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Now is the Time to Adjust Your Career Plan

Posted By: John Sweney on April 21, 2020

Brookwoods Group CEO John Sweney wrote an Opinion/BizVoice article for the Houston Business Journal which appeared in the print edition April 17, 2020  (Click on the HBJ image to read the article as published.)

If you’re one of the many who have been furloughed or laid off – or even if you have just been reassigned to work from home -- now could be the best time to reassess or create your career plan so that you’re ready when the jobs come back.

Here are a few thoughts that can help you get started.

Gauge Your Happiness

Be honest with yourself about why you should either stay on that career path or explore other opportunities. Before this crisis, did you find your job fulfilling? Were you appreciated? Were you fairly compensated? Was there a clear path to the next step in your career at the company? If you answered “yes” to these questions, then it’s likely you were on the right track. If you said “no” to any of these, then think about why that is and what you could have done better or differently.

Speaking of Career Goals

When was the last time you set goals for your career? Think about long-term career goals -- five to 10 years -- first and create short-term one-year goals that dovetail into accomplishing the long-term ones. Make sure they’re SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound) and put them in writing. Start this process now or, if you’ve done this before, revisit your goals to make sure you’re on track.

What About Your Value

Consider your career from an employer’s perspective. What value do you bring to your company?  How could your talent, skills, knowledge, and experience provide the greatest benefit?  Is there someone in your company whose job it is to help you grow in your job, and how is your relationship with that person?

Reflect on Your Accomplishments

If you are not already doing it, record your professional accomplishments.  Make a folder on your computer and keep a spreadsheet list, plus evidence -- scans, copies, and PDFs -- of everything you accomplished that was specific and measured.  You need this for your resume, LinkedIn profile and career goal-setting. Each accomplishment can show a successful track record that can open new doors in the future.

Invest in Training and Learning

A successful self-assessment requires being honest about where your gaps lie. See how you can take this time to close those gaps with training and/or education. Strengthen those weak areas with online classes, certifications or just reading more books related to your profession. Whatever you can do to grow during this downtime, make the most of it.

Transform Your Job

What better time is there to gain a better understanding of where you are and take steps to take more control of your career? When the crisis ends, and if your job is still there, and you have a better understanding of your career goals and your value to an employer, your tendency may be to go find a new job. Why not try working with your current employer to transform your present job into your ideal job? You may be able to grow, take on new responsibilities, and better leverage your talents and skills. You never know if you don’t ask.

John Sweney is co-founder, president and CEO at Houston-based Brookwoods Group. 

(Thanks to Mark Hayden of Oak Interactive agency for coordinating the article.)