Here’s an engineering career gut-check: The only person in charge of your career success is you. If you’re feeling stagnant, feel your current boss is holding you back or you aren’t moving up as fast as you’d like, it’s time to sit down and take ownership of your career. Here are three things you can do today to get in the driver’s seat and speed towards success.
Set Career Goals
If you don’t have a list of career goals, how will you ever know if you’ve achieved success? Floating through your career aimlessly is a great way to feel dissatisfied. Spend some time reflecting on where you are today and where you’d like to be in one year, three years and five years.
For now, start with your one-year goal and break it down into smaller, monthly milestones. Determine the steps you need to take to get to your end result. It might mean taking classes, building a skill set or even looking for a new employer. Break each milestone down into steps. For example, if your first milestone is to enroll in a class, you’ll need to spend time researching and evaluating potential programs.
Get a Career Mentor
Mentors can be an invaluable resource in propelling your career forward. A mentor is someone whose career trajectory and work you admire. A mentor has been where you are and can help you map out a path for your own career. They can also provide you with feedback, hold you accountable to your goals and help you expand your network by introducing you to other influential people.
A mentor can come from your existing network, or you can reach out to someone whose career you’ve admired from afar and attempt to forge a relationship. Remember, you must ask someone if they would be willing to mentor you, don’t just start hounding them for advice.
Partner With an Engineering Recruiter
Conceptualizing where you want to take your career is the easy part. Making it happen is another issue entirely. You may know you need to move on to a new firm to truly grow your career, but finding the right opportunity can take months, if not years – especially if you try to do it on your own.
Once you have your goals figured out, partner with a professional engineering recruiter. Sit down and discuss your career goals and the types of projects and work environments where you will thrive. Engineering recruiters know the business and they can:
- Determine whether you have to close any skill gaps before taking new steps.
- Help you understand your value in today’s market.
- Connect you with jobs and projects that align with your goals.
- Get you into companies that are hiring, but aren’t advertising to the general public.