As professionals, we tend to shuffle from task to task, project to project. We often write off each experience as either a success or a failure, seldom taking even a few moments to determine what we possibly could have learned. In order to be successful, it’s time to stop and take a moment to become career savvy. Just what is career savvy? It’s learning from your success and failures in order to develop and grow in your career. Here is how you can become career savvy.
Analyze a successful project that you have completed within the last six to twelve months. Take a moment and write down the tasks that made that particular project successful. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What specific tasks did I perform?
- What particular skills did I use to perform each task?
- Which successful skills will contribute to my success in future projects?
- Though the project was a success, what stumbling blocks happened along the way?
- How can I develop those skills to improve the project even further?
Taking the time to analyze your strengths gives you an edge over the competition. You will know what skills you possess that will help you to “get it right” every time. These skills are the ones that you not only want to repeat, but also build upon. Even though you may not get to decide which projects you will be working on, you will definitely understand which projects will showcase your particular talents.
Understanding your strengths, however, only get you halfway to career savvy. The other half is understanding your weaknesses. Select a project that was particularly unsuccessful within the last six to twelve months. Write down what elements made the project fail. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What could I have specifically done to change the outcome of the project?
- Should I have requested assistance during the more critical phases?
- What developmental opportunities should I focus on so that the same mistakes do not happen again?
- What do I need to do next time to get it right?
Development within a career requires skill. Learning what areas that need developing is an even greater skill. Making a conscious effort to stop and review each project is essential. It allows you to identify the developmental areas that you need to work on. It also identifies what you are doing well, therefore allowing you the opportunity to request similar type projects to utilize your skills to their full advantage. Learning from both successes and failures will make you - career savvy.