Approach to Career Management
Effective career management is one of the most important skills to acquire and master. Columbia Business School has worked with thousands of students and alumni and found that the most successful careers are built around a five-step process — self-assessment, research, marketing yourself, networking, and interviewing — as well as ongoing professional development.
Step 1: Self Assessment
Self-assessment is the cornerstone of managing your career. It is the process of examining and understanding your values, interests, skills, needs, and style to identify the career pathways that are the best fit for you.
Step 2: Research
After self-assessment, research is next step in managing your career. Research involves gathering as much information as possible on companies and industries that carry out the work and best exhibit the values that you identified during the self-assessment phase.
Step 3: Marketing
Opportunities to sell yourself and market your skills can present themselves at any time or place. Jobs have been found and partnerships developed over cocktail parties, taxi rides, and company picnics. Effectively marketing yourself does not happen without consistent branding and messaging where each interaction reinforces who you are as a professional.
Step 4: Networking and Interviewing
Networking — building relationships with people in fields that interest you — is a vital component of any career. It is also the method through which approximately 80 percent of job seekers find their jobs and a valuable resource for learning about new fields. A polished and prepared interviewing style is imperative as you transition from one opportunity to another.
Step 5: Professional Development
As you progress within your chosen career, it is important that your skills stay sharp and relevant to your superior, your job, and your industry. Attend conferences, take classes and read voraciously so that you can continue to add value.
Finally, when you have gone through each step, you may need to start over. The average person has three to five different careers (not jobs) during their lifetime. So, as your interests, your needs, and potential opportunities evolve, you may need to revisit this framework.