To understand and cultivate longevity in a profession, one must first distinguish between a job and a career. A job is normally a short time, moment by moment role to put money in your pocket and fulfil certain quotas which allow you to fulfil other important opportunities.
Conversely, a career requires you to build up a certain set of skills and knowledge, leading to higher paying engagements and high level opportunities. Typically, one stays within the same career over longer periods of time. In the course of a healthy career, there are some key questions one should ask themselves in order to make beneficial moves:
When is it okay to quit your job?
Ideally, the best time to hand in a resignation is when you already have another job lined up. Profession settings place importance on sticking to commitments, urging perseverance as a key to success and throwing in the towel as failure. However, if there is a growing instinct to exit, it is highly likely that it’s for a good reason. Some key indicators include: a growing apathy where your work feels totally void of meaning, or the extreme -- thinking obsessively about work, constantly checking emails to the point of sacrificing time with family and friends and never feeling at rest, or working in a physically and psychologically toxic environment.
Why didn’t the cover letter compel the hiring team?
Part of career progression involves putting out feelers for new positions in and out of our existing companies. Cover letters are a critical tool for giving powerful first impressions about who you are. They allow you to target a potential employer in a tailored way, while your CV markets your skills, qualities and experience and gives a bigger picture of your expertise. Common cover letter mistakes include: Crossing the thin line between confidence and cockiness when describing yourself, being far too informal, copy pasting (instead of personalising) one letter for several jobs, sounding unsure about your qualifications, and poor grammar, spelling and punctuation.
Why isn’t your CV working in your favour?
A Curriculum Vitae is a measurable gauge that a potential recruiter uses to assess the value of your services, and is the only document they can use to make often snap judgements on you during your application. The document needs to be faultless, demonstrating the benefits of hiring you over other candidates competing for the same role. In under a minute, your CV needs to show intelligence, relevant background information, professional accomplishments, personality and a keen understanding of your specific profession.
If you have been sending out feelers and getting no hits, it could be because your CV is too long, too vague or too difficult to read – it contains a blur of information without direction. To avoid this organise the information on your CV with clear segment divisions, bold headings, broken up text and a smart use of bullet points. Include a short precise profile to sell yourself and reel the reader in, and include a glimpse of your core skills.
Is it time to renegotiate the terms of your contract?
The goal of any employee contract is to express both parties’ full understanding of their agreement. Re-negotiations are generally triggered due to one of two reasons: an imperfect contract or changed circumstances. One instance could be the abuse of the term “other duties as assigned”, which appears in almost every employment contract.
Junior team members often find themselves the default option for picking up miscellaneous duties from senior associates who often add tasks and projects not related to their initial job description. These types of requests can be tough to turn down. Similarly, after working for a long time, you may find that your responsibilities are growing but your salary isn’t.
As long as most of the work you are assigned is included in your current job description then your management reserves the right to ask you to perform a few extra duties. But if your performance is above par, do your research and professionally approach your manager with a reasonable request for a promotion and new title commensurate to the new responsibilities you are doing.
What are the top ways you can stay ahead of the pack at the workplace?
Desiring professional success is healthy; but how can you achieve it without selling your soul? First, don’t alienate your co-workers. Cultivate loyalty from different departments or titles. Be approachable, helpful and dependable. Having co-workers, employees, or team members you can turn to at work is an ideal strategy to help you get ahead. Second, establish a health life -- work balance.
Create a routine where you are at maximum efficiency during working hours. Without a routine, a lot of time is wasted trying to think of what to do next. Third, be visible. Volunteer for the tough projects, speak up in meetings, be assertive about your accomplishments, constantly showcase your expertise, keep learning and improving and always help your teammates.