How much does a career catch 22 situation suck? You’re willing to do what it takes to get
more experience to progress to the job you want, at the level you want, with the influence you want to create positive, meaningful change and outcomes. The problem – how do you get the experience in the first place?
So how do you crack the Career Catch 22 to break through to the job you want?
Honestly, each situation is different and, you may not like this next point, it might take time to get there. In a world of instant gratification the workplace and indeed life isn’t always that instant. You can get there though. Here are some key points for you to consider and decide for yourself which are the best for you in the situation you find yourself right now.
Talk to your boss. Explain you’re keen to learn and develop, talk to them about what you’re passionate about and let them know you’re keen to gain more experience and exposure to ideally support the team and the organisation, and also to aid your personal development. Keep an eye out for opportunities or projects to support with, offer your services and support.
Tend to your networks. From a genuine place, nurture and tend to your professional and personal networks, they’re invaluable for support, advice, different perspectives and opportunities you may never see coming. If you can’t find any opportunity in your team, maybe your network in the wider organisation can provide an opportunity to develop. Your network outside of your organisation in a professional body or completely outside of your sector may have great opportunities for you to get involved in, or they could introduce you to an influential contact.
Explore your passions. What better opportunity than to gain an opportunity in an area you are completely passionate about that will also give you the experience and skills you need. For example, maybe your favourite charity is looking for a board member or volunteers to lead a strategic project with an impactful outcome? Or perhaps your sports club has a similar need.
Get entrepreneurial. Can’t find the opportunity to gain the experience? Create the opportunity yourself by setting up your own side gig. Maybe a blog, proofreading service, a cake business – whatever floats your boat. What would you need to do to make a success of the business or venture and does that align with the experience you need?
Find a mentor. Completely at a loss? Find a mentor who you trust, get on with and who will genuinely value the relationship with you, understand your goal and help you to get there.
Study for a relevant qualification. Is there a professional qualification that will give you the professional knowledge and expertise you need to progress? Maybe the qualification requires practical experience to gain the certificate? Maybe the experience you want to get? Whether your employer pays for the qualification or you pay for it if you can afford to – if you can negotiate access to the experience you require to complete the qualification you have found your route to get what you want.
Volunteer your time or shadow someone for a day. You could contact an organisation to see if you can observe or shadow members of the team which you are interested in and learn insights you wouldn’t otherwise access. You could also make valuable connections along the way.
Work on your USP. What can you bring that no other candidate brings? What is your strength? What differentiates you? If you can’t identify that ask those around you. Then work on enhancing that.
There maybe the perfect answer to your own personal Career Catch 22 above for you, if not, what else can you do? If you’re determined to get to where you want to go you have to push yourself to move past obstacles. It’s not always quick, it’s not always the way you would like to go, and you know what? The path you end up taking might actually show you something else that you hadn’t considered that you want to pursue instead. Or it might reaffirm that the job you’re pursuing so hard is the perfect job for you still, that obstacle course will undoubtably enhance your knowledge, abilities and perspectives to help you when you finally do make it to the job you wanted so much.
Everything is a learning experience, take it all in.
Over to you
What is your personal Career Catch 22? And how are you going to move forward from here?
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