Developing Your Career: Embracing the Right Mindset
Embracing the right mindset is the first step in achieving any career goal.
It's easy to assume intelligence and talent are often the keys to success in the business world. However, many of the most powerful and successful people in business today reached their goals through dedication, grit, perseverance and asking for help.
If you don't have the right mindset, then connecting with a recruiter will likely be a waste of time. After all, your Recruiter can help you access the right opportunities, but it's up to you to take advantage of these options and prove yourself to potential employers.
So, what does the right mindset involve?
According to Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, it's the "growth" mindset that today's ambitious individuals need to pursue.
Most people have a "fixed" mindset. This essentially means you assume your situation is always set in stone, and there's nothing you can do about it. A person with a fixed mindset in the wrong job would argue there weren't enough opportunities elsewhere without actually taking the time to explore their options fully.
A "growth" mindset is an alternative approach.
When you have a growth mindset, you commit to consistently improving yourself and your opportunities. Rather than just saying you don't have the skills for the job you want, you define which new talents you need to develop and work on cultivating them by any means you can.
A growth mindset will ensure you have the potential to move into any role you choose.
To develop your growth mindset:
- Pay attention to how you think: Instead of saying, "I can't do that," ask, "How can I do this?"
- Look at challenges as opportunities: When something feels difficult, don't automatically assume it's not worth doing.
- Stop fearing failure: Accept you may not achieve all of your goals immediately, and remember every failure is a new opportunity to learn.
Creating Your Career Plan: The Self-Reflection Stage
Once you have the right mindset, you can plan for the kind of career you want to work towards with your recruitment consultant.
Research from Harvard Business School shows that self-reflection is the key to success, as it helps us better understand what we want and how to get it.
With self-reflection, you can determine what you currently have to offer potential employers and what you might need to develop and improve.
Start by looking at:
What are you capable of offering your employer or future employers in terms of hard and soft skills? List all of the qualifications you have achieved relevant to the sector and any experience you've developed in the industry so far.
Aside from listing [sector] technical skills, think about transferable skills. For instance, strong communication skills, writing and reading well, and excellent problem-solving abilities are relevant in virtually any job in today's economy.
Your values will give you an insight into what kind of company culture you will be looking for when applying for new roles. They'll also help you determine whether you have the right attitude or personality for certain positions.
Think about what matters most to you regarding work ethic and strategy.
Are you the kind of person who values everyone being on time and following the rules? Or do you like the idea of a workplace where everyone embraces creativity and teamwork?
Your Likes and Dislikes
Consider the job you're in right now. What do you like and dislike about your day-to-day tasks?
Are you mostly happy where you are but feel like your career is not challenging you? If so, you might want to consider looking at roles with more responsibility, such as [sector] management positions.
If you like the time you spend working as part of a team more than you enjoy your time working solo, perhaps it would be a good idea to look at roles where you can interact with other people more often.
Imagine what a day in your ideal job would look like:
- What would your schedule include?
- Where would you be; at home or in the office, or working in a hybrid role?
- Who would you be working with?
- What would your essential tasks be?
- Do you want to work in a diverse team?
Exploring Your Career Options
Once you have a better idea of who you are, you can look for job opportunities that match your strengths, development areas, values, and ambitions.
Start with a general assessment of the landscape and the available job opportunities in your field. Your recruitment consultant can help with this.
Are there new job opportunities opening up in your industry which might allow you to do more of the work you enjoy most? Have you discovered a new skill during your time in this sector that might make you suitable for a new role?
If you're not sure which direction you want to head in, you can consider exploring new opportunities in your space by:
- Networking: Discussing career opportunities with peers in the same space will help you learn more about the positions that appeal to your values and interests.
- Internships or volunteering: Getting involved with an internship or volunteer position, even part-time, helps you develop necessary experience while learning more about what you want from your ideal role.
- Job shadowing: Job shadowing allows you to gain experience in a specific field and ask questions.
Remember, your vision of the ideal role when you first finished college or university might not be the same as what you want to apply for now. As you gain additional experience and learn more about the industry, you may find your ambitions change.
Once you have an idea of the kind of roles you might want to apply for, performing a SWOT analysis will help you determine what steps you might need to take to prepare yourself for the next stage in your career development.
Using a job description from one of the roles you might want to apply for in the future, assess your:
- Strengths: What skills, experience, and talents do you already have that make you ideal for the role you want to apply for? Where do you feel the most confident?
- Development areas: Where are you lacking in specific abilities relevant to your desired role? How can you develop your knowledge in these areas and boost proficiency?
- Opportunities: What opportunities already exist to take you closer to your ideal role? Can you work with mentors in your current job or train in your existing role?
- Threats: What might make it difficult for you to end up in the right position, and how can you overcome those challenges? For instance, if you need to get another certification to get the right role, can you learn part-time rather than give up your current job?
Create a Career Development Plan
Now that you have a good idea of where you stand and where you want to end up with your career, you can create a general career map. This document can stay with you for many years, adapting and evolving as you learn more about yourself and your sector.
A good plan will also be useful to take with you to your conversations with your specialist recruiter. They'll be able to see your long-term and short-term goals and guide you towards opportunities that will deliver the right results long-term.
To create your career development plan:
1. Create long-term and short-term goals
Your career is a life-long concept that will evolve and transform with you over many years. With that in mind, it's important not to focus all of your attention on long-term goals.
Start with a general idea of where you'd like to end up one day. Maybe you want to manage your own team or run your own business. The chances are you'll have a lot of smaller milestones you'll need to reach along the way before you get to that point.
Plan out the smaller short-term goals between where you are now and where you want to be five or ten years in the future.
For instance, if you want to be a manager in the industry, but you're currently working in an entry-level field, you may need to start by increasing the amount of responsibility you take on for your current employer and upgrading your knowledge in your specific area of interest.
2. Pinpoint Your Next Step
With your short and long-term goals mapped out, determine what your "next step" is likely to be. An experienced recruitment consultant can help you with this as they will have worked with many employees before to help them map out logical and workable next steps.
3. Implement Time Frames into Your Goals
Though it's difficult to predict exactly when you're going to reach certain points in your intended career path, you should have a general idea of how long certain things should take. For instance, if you need a new certification and it takes a year to complete, you know you will need a year before starting to look for roles that demand this certification with your recruiter.
Applying general time frames to each of your "next steps" will ensure you don't lose track.
It's too easy to tell yourself you're having a challenging time at work, so you'll take on studying for a new qualification "next month" instead. Specific time frames help to hold you accountable and improve your chances of reaching your goals faster.
4. Be Open to Changing Your Plan
Your career plan is there to give you a compass to guide you through the process of pursuing your career. However, it shouldn't restrict you from new opportunities.
Think of your plan as a living and breathing document that grows and changes with you. As you spend more time in your role, learn what you're good at, develop new skills, and network with new people, keep checking back on your career plan.
You might decide that you want to go in a different direction with your skills once you've acquired them. Or your recruitment partner might suggest an avenue for your career you haven't considered yourself. Being open to change will ensure you don't miss out on the best opportunities.
Why Use a Recruitment Partner?
Once you have a basic career plan to guide you, the right mindset, and a good view of what you want to accomplish in your roles, you can take the next step by working with a recruitment partner. A recruiting consultant who works in your industry can support you to turbo-charge your career development strategy.
Using the information you share about what you can currently do, what you're working towards, and what you're hoping to achieve, your recruiter can give you the support and guidance to accomplish your goals.
A recruitment partner can:
- Improve your CV/Resume/LinkedIn Profile: Your recruitment partner knows what employers are looking for when searching through CVs/Resumes to find a specific candidate for a certain role. With a knowledge of the position you want to get, your recruitment partner can suggest how to tailor your CV/Resume into the perfect application for the job of your dreams.
- Help you access more opportunities: Finding the ideal position isn't always easy, even if you know what your ideal job looks like. Sometimes, it can feel like the ideal role isn't out there. However, a specialist recruiter can help you apply for hidden jobs other people simply wouldn't know about. They can give you access to the opportunities that would otherwise fly over your radar.
- Work with you on your personal brand: A recruiter can help you develop your personal professional brand to make the right impression on the right employers. They'll ensure you make your strengths shine through whenever you're posting content online, applying for a job, or even filling out a cover letter.
- Prepare for interviews: A recruiter can essentially train you with all of the information you need before an interview to ensure you make the right impression on your potential employer. They can help you develop scenarios to share in a competency-based interview or offer advice on how to present yourself to hiring managers in both in-person and video conversations.
- Improve your chances of a good match: A recruiter can use their knowledge of your values and personal goals to ensure you're applying for roles that match your skill sets and company culture requirements. [Sector] recruiters are experts at matching the right candidate to the correct employer.
How to Find Your Recruitment Partner
Finding the right recruitment partner is essentially like choosing the secret ingredient in the recipe for a successful career. However, knowing who you should work with can be challenging.
The first step is knowing where to look for a recruitment professional. If you're specifically looking for local job opportunities, you can search for [sector] [Location] recruitment on Google and see what shows up. It's also worth looking for hashtags related to your industry and location with the tag #Recruitment or #JobOpportunity on channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Other ways you can find recruiters include:
- Asking people in your network for advice.
- Joining job groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.
- Visiting in-person job fairs and events
Once you've found a handful of recruitment companies you might be able to work with, narrow down your options by focusing on:
- Industry expertise: While a one-size-fits-all recruiter might look good, they won't have the specialist knowledge required to help you thrive in the environment. Every industry has unique nuances to be aware of when applying for jobs and standing out to potential employers. Don't underestimate the power of industry knowledge.
- Reputation: Many of the best recruitment companies demonstrate incredible performance by listing case studies, testimonials, and reviews. Visit the Recruiter's website you're thinking of working with and ask yourself if their happy clients and candidates speak for them.
- Opportunities: Check out the job board on your recruiters' website and ask yourself whether they list the kind of jobs you're interested in. Some recruiters focus on more entry-level jobs, while others are more likely to list positions for those who want to move into a managerial or C-Suite role.
- Process: You should be able to find some basic information on how your Recruiter works with candidates on their website. Find out how much support they're willing to offer you for your ideal role. Can they offer advice on things like interviewing and improving your CV? Are they available to talk to you and answer any questions?
If possible, it's often worth communicating with a recruiter directly to ask any questions you might have about their service. A face-to-face, video call, or even on the phone can help put your mind at ease that you're working with the right professional.
Make the Most of your Recruiter
Finally, once you've found the Recruiter you believe can help you develop your [sector] career, the next step is working closely with them. Ultimately, a recruiter can only deliver excellent results if you're willing to put the work in on your side too.
With that in mind, follow these tips.
Step 1: Be Honest and clear
Explain what you're looking for from a recruitment professional from day one and what you'd like to avoid in future roles. If you're seeking temporary positions instead of full-time roles, make sure your recruitment team knows that.
Describe your skills and experience honestly, and be realistic when explaining your expectations about new opportunities and roles. Use the career development plan you built above to show your Recruiter where you are today and where you'd like to be with their help.
Don't be afraid to share all the details of your job history with your recruiter. For instance, if you were unemployed for a period, you can let them know about this, and they can give you advice on how to answer questions potential employers might have about that time.
Step 2: Work on your essential assets
A recruiter can help you improve your CV and enhance your cover letter, but they can't write the whole thing for you. Make sure you have all the assets you need to help your recruiter present you in the best possible light.
Start with keeping your CV up-to-date with all of the most relevant experience you've developed in connection with your desired role. Remove anything from your CV that isn't connected to the roles you want to apply for, and remember to customise each CV and cover letter based on the job you're trying to get.
It's also good to consider your digital presence and online reputation. Is your LinkedIn profile complete, with plenty of insights into other companies you've worked for? Do you have a professional brand when someone searches for your name online? A recruiter can't help you if someone sees an inappropriate social media profile when googling you.
Step 3: Make the most of your Recruiter's resources
Many recruiters will offer access to resources to help you improve your appeal as a candidate. For instance, they will have reports like this, which you can use to enhance your career opportunities. We have several reports here at Lucy Walker Recruitment that will help; email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0113 367 2880.
Some recruiters have access to CV templates you can use to make your application look more appealing, or they might help you make your CV ATS ready.
Step 4: Follow through on your part
Your recruiter can't do all the work for you. You still need to make sure you follow through with your commitments, arrive on time for job interviews, and present yourself professionally.
Remember, failing to do your part of the work doesn't just reflect badly on you as a candidate; it can also have a negative impact on your recruiter's relationship with brands.
Step 5: Communicate regularly
Finally, if you want to make the most of your recruitment support, you need to communicate regularly with them. Share your experiences about your job interviews, and ask for feedback when something doesn't go well.
A recruiter doesn't just have to be a short-term partner; they can be a long-term part of your career development plan.
Is it time to take the next step in your career?