How do you manage your career?

In an ideal world you would manage your career like a well-run business. You would have a clear strategy with a clear blue print and predetermined actions that would allow you to achieve your goals.

Not there yet? You are not alone. Unfortunately, much of what we do in terms of our careers is by default rather than truly focused forward thinking.

The first step in managing your career is the recognition that your career is something YOU must own. Your Aunt Sally or Uncle Bob are not going to manage it for you.  So how, in general terms, should you consider managing your career?  One approach is to think of and manage your career across eight (8) specific categories – with the overall objective of reducing the perceive risk and maximizing the perceived value of having you on board:

  1. Marquee Companies — How credible are the companies you’ve worked for?
  2. Marquee Positions — Have your held meaningful positions?
  3. Industry Silo — Do you have clear strengths within one (or few) industries?
  4. Functional Silo — Do you have clear expertise in one functional area (marketing, operations, sales, finance, etc.)?
  5. Major Achievements — Can you point to meaningful and quantifiable achievements?
  6. Career Progression — Are you sought after…have you moved up or been recruited out?
  7.  StabilityAre you focused and passionate about your work enough to stay, at least through major milestones, or are you simply waiting for the next opportunity to come along?
  8. Personal Branding — Do you have credible relationships that support your work and can attest to your abilities?  Have you published materials or built a name for yourself professionally through other means?

Score high in these career categories and your career rewards may well exceed your expectations.  With this in mind, the HBS career management program is striving to provide you with resources and industry expertise which can help guide you as you think about your career. To date our program has been focused in two key areas: Finding the right career (Sessions held this year have covered round table discussions with recruiters, perspectives from HR executives, an entrepreneurial round table, and a networking workshop) and Accelerating your career path (Sessions held this year have covered executive coaching, negotiating your executive employment agreement, and networking in the office).

This coming year is the second year of the program.  We will continue to focus in the two areas above, but also begin to explore the area of Leadership. This year, in addition to our monthly sessions, the career management program will begin to provide career resources through our web site. These resources may include pages with key career management data and information, monthly session summaries, job postings and other local career related events of interest.

We have come a long way with our program over the last year. To continue to enhance the program, your help and involvement will be essential. If you are aware of speakers or resources which will add value to the program or have a question about any of the information, please email me at: Semprevivo@post.harvard.edu.