Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Career Development

Happy New Year! As you start 2007, it is a great time to do an assessment of your career aspirations and make the necessary adjustments to meet your goals. With this in mind, it is important to understand how organizations design and structure HR processes in order to develop and maintain the best teams possible, and how you can position yourself to take advantage of opportunities.

Organizations conduct a baseline level of training in order to ensure that staff understand the philosophies, values and core expectations in order to ensure success in a given field. In addition, the organization has developed a framework by which departments are organized with a goal of ensuring leadership occurs (succession planning.) There are job descriptions that define the basic expectations or competencies for positions. Advertisements are worded carefully to attract a strong pool of applicants. And, interview panelists and questions are chosen to ensure that successful candidates possess the necessary experience, competencies, and desired attributes to match the position. The desired result is that there are good matches to positions and a high level of success is attained.

Within MPLIC, we make sure that our training program gives staff the necessary tools to perform in their positions. However, attaining the experience and skills necessary for an advanced position, and providing evidence of accomplishment that warrants career advancement is the responsibility of the individual staff member.

What can you do to demonstrate success and provide evidence of accomplishment?

  • Learn to “Talk the Talk.” Assess organizational terms that are most acceptable for the promotion, position, or organizational competencies in question.
  • What have you done that relates to the job you are seeking? Identify position elements that are transferable skills, e.g. communication skills, teamwork, organizational skills.
  • Assess your readiness. Determine the level or knowledge/experience you have in the competency areas in question.
  • Résumés are targeted. Write résumé position descriptions using terms consistently under job titles.
  • Indicate evidence of accomplishment in skills areas in résumé entries.
  • Bring something to the table. Provide evidence of accomplishment in portfolio, advancement, promotion, or application package.
  • Use skills statements in cover letters.
  • Discuss skills and accomplishments in response to interview questions.

Other important things you can do:

  • Dress for the job you want—not for the job you have.
  • Don’t sit on committees, participate in them.
  • Take the lead! Ask for the responsibility, volunteer to do the task.
  • Be visible. Attend professional events, conferences, FAN, Adult Enrichment, etc.

1 comment:

Kent Blumberg said...


Great list. To the last point, I would add, "Consider writing a blog." Great way to enhance your visibility while also giving you practice with writing and honing your core knowledge.

And blogs don't have to be external to serve as a useful visibility and skill-building tool. For example, internal blogs written by the folks in your training programs might be very useful adjuncts to the formal program.