Time to give your career an MOT

By Alex Lewington, PR & Digital Recruitment Consultant, Reuben Sinclair,

A new year often marks the time for reflection, particularly on your career and happiness within your current job. We’ve put together a ‘career MOT’ to help you assess whether it’s time to make a change, however big or small. 

1: Keep on learning

One of the most detrimental things you can do to your career is let your skills stagnate, especially in a fast moving industry like PR. Try and keep up to date by enrolling on a training course or gaining a new qualification. Plan and record your development with a scheme like CIPR CPD so that you demonstrate what you’ve done to stay relevant.

2: Understand your progression opportunities

Make sure you have regular conversations with your line manager about what progression looks like in your role. You should know exactly what is expected of you in order for you to progress, and what that next step looks like – if it’s not what you’re looking for, see if there are alternative routes either internally or in other companies.

3: Regularly update your CV

Even if you’re not actively looking for a new role, by the time you do you’ll wish you’d kept a track of all your responsibilities and achievements.  It’s worthwhile keeping your CV updated so that you have a continuous record of your career highlights – and ensure that your LinkedIn profile is consistent with this.

4: Ask for references / recommendations

Not only will having consenting referees ready be able to save you time when you’re looking to move jobs, it can also help to provide vital feedback. Whilst asking your colleagues for recommendations is a good start, asking clients and customers is also a great way to get third party opinion.

5: Know your purpose

Do you know what your role contributes to the strategic goals of your organisation? How are you making a difference? If you don’t know the purpose of your job in the wider business, it’s harder to feel motivated and to know when you’ve done a good job.

6: Align your values with your employer’s

It’s important to have values in both your professional and personal life, but it’s even more important to ensure that these are aligned with the values of the company you work for. If there’s a mismatch and you fundamentally care about different things, long term job satisfaction is unlikely.

7: Give back to the industry

Sometimes the best way to get fulfilment in a role is to give back to the industry you work in. This could be by delivering a talk on PR as a career, volunteering to help at PR events or simply creating informative, relevant content relevant to the PR industry. Ask your company whether there’s the opportunity to incorporate this into your role and encourage them to promote this internally.

8: Keep your contacts up to date

Work is time consuming and we’ve all been guilty of neglecting networking opportunities in favour of getting your head stuck into the latest project. However in an industry like PR, as the old cliché goes, it’s often who you know that can help you most. Make sure you take the time to keep in touch with ex-colleagues, journalists and other industry professionals. You never know when they might be able to help your career.

9: Trust is key

In your career, trust is most definitely a two way thing – your line manager should trust that you are going to do as you say and give you the freedom to work autonomously when appropriate. However you should also trust they have your best interests at heart. If trust is missing from your working relationship it’s something that needs to be rectified quickly.

10: Know your worth

In order to feel valued within your job, you need to be rewarded accordingly. Take the time to research whether your salary and seniority is in line with your experience, achievements and responsibilities. If you feel you’re under-valued, speak to your line manager to see what can be done. If they don’t value you enough and this isn’t going to change, find someone that will.

Small changes in your career can make a huge difference. Often these changes can be done within your current organisation, but if not, or you need further advice on how to enhance your job satisfaction, please contact the CIPR’s Talent Partner Reuben Sinclair.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

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