The official blog of Abacus Group — a place to share our knowledge and thoughts on trends in recruiting

June 13, 2013

Shaping a Job to Fit Your Career

With the average job lifespan trailing five years, current employment patterns demonstrate little but stability. Among Millennial workers – who comprise about a quarter of the national workforce – typical job duration drops to just three years.  Evidently, jobs rarely turn into lifetime positions.  Over the course of one’s entire career, the median number of jobs held exceeds 10, regardless of educational attainment.  While such constant job changes do offer exposure to new challenges, broader learning opportunities and an expanded professional network, they mandate intensive focus to ensure adequate preparation for one’s next role.  Here are six ways in which professionals can maximize the value of their current roles now to be ready for what will come next.

Maximize exposure to areas of interest
Have you found that you particularly enjoy certain responsibilities of your job more than others? Great; concentrate on those as much as possible.  If you’re unhappy with your job overall, try to find areas that pique your interest and nurture them to the fullest. This will help your development of a professional niche, and lessen the likelihood of accepting the wrong job offer in the future.

Keep track of major accomplishments along the way
Regardless of your next professional destination, you’ll need to identify specific, quantifiable accomplishments before arrival.  Avoid waiting until the last minute to make additions to your resume or rehearse answers to interview questions. Instead, maintain ongoing documentation of your greatest successes as they take place. Such achievements can be tracked in any format, such as a personal computer file, a LinkedIn profile or a physical folder.

Develop transferable skills that can easily be used in a variety of roles
Transferable skills are those that can be applied to various positions. Some of the most important examples include strong communication, the ability to supervise a team, time management and negotiation. In your current role, be sure to foster these capabilities, along with as well as any industry- or occupation-specific skills, to appeal to the largest variety of future employers.

Get credit for your work and ideas
Avoid being humble about what you’re doing well; take credit. Don’t downplay efforts go unnoticed during performance meetings, because you’ll likely be requesting recommendations from your evaluators down the road. Similarly, when you develop ideas for improvement, be sure to vocalize in a meeting or elsewhere to get proper recognition. Clear communication of your accomplishments will be helpful for later promotions, as well as recommendations to future employers. 

Network with as many people as possible
Establishing meaningful relationships with colleagues, supervisors, clients and others is one of the most important aspects of any job.  Friendly socialization does more than enhance enjoyment and create better opportunities for advancement; it opens doors to later professional options. 

Acquire substantial feedback on all major assignments
Feedback is a crucial element of professional development through which one can assess strengths and weaknesses, and make improvements for the future. Try to acquire as much clear feedback as possible from your immediate supervisor, and implement changes as necessary.  In addition to facilitating self-improvement, being able to acquire regular feedback is integral maintaining a healthy manager-employee relationship in any organization.

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