3 Essential Skills To Manage Your Career

The world of work, recruitment and job hunting is getting more competitive and complex than ever.  Jobs are there, yet so are plenty of applicants.  And still employers complain of woeful skills gaps.  It seems that applicants now need more than the skills to do the job: they need the skills to successfully navigate the process of getting the job.

Sandra Haase and her colleagues* at the Centre for People at Work at the University of Worcester have come up with 7 competencies for career success.  We can all benefit from stopping and thinking about how well we might score on each one.  I’ve added my thoughts on the first three below; more on the rest next week.

1. Goal setting and career planning

This competency is about how clear we are on our goals.  This is important: not just for our career, but our whole life – and then where our career fits into that.  Work can add huge meaning to our lives, enrich and reward us in many ways and even allow us to leave a legacy.  Or it can be a straightforward transactional means to an end. 

  • What are your goals for your career?
  • How much of your life do you want to dedicate to your career?
  • What do you want from your career in return?

2. Self knowledge

This is the old Emotional Intelligence competency of self-awareness.  In some job applicants it can be startlingly absent!  There are many ways in which we can develop self knowledge:

  • Keep a journal – what is going on for you?
  • Identify your strengths – when and where have you been at your best?
  • Do some self-assessment – plenty of tools out there, including one that assesses the 7 career competencies.

3. Job related performance effectiveness

Basically, can you do what the role requires?  This one can stump interviewees.  It’s well worth preparing for. 

Isolate each requirement of the role and see if you can come up with examples of when you’ve delivered that. 

If you come up blank on one, see if you can identify examples beyond work when you’ve demonstrated the behaviour. 

Still blank?  Then be honest, and say what you will do to bridge the gap.

I’ll be writing more next week about the other 3 competencies: career related skills, knowledge of office politics, networking and mentoring, feedback seeking and self presentation. 

If you’re keen to dig deeper**, Haase and her team have created the Career Competency Indicator, an online questionnaire that you can take to self-assess your competency levels.

You can find out more about the Career Competency Indicator here http://www.consultingtools.us/our-products/career-competency-indicator.php

However, I’d question the ‘Audience’ definition of ’18-24 year olds’, as I think those considering career change or facing redundancy at any age would benefit from using the tool.

* Sandra Haase, Erica Thomas, Catherine Steel and Jan Francis-Smythe
** Academic references can be found here

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