How to choose the best way to invest in your career

Back when I finished school, I wanted to be an Accountant, but didn’t get accepted into the Accounting stream at my University of choice. I remember feeling really disappointed in myself. My next choice was a general Business Degree, where you could study a broad range of subjects…one of which was Human Resources. So although I picked it as a sort of Plan B, I fell in love with it, especially the ‘human’ part.. Every class excited me, and I quickly changed the career direction I wanted to take.

A week after graduation, myself and three friends jumped on a plane to Australia. We had some fun stops in Thailand and Bali on the way and landed in Sydney thinking ‘What now?’ The one thing I did know, was that I wasn’t going to give up until I found a job in HR. I scanned the pages of the phone book and called each recruitment agency starting with A. In between searching I took some admin temp jobs in the meantime to keep me going but would try and call 1-2 agencies a day.

Luckily it didn’t take too long (a few months) until I spoke to this cool guy called Michael who had a recruitment project he needed help with. It wasn’t directly in HR but I was super excited to get started, especially halfway round the world from my family and home.

I know now, that I was lucky to find my passion and dream early on. However, my career has taken twists and turns along the way and I’ve had bumps in the road like everyone else. There are times I have neglected my career and just sailed along or gone around in circles. We are all busy and often we just don’t make it our priority. I’ve met many people who have spent years in jobs that they really don’t like. Some feel a bit stuck, and some just don’t feel challenged. All of them have one thing in common – without intentionally doing so, they’ve let other people guide their destiny.

So how do you take back control, and choose the best way forward? By ‘investing’ in your career – here are three ideas to get you started;

1: Have a clear career plan of what you want to do

This is such an important step to really think about what you want to do with your career. What do you love to do and want to do more of. It’s ok to have more than 1 path. You could have an A, B and C choice. My A choice was Accounting and B was Business. In the long run I was glad I chose B…which eventually led to C – let’s call C ‘HR’!

2: Break down the steps you need to take to reach your goal

Once you know what you want to do, the next part is easier. Set yourself some baby steps to get to your longer-term goal. Some people like to use spreadsheets for this or others use vision boards. How can you get to where you want to be? Plan your career adventure, just like planning a holiday.

3: Set time aside every month to spend on your career.

Now you need to set some time aside in your busy calendar to invest in you. Stop making excuses. This is your life and you can take control of your career. Choose three things every month you can do to drive your career towards that dream goal. It might be attending a networking event every month, having a coffee with someone in an organisation you would love to work for or posting a blog.

All you have to do is make a start…you’ll be amazed where the path takes you. I would love to hear how you invest in your own career!