How Healthy Is Your Career in 2019?

When you stop and consider how important your salary is – how much it pays for, the lifestyle it enables, the activities and resources it funds – it’s imperative to check in periodically to evaluate how likely it is to continue to do so for the next year. I call this process an annual career check-up because, like an annual physical, this exam helps you to spot potential problems either before they arise or early after arising. When you can identify a career issue early enough, you have a chance to solve it before it threatens your job security and future career prospects.

To take the temperature of your career, so to speak, I recommend a check-up process encompassing these 10 key areas:

  1. Your Current Position: It’s imperative that you assess your current role at least once yearly. You may have participated in 360-degree assessments at work, but what about taking a deep look at your job as you contrast it with your emerging goals, interests, and values?
  2. Your Current Employer: Your current work place should be evaluated as well, since the company you work for is a key indicator of future career success. Consider not only your employer but your immediate supervisor as well.
  3. Your Industry: While these first 2 categories are self-evident, fewer people stop to analyze the match between their career needs and the industry they are in. In fact, many people who pursue a career change only need an industry change. You can avoid the chaos of an unnecessary career change by assessing your current industry at least once a year.
  4. Your Career Interests: Your interests change over time as you age and develop as a person, so it makes sense to check in with yourself at least once a year to determine if you’ve identified any new interests or are overlooking any that you have yet to pursue.
  5. Your Career Strengths: Many professionals can voice their strengths, but they don’t always make career choices based on them. Your strengths should always be central to your career planning, and this process begins with a once-yearly analysis of your strongest motivated skills.
  6. Your Career Liabilities: Some experts advocate focusing more on your strengths than your liabilities, but this approach overlooks the fact that your liabilities can hold your career back. They can prevent you from landing promotions or higher-level jobs and cause you to be less successful than you want to be in your job.
  7. Your Career Values: Those aspects of your career life that you treasure the most are your work-related values, and they form the reason why you do what you do for a living. Since values also change over time, it’s important to review them yearly and consider how well you’re doing at honoring them in your work life.
  8. Your Personal Development: Your interests, strengths, liabilities, and values make invaluable contributions to your growth as a professional and a person, but there’s more to personal development that you might want to consider. Particularly as you move into your 30s and beyond, this area of your work life will yield enormous stress or tremendous satisfaction for you depending on how proactively you develop yourself.
  9. Your 2019 Career Goals: It’s obvious that an annual career check-up should help you arrive at a plan for proactively managing your work life for the next 12-month period, but that doesn’t guarantee that you’ve done one this year or ever. It’s time to start!
  10. Your Long-Term Career Goals: But planning your career a year at a time isn’t all that you need to do. You also want to make sure your current goals align with your longer-term plans and aspirations. By adjusting your trajectory year-over-year, you can ensure you arrive at your desired career destination by the time you’re ready to leave the labor market.

If all these steps seem burdensome, I have good news for you – I have developed a simple process for achieving each one. I call this process my Annual Career Check-Up. For the first time, I’m offering this process to folks who aren’t coaching clients of mine, in hopes that more people achieve their desired career goals as a result. But whether you use my process, your own, or someone else’s, the important thing is to set aside time to reflect on these issues. What does that look like for you?

If you would benefit from a gentle structure for your annual career check-up, take a look at my proprietary self-assessment and self-coaching process, on sale through February 28th, 2019.

About Cheryl Lynch Simpson

Cheryl is a Career, Job Search & LinkedIn Coach and Master Resume Writer. She has helped clients in >35 industries on 6 continents and has earned 24 global resume writing nominations and awards.

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