When you enter the work force you are bringing your qualifications and education to your first professional role. Then you begin to gain experience through your first few jobs making you more valuable to current employers based on your expertise, reputation, track-record and knowledge of an organisation's ins-and-outs and so on. All these things help you move through your career. Does this sound familiar?
Slowly experience can begin to outweigh your potential. So make sure you keep building your experience without forgetting about your potential. If you can continue to turn your potential value into valuable experiences, this then converts to even greater potential, leading you to become more valuable to your organisation over time.
Most Careers Follow 3 Phases
1. Aspiration Phase
Lasts 0 – 3 years
In this phase, your value all comes down to your potential in most cases. During this phase you ought to figure out your interests, goals, strengths and gain marketable skills.
Work on weaknesses and fill knowledge gaps.
Acquire life skills such as thinking, listening well and taking advice on board, thinking critically, writing, reading and speaking to a professional level, problem solving and collaborating effectively.
Network with industry professionals and get feedback from university professors. Get a job and start to build your CV.
2. Promise Phase
Lasts 3 – 10 years
You’ll start developing expert professional skills to contribute more meaningfully to the business. You should build a reputation around work as a can-do person who does good quality work, meets deadlines, contributes and so on, to demonstrate your value and affirm they made the right decision hiring you.
You should also prepare yourself for the next phase by taking on more responsibilities and flexing your wings a bit. Test out different roles and various work environments if doable. If you’ve taken the time to develop a strong network of professional relations then it may help you switch jobs more easily to accomplish this goal. So figure out how you’d like to move forward in your career.
Do you want to manage people, or work solo? Do you desire a position generating revenue, or prefer to deal with support areas? Only time and testing the waters will help you get a clear handle on where you want to go career-wise.
3. Momentum Phase
Lasts 10 – 20 years
Your experience now overtakes your potential value. During this phase you grow your professional standing in your sector by leveraging your experience, skills, knowledge, status and connections. This makes you highly recruitable and promotable. So watch out for new opportunities and use what you’ve built to make the most of them.
If managing teams you and your success will be measured by their quality and effectiveness. You want to be seen as the person building a positive work culture by finding and retaining the best and brightest talent and developing them internally.
Be positive, respond to feedback, support others and collaborate when necessary to build goodwill. The more helpful and hands-on a colleague and leader you are, the more likely this goodwill will be reciprocated. As you head towards the end of this phase you may need to rely on others goodwill to keep your career momentum going when you need to balance personal commitments such as marriage and health with work.