When you’re an emerging leader, it may often be challenging to figure out how to move from here to there. You know you have great aspirations for your future career, but the road isn’t always apparent.
Here are three ways that you may use to acquire further clarity and better comprehend what you need to do to fulfill your goals and your aspirations.
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One approach that you might follow is really called “prewriting your résumé.” You can visualize the position that you’d like to have in three years or five years and develop a résumé for yourself that truly indicates what your duties are, what your title is, and, most significantly, the jobs and the responsibilities that you need to have between now and there.
That enables you to think strategically about how you’re going to obtain access to that experience, whether it’s taking courses, doing volunteer work, signing up for more initiatives, whatever it is, to make sure that you are prepared in all ways imaginable to get the job that you are seeking
Second, you want to map out your relationships.
And what this means, essentially, is that there are people who are presently in your life who are going to be critical to your future success. It’s very useful to think through what is the depth of your relationship with that person. You could color-code it, even: green for someone that you have a deep and good relationship with; yellow if you know them a little bit but not enough; and red for people that you really ought to know but don’t.
As you think about your future career progression and who are the people that can be influential with that, it’s important to try to turn all of your red relationships into yellow and all of your yellow relationships into green so that you can make sure that you are cultivating the connections that will enable you to move forward.
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And, third and finally, you need to recognize that your career progression is not going to be a straight line. The career ladder, these days, is much more like a career lattice, to use a phrase popularized by the thinker Cathy Benko. Sometimes you take a detour, sometimes you move laterally in order to move up. Don’t get too stressed out if you’re not progressing in exactly the way that you imagined.
Sometimes the journey and the things that you learn along it enable you to become an even better leader, and sometimes, even though it may not seem it in the moment, it allows you to get to your destination faster.
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