Taking a Career Inventory
The beginning of a new year is a reminder to reflect on your career over the last year. It’s also a good time to conduct an inventory how things went over the preceding year. What went well? Of which accomplishments are you particularly proud and why? Did you learn a new skill, approach or technique? If you haven’t done this in a few years, delay no longer and take the time to conduct a career inventory to catch up on your last few years of accomplishments and lessons learned. Such an exercise can help you overcome the winter blues, by instilling in yourself a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment from your work, including work done during your job search.
Inventory what you’ve learned, how you’ve developed and craft this into a path towards what your future career development. This exercise can help you build a personal and professional plan for self development through a goal setting exercise. As far as career plans and preparation go, the time taken can prove to be valuable preparation for your next interview, whether within a new organization or within your existing place of work. Try taking a few of your career highs and writing them into a narrative or “star story” that demonstrates how you work, what you are capable of, how you overcame, collaborated or achieved. Taking the time to do this annually is good preparation for performance assessments, resume updating and interview preparation.
Several of my colleagues remarked upon this recently as they prepared for internal interviews. Both have been in their positions in the same organization for some time and had no real need to evaluate their career highlights until an enticing job opportunity arose in the organization. Although content in their current positions, both decided to test themselves by applying for the new positions, in different areas of the organization. The shared that it was a challenging to go back and summarize their long careers into a resume. Each interview also posed a test of career recall to come up with the best examples to illuminated their skills and fit accurately. While it was challenging to reach back and recall their career highs for the purpose of the interview, it was also a rewarding personal exercise as they remembered their accomplishments, talents and areas of development. The exercise of creating “star stories” for the purpose of shining during a job interview or performance evaluation can also be deeply satisfying.
By taking the time annually, to reflect constructively, you can update your inventory of accomplishments and career learnings. Not only will this prepare you for your next career move, but it you’ll find it’s a fulfilling and satisfying exercise.