If I’m not Actively Job Searching,
What Should I Be Doing each Month for my Career Development?
Even without being in an active, formal job search, there are a few key things you should consider on a monthly basis to be sure you’re thriving and growing in your career. Let’s dive into them!
The key to most any growth is reflecting on where you’re at, ideating and brainstorming on what you can do to overcome any obstacles and achieve goals, experimenting with solutions, and repeating. If you keep doing the same thing expecting different results, we know that that is the definition of insanity!
I personally recommend splitting your energy/time in these ways:
- 60–65%: Driving your success in your current role/company
- 20–25%: Pursuing your own professional development as it relates to reflecting on and pursuing your broader career goals, irrespective of the current company
- 10–20%: Taking care of yourself holistically, i.e. your mindset, accountability, and support systems; if you’re not thriving personally it will trickle over into your career as well.
P.S. If you’re unemployed and job searching, reference this link for additional resources about how to spend your time wisely during your job search.
So let’s dive into #1: thriving in your current workplace.
- First, let’s navigate your current workplace to ensure you’re visible, promoting yourself, exceeding expectations, and creating impact. I would consider the below questions to help guide your reflections and next steps at least on a monthly basis.
- The Work
- What challenges are you facing right now?
- Have any situations arose in the last month that you need to reflect on or learn from?
- Any key projects, meetings, or milestones in the next month you need to prepare for?
- The Outcomes
- Are you making a measurable impact?
- Are you measuring your progress?
- What’s holding you back from achieving your greatest impact?
- The Process
- Are you staying organized?
- Are you managing your time well?
- Your Performance
- Are you tracking your achievements regularly?
- Are you promoting yourself?
- Do you know your expectations & how are you doing against these?
- Have you had conversations around your internal growth trajectory?
- Are you clear on what to do to land your next step?
- Are you getting feedback?
- Your Interests
- Clarifying your overall career interests will ensure you show up to your current role feeling motivated, knowing what you want to get out of the job everyday, and not just what you need to put into the job.
After all of this reflection, ask yourself where you can improve. Identify a tangible, practical takeaway to implement as a next step. Also, see if you can find a mentor, peer, manager, or a coach to talk through these things with as it can often help to have a sounding board to brainstorm and solidify your next steps.
2. Now, let’s dive into what to do each month so that you can push forward towards your overall career growth and ideal career trajectory, separate from your current role and company.
- Designing the Path: Are you clear on your broader career path and the bigger picture? Which roles and industries are your targets? What would the next step look like internally and/or externally? If you’re not yet sure, I would pursue career exploration to learn, reflect, and clarify which step you think is the best fit for your next step and long term path.
- Networking Opportunities: Have you met at least one new person in your target roles and industries and what did you learn from them? This learning should help you narrow in on which direction is the best fit for you and build your network so that you can reference these professionals whenever you’re ready to pursue your next role.
- Research: What have you learned about your target roles and industries this month? Have you uncovered any new innovative companies in your target field? What new developments are intriguing you? This blog gives you a sense of the type of research you can be doing.
- Upskilling / Skill Development: Based on your broader career goals and ideal path, reverse engineer what key skills you need to gain expertise in. Are there formal or informal learning opportunities you can look into that would be worthwhile to help you reach your next step? Utilize networking to ensure you know which courses, certifications, or further learning is reputable or worthwhile. This blog may help you decide which next upskilling opportunity is best for you. What would help propel you to be ready to get hired into your next goal job?
- Internal Projects: How can you voice your interests in your current role to take on projects or work that is relevant to your broader path?
3. Life Factors that are Key to Your Career Success
- Your Mindset: Do you have any hesitations, uncertainties, or limiting mindsets? These might be subconscious or conscious, so use writing and talking to help you surface how you’re feeling and what might be holding you back. Have you been actively processing and reflecting? How are you feeling?
- Your Accountability To Your Career Growth: Are you putting in the time you want outside of your current role towards your broader career growth? What tools or systems are you using to keep you on track with what your goals are and when you want to achieve them? Are those tools and systems working to keep you on track, or where can you adjust and improve? Try to allocate 30 minutes per week to your career goals, outside of your current job. Make it realistic and feasible for you to protect the time that you deserve to ensure you reach your career potential. This blog may help with accountability tips and ideas.
- What’s going on in your life?: Are there other things going on in your life getting in the way of your career success? Any areas of improvement worth discussing with a therapist, coach, peer, or mentor? Sometimes living situations, personal relationships, mental and/or physical health, or truly any scenario at all, can affect us more than we realize. We want to be sure you feel like you can thrive in an overall way so that you show up to your career goals feeling confident, excited, open minded, and ready!
Rachel Serwetz’ early professional experience was at Goldman Sachs in Operations and at Bridgewater Associates in HR. From there, she was trained as a coach at NYU and became a certified coach through the International Coach Federation. After this, she worked in HR Research at Aon Hewitt and attained her Technology MBA at NYU Stern. Throughout her career, she has helped hundreds of professionals with career exploration and for the past 4.5 years she has been building her company, WOKEN, which is an online career exploration platform to coach professionals through the process of clarifying their ideal job and career path. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship at Binghamton University and has served as a Career Coach through the Flatiron School, WeWork, and Project Activate.