The Career Management Definition (not Crisis Management)

I wanted to share with you an important lesson that I was reminded of from two full-process career transition clients that I started working with this week. If you want a career management definition, let’s start with what it is NOT. Career management is not crisis management.

You see, both of these clients, independently, communicated the same thing: If they could go back in time, they would have put more attention, while in the job, on their external profile, network, and relationship management. Thinking about other current and recent clients, the same refrain is echoed. Career moves were often caused by external circumstances:

  • a change in their immediate manager (very common),
  • shifting power among leadership,
  • company acquisition,
  • corporate restructuring,
  • change of company or departmental direction where the skill/expertise base of the person wasn’t a fit,
  • and even a family health emergency.

Yes, for some, it was more proactive and aspirational. Note, however, that given that many things out of your control could trigger a need to move, the more market ready you are, the less impactful these external events. In fact, they can become opportunities.

Career management is the intentional, strategic, proactive activity of building the degrees of freedom in your professional journey.

Let’s make this practical. You need to put attention to your career. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Practice situational awareness: Assess the risks and opportunities in your professional world. What’s on the horizon that could impact you?
  • Pay attention to your top, key relationships. Don’t rely on one champion.
  • Expand your network, intentionally: Who do you need to know that you don’t know now?
  • Expand and fine-tune your awareness of your professional assets. What does this mean for future career direction?
  • Stay relevant with your knowledge and skills.
  • Ensure that your LinkedIn profile is a compelling statement of who you are professionally (and where you’re going) and have a healthy LinkedIn network.

We have a whole program coming online soon at our sister site Career Growth Essentials. More to come on that. For now, in terms of our take on the career management definition, the watchwords are intention, attention, proactive and strategic.