Everywhere you look today, there’s change. We are embarking on the third year of a global pandemic that has altered forever the ways in which we work and how we think about work/life balance and our general wellbeing. The Great Resignation is one indicator of the shifts we’ve experienced: Many of us are considering carefully how we want to manage our careers going forward. One key to doing so successfully is ensuring a strong, robust career health.
A recent LinkedIn poll conducted by LHH asked: As we start the new year, how would you rate the health of your career on scale of 1 to 4? Fewer than half of participants—44%—feel their career health is good and that they have the resources for upskilling, while 31% report a great bill of career health, and are already upskilling.
Those who want to focus on making a solid diagnosis and improving career health this year—9% describe their current health as bad, and 17% as only ‘OK’—take heart: Reconnecting with yourself and your goals and keeping on the path to where you want to go can be a rewarding process. Here’s how to booster your career health in five steps:
1/ Learn new things. Closing any skill gaps and developing new competencies is key to career health, as is a willingness to step outside of your comfort zone and experience something new. Curiosity and lifelong learning are known indicators for career success. When we learn new skills, our brains change, forming new and strengthening existing neural connections. In addition, studies show that new information activates the dopamine system in our brains, triggering feelings of satisfaction.
2/ Map a career journey. Do you know your longer-term goals, and do you have a career plan that motivates you? It’s becoming increasingly relevant in today’s working world to know yourself and be able to articulate clearly and compellingly your career story. What experiences have brought you to where you are today, and what do they indicate about where you want to be heading? Take time to reflect on yourself and on your plan.
3/ Prioritize your health and wellbeing. We are fortunate to be experiencing a time when health—including mental health—and wellbeing are valued, and old stigmas connected to safeguarding our health and wellbeing are disappearing. More than a passing buzzword or trend, looking after our wellbeing—the ways in which we care for our bodies and minds and work to prevent burnout or other mental or physical health issues—is fundamental to career success and happiness.
4/ Stay connected to your network. The people in your professional network form a major part of your career foundation. Not only can a vibrant professional network expose you to more career opportunities but maintaining healthy relationships within your network affords you a pool of advisors and sources of encouragement and support. Joining and participating in online professional communities is also an excellent way to stay abreast of changes and trends in your industry of interest.
5/ Keep current on the state of your target industry. Finally, you can’t really know where you want to go or how you will get there if you don’t stay up to date with your knowledge of your target industry. Do your research. Keep current with news, research, and other indicators of where your field is heading and where you’d like to see yourself within it.
You may find you are already excelling in some of these areas but could use improvement in others. Navigating change while keeping your focus on a clear career goal is not easy but checking in on these five points routinely will help you consolidate your sense of self and your goals and keep you in excellent career health.