If you’re an MBA, PhD or Masters student or recent graduate you’ve invested significantly into your education. This investment has likely been not only to learn but to gain a competitive advantage to advance your career.
So, how do you position yourself for success? How can you purposefully connect with employers?
Here is our expert advice on advancing your career after graduation:
Number 1: Know Who You Are
The most important first step to take when you are advancing your career is to know self. Throughout your studies, you may have undertaken a variety of self-assessment and psychometric tests. Go through these tests to analyse and use this data to your advantage. Many people tend to dismiss these tests but if you have undertaken Gallup, Career Leader and Myers Briggs, there are many, many years of science and expertise behind these tests. So, take time to acknowledge results and think critically about your strengths, skills, achievements to date, your natural talents, your potential, that make you who you are. A great exercise to better understand self is to reflect on a situation where things did not work out the way you wanted. Ask yourself, if I had my time again, how would I manage this situation? What behaviours or circumstances would I have changed to get a better outcome for myself and others? The answer to this question is your learning.
Number 2: Analyse your strengths, skills, experiences, natural talents, education and your potential
Write down all your strengths, your skills (both hard technical skills and soft skills), your experiences, natural talents, your education. You also want to write down the proof of your performance – what insights or data can you provide as evidence of your value. What are your key achievements?
Secondly, think about your potential – what can you do as oppose to what you have done. List your 4 or 5 key areas of expertise. Your hard-technical skills combined with your soft skills. A word of warning – employers want results so don’t over-promote your soft skills. It is essential your future employer understands the value you bring with your hard skills, combined with the way you deliver through your soft skills. Answer this question: Why would someone employ me?
Number 3: Create your unique value statement
Once you have analysed who you are and what you do, start to create the narrative that describes the unique combination of skills, experiences, natural talents and potential you bring to a business. You must be able to express yourself succinctly and effectively, in writing and verbally. This takes practice and time. Create a language that best expresses who you are and what you do. You must be confident and authentic, believing in yourself and importantly be consistently true to self.
Number 4: Identify your core operational deliverable – what is it that you really do?
This is your pitch statement. What do you do in 25 words or less? Start the sentence with:
“My core operational deliverable is to ……………………………………………………….”
Number 5: Identify the impact you want to have on the world
Stop reinventing yourself as a response to a job advertisement. Crystallise in your mind the impact you want to have at work. What do you want to do day to day to earn a living and understand where a job will take you? Career strategy is not about finding the next job, it is about finding the next job that supports your long-term goals and leads you to the next job then the job after that.
Number 6: Identify the organisations and the people you want to work for
The world of work in 2020 is complex, uncertain and challenging. It can also be highly rewarding. Find the people who work for the employers you want to work for. Make sure you are working with people who share similar values, similar goals, and purpose. Your sustained wellbeing and your capacity to achieve success will depend on your working environment aligning with your professional and personal values. If you value a competitive workplace, then seek out that type of environment. If you value supportive managers, then seek out the managers you want to work for. I know we talk about working WITH someone because it is more politically correct, but in reality, as an employee, you are working FOR someone (no matter what level of seniority). So do your due diligence.
Number 7: Create a CV in your own words that talks to your unique value and demonstrate your capacity to deliver your value.
No matter who you are, you need to have a CV – a document that talks to who you are, what you do, your key areas of expertise, your potential and the impact you want to have. Find a format that works for you. Remember you are a product, positioning yourself in a highly competitive marketplace. Ask yourself this question: What do I want people to read about me so that they pick up the phone to talk? Make sure your CV, cover letter and LinkedIn profile are all congruent and reinforcing the key messaging of your value to an employer.
Number 8: Be ready to talk to your purpose – the “why” of your career aspirations
Identify your career purpose. When you’ve invested in your education to advance your career, you are playing the long game. Don’t be afraid to go after what you want. It is so fantastically rewarding to achieve success. Spend the time and energy so that you exhaust the opportunities and find the way forward. You may not be successful in some of your endeavours but learn the skill to turn rejection into opportunity. Most importantly, enjoy your career journey and stay strong to your goals.
Take time to explore opportunities and take time to reflect on what is important as you take your next steps. Rushing into a job or position may lead to dissatisfaction or worse insecurity given current economic trends. Remember, the job interview is a two-way process. As the candidate, use the employment process to interview the people of the organisation you will be working for and with.
IF YOU’D LIKE HELP TO ADVANCE YOUR CAREER…
Take advantage of your MBA, Masters or Ph.D. in 2020 and kick-start your career!
Register for the Steam Connect Pilot Program and re-imagine your future.
- 90-minute Steam Connect Workshop in Sydney or Brisbane (multiple dates available) – limited to only 30 participants per workshop.
- 1:1 coaching with a professional career management coach to help you design and implement your personal career strategy.
- The opportunity to access the Steam Connect Talent Platform – for direct access with employers of YOUR choice across the Asia Pacific.