In March, AWiB ladies participated in a career planning themed event hosted by Nordea. The evening was full of inspiring thoughts, valuable tips and interesting career stories. We are happy to share some of the core thoughts about career planning from one of the speakers at the event, Nordea's People Organisation's Executive Adviser Elina Salo, who represents a HR professional's and a work psychologist's point of view.
Career planning and development is a lifelong process that is affected not only by your education, skills and preferences, but also by your willingness to learn, networks, social and economical environment, age and stage of life, just to mention a few examples.
It all starts from the core questions:
Building skills horizontally
When building your career, remember that moving horizontally - not just vertically - can provide you with a skill set that can push you forward and pay itself back later. The wider the perspective you have, the better. Sometimes it might be advisable to take a step “down” from your current position in order to learn something totally new - it might be a different industry or employer, a useful skill or a new function inside your current organisation. Wide experience will help you achieve more in the future, especially in managerial positions.
Many factors contribute to your career development including your studies and your work experience, paid and unpaid, and your leisure activities. Adding skills and continuously learning throughout your working life, either on or off the job, helps you to move between different roles and workplaces. Do not underestimate your volunteer experience, interests or hobbies! In addition to lifelong learning, adapting to different positions and situations is a basic requirement in modern working life and can actually tell more about your abilities than your formal experience alone.
Career as sports
Our careers are marathons, not sprints: It’s not the distance that kills, it’s the speed. You do not have to achieve your ultimate goal in the first years of your career. Your career might be as long as 40 or 50 years, so you have all the time you need. Furthermore, if you achieve everything right away, what will keep you motivated for the rest of your career? Split your goals into smaller steps and value smaller achievements.
If you are in a hurry to get a promotion, ask yourself whether you really have given and learned everything you can from your current position. Career planning is not just about the goals, but also how you achieve them. It is okay to make mistakes and, more importantly, to learn from them! Your personal development and experiences from different positions and organisations change your preferences along the way, so remember also to update your goals and create new ones.
Recovery and knowing your boundaries is just as important as everything else mentioned before. Allocating time to important relationships and hobbies, relaxation, sleeping enough and eating well will keep you effective and innovative also at work. When being a manager, remember that it is you setting an example for others, creating the working culture and setting expectations. Do not constantly work overtime, give up your free time or send late emails if that is not what you want your team to do.
Last but not least: Be open to new opportunities, even if they do not fit your original plan, and trust your wings!