Working within the Recruitment Industry, the core part of our responsibility is identifying and engaging talent in the market whether they are actively looking for new opportunities or not. While conducting this exercise we speak to a large number of professionals who have different goals and aspirations as well as having diverse career backgrounds; and in some cases, their aspirations doesn’t always fall in line with their previous and/or current experiences which brings me to this question….
To strategically plan your career progression, you need to map out where you are now, where you’re going and what you need to do in order to achieve your objective. Just like everything in life, there are sacrifices that need to be made. Some sacrifices may be bigger than others and may also include a salary reduction, local/regional/international relocation, a demotion in hierarchy and the list continues. However, in some cases the price to pay may not be so high, it may even be just the financial investment in professional programmes but with all this in mind one shouldn’t lose focus on the objective at hand.
With the evolving and frequent changes in the economy, business have been forced to implement transformations to accommodate such. As a result of this, it is mandatory that as a professional you have to consistently review and renew your skill set to remain relevant in a competitive market and demonstrate the diversity in your experience.
These days just working in one sector alone doesn’t give you the vast experience businesses are looking for in order to thrive. However this applies mostly to roles that operate in cross – business sectors such as HR, Finance, Business Development, Sales & Marketing etc. Roles that are more technical and specifically aligned with a sector must regularly review how their skill set or/and transferable skills will be an advantage in a highly competitive market and leverage on academic, professional qualifications and attributes.
For example: Working as a Talent Acquisition Manager has its technicalities and can be found in every sector ranging from Oil and Gas to the FMCG sector. However, if your only used to sourcing talent from the oil and gas industry your talent pool will be limited to those who work in that sector which could limit your profile appeal to hiring managers of other sectors. So a strategic plan to ensure that you remain relevant is to explore other sectors by undergoing a short course that covers the fundamentals of another sector, or slightly downgrade to a Talent Acquisition Officer role to gain experience in an industry.
Downgrading doesn’t mean demotion! it also doesn’t mean that your less talented than the next person. What is means it that you are strategically planning your carer progression. A few years gaining experience in a sector that you knew nothing about coupled with your current experience will align you with opportunities that you wouldn’t have been ripe for several years ago. A back track is not a set-track, it’s simply a diversion that will set you a mile forward to where you want to be as opposed to where you used to be.
While some may factor in the decrease in remuneration, the inconvenience of relocation etc. when you are strategically planning your career you will see beyond the now and focus on what this experience will bring to your career objective.
Throughout my career as a recruiter, I have seen people make considerable career jumps that have contributed immensely to their success, crucial career suicides that some people would think that they would never recover from and still land with both feet firmly on the ground. But as someone who is passionate about their profession are you ready to take a calculated yet profitable risk that may not yield fruit immediately but will do in the long run?
Now please don’t get me wrong, careful thought and planning has to go into every strategic plan you make regarding your career. I’m not recommending that you should take every offer presented to you. What I am saying is that the road to our chosen career destination is not always a straight forward one. As a result of this, some sacrifices need to be made. So don’t miss out on excellent opportunities because the remuneration may not meet your expectation or the designation/job title doesn’t sit well with you. What you need to ask yourself is:
Does this position fit in with my career objectives taking into consideration the role, sector exposure and responsibilities?
Working in this position, what would my next step be (in regards to the next role I acquire) and where would I fit in within the organisations succession plan?
Working for this organisation, what would my market value increase after this engagement? (Increase my diversity, exposure and responsibilities?
If you can produce significantly positive answers to these questions then don’t let anything stop you. Feel free to ask a mentor or a professional who you respect and admire and you may even find they have faced similar scenarios. There is power in sharing and even more power in achieving.