many recruiters are constantly scouring these two social networking sites to reach out to potential candidates.

4. Maintain yourself Up-to-Date
Keep current on your job skills in technical and non-technical skills, like project management, languageskills, leadership and conflict resolution, etc. You never should see your career as something static but as part of a continuous learning process. Most professions require training as routine part of their license requirements, while other professions might not; nevertheless, for all professions it is just common sense to keep track with new trends and technologies if they are serious about your career.

5. Develop your Personal Brand
Your personal Reputation or your Personal Brand is a critical career issue and managing this intangible asset is vital for today’s forward-looking individuals and for your career development. As you advance in your career, more and more people know your skills and expertise and you become an expert on your field. You can accelerate and enhance this personal brand formation process by doing some public speaking at trade exhibitions, specialized conferences or other platforms where you can share your experience with people working in the same field. A very powerful technique is writing an article in your corporate newsletter or in a trade publication about your experience, industry branch or profession. The ideal situation is if you are over time considered as a real expert in your business, not only as information source, but also for newcareer opportunities when they come to pass.

Searching a Job is a short-term pursuit of a position that matches your financial and career goals. CareerPlanning and Development is much more than this. It is a long, progressive process of choosing education, training, and jobs that fit your interests and skills. Don’t do just your job, go the “extra mile” and think about what you really want in your career, build your personal network and develop your personal brand as expert in your field. If you wait until you are unemployed you’re going to loose too much time and finding a new job will be really hard work.

Oswald J. Eppers is freelance consultant and career adviser. He is founder of the Job Assistant Guidewhere he presents free tools for job searching and career development.

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