Charting a career path isn't like using a mapping app on your phone. You can't just put in a destination, then follow the blue line.
Making your way through the working world is more like getting to the center of a large maze. You can't really see more than a few turns ahead of you most of the time. And you might have to worry about running into a minotaur.
But just because a career road trip usually involves some trial and error, along with a fair amount of cul-de-sacs and three-point turns, doesn't mean there's no strategy whatsoever. You have to sketch out a course, otherwise you may never get to your destination.
With that in mind, here are five principles that will help you navigate through your career:
Figure Out What Makes You Different
People joke about corporations filled with mindless drones performing rote tasks, just waiting to be replaced by robots someday. That's actually the opposite of what most companies want.
In reality, firms are looking for people with unique value-added qualities. Figure out what you can offer that's different from the average job applicant. The more special talent you bring, the more likely you are to get hired.
Jump at New Roles
An exciting new position can quickly morph into a boring routine, which can, in turn, quickly morph into a rut. It happens faster than you think. And allowing yourself to become overly identified with a singular role can stifle your career.
As such, don't let yourself get boxed in. Look for new opportunities -- chances to learn, build your resume and expand your horizons.
Say 'Yes' to Opportunity
Don’t let fear and self-doubt dictate your career path. If someone offers you an opportunity, don’t second guess them. Take the chance.
Even if you don’t feel ready, say "yes." If your bosses think you’re qualified, take their word for it and figure out the rest later.
Ask for Help
No one succeeds on their own. Asking for help may seem like a sign of weakness. You might worry that you’re declaring yourself unqualified. But the other option may be screwing up a promising opportunity and, at the same time, proving yourself unqualified.
Seek out guidance. Even when you think you have a handle on things. You might learn a new way to operate. Even if you don't take the advice, asking for help builds connections and helps expand your network.
Pay It Forward
There’s another side to the helping coin. For everyone who gets help, there’s someone who gives it. You can’t always thank the people who boosted your career. But you can return the favor by paying it forward.
If you've picked up some tricks, look to pass those on. As your career moves along, seek out chances to become a mentor. Not only is it the generous thing to do, it can further extend your network during the latter stages of your career.
Outlining a career path gets easier when you have help. A staffing firm is the closest thing to a smartphone mapping app for navigating the working world. Partnering with a recruiter sets you up to get to your ideal career destination.
Contact United Personnel to learn what we can do for you.