Three quick tips to help build your career in 35 minutes

16 Jul 2015

What could you do in 35minutes? Some exercise? Cook dinner? Watch an episode of something on Netflix? Or, how about trying to figure out how to build your career. 

A lot of career building advice boils down to, ‘do more, sooner’. We’d all like to do more, sooner, but what can we all do now to help us take our career in new and interesting directions? We talk to candidates all of the time about exactly this topic. Here’s a thirty-five minute, three-step exercise to help you to realistically build your career.

Carry out a gap analysis

Time required: 10 minutes

A gap analysis is a tool businesses typically use to look at where they are at the moment and what they’re missing to move them towards their future. Carry one out for yourself, looking at where you are, the skills you have, where you want to be and what’s holding you back. Look at yourself and your career goals. What’s missing that would allow you to obtain your highest goal? If it’s experience (a feature on many people’s analyses) then don’t resign yourself to the fact that you’re in your current position for the long haul: ‘experience’ doesn’t mean ‘wait around for things to happen’. Start thinking about how to move forward, with more experience, quicker. Start planning how you fill the gaps you’ve just spotted.

Break down career building actions into smaller steps

Time required: 20 minutes

You’ve already started doing this in the previous step. Don’t just write ‘get more experience’ on your notepad; break this down into smaller tasks you can complete in a manageable way.

How about, ‘ask to shadow a senior partner during a litigation session’ or ‘book a weekend training course in management’. Notice how your smaller steps are also more tangible than your larger goal. Taking small steps towards career goals not only pays off in real terms, but it makes your task seem less daunting and your overall plan clearer.

Assign realistic and accurate timescales

Time required: 5 minutes

When are you going to complete all of those small steps you’ve just created and how long are they going to take you? Make these realistic; there’s no point saying that you’re going to do that management course this weekend if its Friday and you’ve not booked on to it yet. Deadlines help you to compel yourself to achieve your goals, but there’s little point in setting yourself up to fail.