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Broadening Our Sense of Career Advancement

by Kathy Johnson

Recently I met a young woman who joined a communications training program. When asked why she said, “Well, my boss told me that if I was ever to have a chance to apply for his job I would need better communication skills.”  It seems she had picked one skill and one job and had narrowed her focus to that.

A goal of one particular job with one particular employer in your community or one particular job in your organization is a bit limiting! Having worked with hundreds of job-seekers, it seems too often people place all their ‘eggs in one basket’ by focusing on one job, one preferred employer and doing lots of ‘waiting and hoping’ for The One to become available. The scarcity mentality may apply here!

The Fuller Context

Career advancement should perhaps be viewed in a larger context. First, fully consider one’s personal inspiration by asking yourself, “What do I love doing? What skills do I have that I most want to use?”

Career advancement within the organization may provide more opportunity to do more of what you like and are good at OR it may take one away from that and into a whole different direction, potentially reducing job satisfaction.

A broader sense of one’s career skills and personal strengths can shape a career goal statement; for example, “I want to be the director of a non-government agency that supports people to access employment, educational or support services for a better quality of life.”

A Personal Fit

This goal may fit with your current organization – or not.  If you know what you need for career satisfaction you can start ‘shopping’ for the position or the organization that fits that goal.

Often job seekers will say their reason for pursuing a job or training is based on the suggestion from a friend who enjoys the work and recommended it. That may be comparable to the friend saying, “I look great in size 8 shirts so you should buy size 8 as well!”  What is the right fit for one is not the right fit for all.

Having a conscious personal career goal statement frees one to look beyond current roles and company to ask, “What is right for me? Where will I find the work to use my skills? What experience and skills and training will help me move towards that?”

Developing an understanding of your career goal, the key skill set that is needed to do the work, and having your own personalized comprehensive plan will keep you well positioned to advance your career in the direction of your choosing. This approach to career advancement moves you beyond motivation and into inspiration where your best work can be done!

Kathy E. Johnson has worked as a Career and Employment Consultant in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, since 2000. She has a B.A from the University of Saskatchewan and a Certificate in Career Development from Concordia University College. Kathy also pursues travel, photography and can frequently be seen hiking or snowshoeing depending on the season!

Kathy Johnson
Kathy has a B.A. ( Sociology) and Certificate in Career Development and is a member of Toastmaster's. She was pleased to present a workshop at the Cannexus conference a process she calls V.I.P.P. a method to engage people in career planning.

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