In today’s dynamic workplace, it’s essential to understand your career is not set in stone. Whether you’re considering a new direction within your current career or contemplating a complete career change, the power to shape your path is in your hands.
For admins, I firmly believe the motto, “Start here. Go anywhere.” It perfectly captures the opportunities and potential for growth that await. Whether you choose to do more of what you’re doing today, or pursue something entirely different, the experience you’ve gained in your administrative role is the perfect foundation for whatever you choose to do next.
In the productivity world, you’ll hear experts talk about effective time and task management strategies for staying on top of your work. One of those strategies is to create a “stop doing” list as you create your “to-do” list. This exercise forces you to think about what you’re doing that is truly necessary, and what you’re doing that isn’t helpful or doesn’t serve you.
I think this is an exercise that can also help us gain clarity in our career evolutions, too.
Here are some things to consider as you explore the process of choosing a new direction for your current career or embark on an entirely new path.
- Embrace the Possibilities. Recognize that change is a natural part of professional growth and that it’s never too late to make a move. Embrace the mindset that you have the power to shape your career trajectory, and trust in your ability to adapt and learn new skills along the way.
- Reflect on Your Passions and Interests. Take time for introspection and explore your passions, interests, and values. Reflect on what truly motivates and inspires you. Consider the aspects of your current career that bring you joy and fulfillment, as well as the areas where you feel unfulfilled or eager for new challenges.
- Evaluate Your Transferable Skills. Identify the transferable skills you have acquired throughout your professional journey. These are skills that can be applied across industries and roles. Assess how these skills can be leveraged in your desired direction, and emphasize their relevance when presenting yourself to potential employers or clients.
- Research and Explore New Opportunities. Conduct thorough research on industries, job roles, and career paths that align with your passions and interests. Utilize online resources, industry publications, and professional networking platforms to gather insights and gain a deeper understanding of the opportunities available to you.
- Seek Guidance and Mentorship. Tap into your professional network and seek guidance from individuals who have successfully made career transitions. Engage in conversations with mentors, industry professionals, or career coaches who can provide valuable advice, insights, and support throughout your journey.
- Fill Skill Gaps and Acquire New Knowledge. Identify any skill gaps between your current expertise and the requirements of your desired direction. Develop a plan to acquire the necessary qualifications and knowledge. Consider enrolling in courses, attending workshops, pursuing certifications, or participating in relevant training programs to enhance your skill set.
- Take Calculated Risks and Gain Experience. When transitioning to a new career path, it’s important to take calculated risks and seek opportunities to gain practical experience. This may involve taking on side projects, internships, or volunteer work in your desired field. Such experiences allow you to build credibility, validate your interest, and expand your professional network.
- Adapt and Course Correct. Remember that career transitions are rarely linear. Be open to course correction and adapt your plans as you progress. Stay flexible and embrace the innovation mindset required to navigate the challenges and uncertainties that come with change.
In addition to these tips, I highly recommend that you pay attention to two key tools in your administrative toolkit: your strategic career plan and your professional portfolio.
Review Your Strategic Administrative Career Plan
Your strategic administrative career plan is a combination of your personal vision, mission, and goals that guides your professional growth and development.
Your career plan will help you evaluate yourself and where your career is headed. The exercise of creating and maintaining your strategic career plan allows you to shift from a reactive to a proactive approach in managing your career development.
If you already have a strategic career plan, I encourage you to pull it out and review it. Is it still applicable or does it need to be updated to reflect the new direction your career is taking? How will a career change impact your plan? What goals do you need to add or change to ensure success?
If you don’t have a career plan, these complimentary templates can help you get started.
Update Your Professional Portfolio
Your professional portfolio is an accurate visual representation of who you are, what you’ve done, and the skills you possess. It proves that you can do what you say you can and allows you to shine a spotlight on your career accomplishments. It’s also instrumental in any career change, whether you’re continuing with the admin profession or changing career paths completely.
Before you start applying for new positions, make sure your portfolio is up to date with your current resume, work samples, certifications, etc. If you don’t have social and digital versions of your portfolio, now is the time to create them, especially since so much of the hiring process takes place online.
If you need help creating your Comprehensive Professional Portfolio Strategy, my latest book, Prove Your Skills! With a Powerful Professional Portfolio, will show you how to do it step by step. You can order your copy here.
Where Will You Go? The Choice is Yours!
As an admin, you possess a versatile skill set that enables you to explore a variety of career paths. The motto “Start here. Go anywhere. You decide!” encapsulates the endless possibilities that lie ahead. By reflecting on your interests, evaluating your transferable skills, researching new opportunities, and seeking guidance, you can confidently navigate career transitions and create a fulfilling and purpose-driven professional journey.
Embrace the power to shape your career path, seize new opportunities, and remember that your career is your unique journey. Start here, explore everywhere, and make intentional choices that align with your interests and goals. The possibilities are limitless!
© 2023 Julie Perrine International, LLC
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Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity, and Become a Procedures Pro: The Admin’s Guide to Developing Effective Office Systems and Procedures.