When trouble or opportunity strike in our career, many of us simply allow ourselves to be carried along with the prevailing current, thereby ending up in jobs that we didn’t necessarily choose.

We might even apply a lack of planning to all our career choices, happy to carry on as we are until something changes—perhaps when we see a different role that catches our interest; our industry or employer suffers a decline, or our jobs are taken by robots.

No matter which industry you’re in, you need to be thinking about up-skilling and broadening your talents so that you are always employed, employable and valued.

The employment market is changing, and whether these changes will present challenge or opportunity for you depends largely on how prepared you are for change, and how strategic you are about going after what you want.

No matter whether you’re in a stable or vulnerable market, or a job you love or hate, you should always be considering the future.

To succeed in a career, especially in a commercial sector you will need to plan.

Here are the 3 stages we recommend here at Lucy Walker Recruitment to all our candidates.


1. The Assessment Stage: Where are you now?

Look at the role you’re currently performing.
What do you do on a day-to-day basis? How much do you enjoy it? Which aspects do you love and which do you dread?

Can you imagine doing it for a whole career?

Which bits would you like to build on? Does it bring you enough money to fulfil your personal goals? Is there growth potential within the sector, role or organisation?

When it comes to answering these questions, honesty is the best policy. Using ‘it’s ok’ as an answer is NOT an answer that will add any value to your dilemma.

The truth will win out and is what is required to set you on the path to a job you really enjoy.


2. The Deciding Stage: What do you want to be?

The first step should have generated some ideas. You may have realised that you need a significant career change, that the role you’re in doesn’t excite you anymore, or that your company provides no growth opportunities.

Now it’s time to figure out what career path is right for you.

Look at what you like doing in your current role, as well as other skills and hobbies. Is there a job that will allow you to focus on those?

What have transferrable skills your work history given you? Think hard about this, as it can take some creative thinking. So often we undersell or under value our skills and abilities that employers are desperate for in their organisation.

Look at trends in the marketplace, such as high-growth and declining industries, and make informed choices. Research which skills are in demand, and what you’ll need to do to learn those skills.

I recently watched the film Hidden Figures which is based on a true story. One of the characters Dorothy Vaughn discovered she was about to be replaced by an IBM computer! However, somebody needed to run and programme it. Therefore, she set about learning Fortran a computer language.

Suddenly she became indispensable; a case of taking her future into her own hands don’t you think?

Here is a suggestion. Find a recruitment company for roles you’re interested in, and compare your current skills with what you’ll need. Then take action and set goals….


3. The Goal-Setting Stage: How are you going to get there?

You’ve decided what your dream job is, but you need to commit to the process of step-by-step planning. The most effective goal-setting is done with pen and paper, and big goals are broken down into smaller bite-sized pieces, as well as the major milestones of, 6 months to 1 year, 3 years and 5 years.

Consider what you’ll need to do to reach your goals. If you need to learn the ins and outs of certain project management software to become a high-flying PA, or study employee relations to work in an HR function, you’ll need to commit to a learning program.

If you want to get a promotion to the Logistics Manager role by Christmas, you will want to schedule a meeting with your manager to discuss your aspirations.

It’s wise to consider back-up plans, as there may be factors at play that are out of your control, such as redundancies or a sudden downturn in the market.

For this reason, you should always build a broad and adaptable skillset, rather than one which is extremely job-specific.

Consider how you’ll build your personal brand at this time to guarantee your success- will you use social media heavily, or perhaps rely on networking events?

The UK job market is expected to undergo massive changes in coming years, but even if the economy booms and there are jobs aplenty in your field, would you be content to stay in the job you’re in now, forever? If the answer is no, then it’s time that you sat down and did some careful commercial career planning.

At Lucy Walker Recruitment, we can help with planning your career. To get in contact call our Leeds office on 0113 367 2880 or Manchester on 0161 661 4421  and speak to one of our team of experts or email us here.

About the Author: Lucy Walker

Lucy Walker is the founder and Managing Director at Lucy Walker Recruitment.Lucy has an extensive knowledge of the issues and workings of the West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester Commercial markets developed over 25 years in the profession