Recently, a friend told me that she felt pressure to make a “big move” in her career. She initially started gearing up to look for a new job. But over the next few weeks, she started to have second thoughts and decided to pause her job search. Her friends seemed disappointed that she had not taken more dramatic action.
But making a big move isn't always the best path. Sometimes, it making a dramatic move can actually cause more harm than good. There is something to be said for a patient, thoughtful approach to making a career move.
I shared this analogy with my friend.
I sometimes drive by the construction site for a new mall near my place. For months and months, all I see is this huge pit as they build the foundation. It seems that nothing is happening, but the reality is that a lot is happening. I just can't see it. A solid foundation is critical! Once the foundation is done, the framing will go up quickly. This is the exciting part - seeing the building suddenly take shape.
When we think about our careers, it's often wise to focus on our foundation before making "big moves." It may take time, but once you make the move, you know you will have a solid foundation to support you.
Here are a few ways that you can build your solid career foundation.
Get Work Experience: You need to get some solid work experience behind you to be credible to a future employer. If you hop from job to job, employers may feel that they cannot trust you. (That being said, you also need to know when to move on. )
If you feel that you are getting stagnant at your current role, look for ways to broaden your experience. Perhaps, the company would be open to an expansion of your role or to you taking on a special project.
Improve Your Skills: Pay attention to the skills necessary to do your job well. Do not rely on your employer to build those skills for you. Instead take responsibility and start to look to develop your skills yourself.
There are plenty of low-cost ways you can develop skills. Perhaps it's through a volunteer job, a course, or online training.
Update Your Training: I'm seeing a creep towards higher and higher levels of certification required for jobs. If you are missing training or certification to move ahead in your career such as a Bachelor or Masters degree, start working on it now. You want to make sure that you have what it takes to land your next job.
Build Your Network: Career expert, Jayne Barron, says, "You need to build your network before you need it." One of the easiest times to network is when you are working, not unemployed. If you build a strong network now, you are helping yourself out in the future.
So what are you doing to build your career foundation these days?
Best of luck. You got this!
Kristin Vandegriend is the founder of Career Story where she has helped hundreds of her clients successfully transition to work they love. Kristin is passionate about supporting her clients to uncover their strengths and communicate to get what they want in the workplace.