One of the most common career management mistakes I come across is when professionals treat “career management” and “job search” as one and the same. Yes, being employable and having some degree of job mobility are essential elements of managing one’s career. It’s understandable that these phrases are sometimes used interchangeably. But in practice, treating them as synonymous is risky.
Instead, think of treating career management as being mindful and intentional about all aspects of your career, from delivering your best performance for your current clients and employer to thinking about job opportunities you might wish to pursue in the future.
In Career Success: Navigating the New Work Environment, authors Khalid Ghayur, CFA, FSIP, and Dwight D. Churchill, CFA, present a model of career management that comes down to these essential elements:
- Building self-awareness
- Gaining environmental awareness
- Achieving a good fit between self and environment
- Planning ahead for your career
Self-awareness, in my opinion, is the cornerstone of success. If you are proactive and deliberate about improving your technical knowledge and interpersonal skills, and think of these steps as intentional efforts to manage your career, you will have an additional data point to consider as part of your self-awareness.
Here’s an example:
Hopefully this isn’t your first visit to the Enterprising Investor — welcome if it is! My guess is that you don’t actively think about reading this blog as a career management effort even if you do intuitively appreciate that reading industry blogs contributes to your professional success in some way. So, assuming you have visited before, perhaps you have noticed the series by my colleague Jason Voss, CFA, on “Skills That Separate You as an Investment Manager”? So far he has covered:
- Absolute vs. Relative Decision Making
After reading these, did you think to yourself: “Oh, I actually do that pretty well,” or “Hmm, I should work on developing this skill”? If so, you materially contributed to your self-awareness and, in turn, your ability to:
- Present yourself and your relative strengths concisely to others (clients, employers, recruiters, etc.).
- Evaluate a professional environment that suits you best.
This example may be a bit obvious because it involves so-called “soft skills,” which are more readily associated with career management. But the same would be true of more technical content as well. Acknowledging that your full range of professional development efforts are career management ones as well — and being intentional about them from a career management perspective — is certainly a more meaningful way of viewing career management than treating it as simply your occasional job search.
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All posts are the opinion of the author. As such, they should not be construed as investment advice, nor do the opinions expressed necessarily reflect the views of CFA Institute or the author’s employer.
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