You can build ‘career equity’ and ‘professional net worth’ by developing, improving, and strengthening each of eight specific assets which will enhance your professional value in the marketplace. 

Improve your knowledge and skills.

To progress in your career, you need to assess your knowledge and skills to uncover any deficiencies. Work purposefully on correcting these weaknesses. Continue to learn throughout your life. Join in training and updating programmes. Attend seminars, courses and industry conferences to build your knowledge, to inform yourself of new trends, and to meet influential people in your field. Read regularly the books and journals of your trade or profession. Creative ideas can only be nurtured by broad up-to-date knowledge.

Strengthen your credentials.

Most employers place a high value on credentials earned through formal post-school education. This asset can also be strengthened through active membership of professional associations and committees, and involvement in community service organisations and clubs. Distinctions and honours gained through formal education, and through service to the profession and the community will also gain important credit points for you.

Enhance your reputation.

Your reputation focuses on your overall image within the organisation and beyond. It is based on what people think of you and your accomplishments. The development of your credibility in terms of honesty, integrity, hard work, and consideration for others will strengthen this asset immensely.

Build up your relationships.  

‘It’s not what you know, but who you know that counts.’ That’s important where the concepts of mentoring and networking come in. A mentor can provide career information and opportunities for you. Likewise, developing a network of professional contacts is also a positive career-enhancing strategy. Talk with senior people in your field; ask how they started and made progress. Develop a relationship with your superior, allowing you to discuss career options with him or her.

Become more visible and known by name. Get to know key people in the company system by participating on relevant committees.  Make worthwhile suggestions for consideration at higher levels. Working actively with others in professional associations can later lead to career advantages as well. Remember, it’s important to get along with people at all levels: if you can’t get on with others, you won’t get promoted.

Nurture your track record.

To build up this asset, you need to be a proven performer at each stage of your career. An on-going  list of your achievements over time will provide evidence of your track record. By developing expertise in a particular area you also embellish your routine accomplishments and make a name for yourself in the wider business community. Finally, don’t hide your light under a bushel; make sure others know of your successes, but be subtle about it.

Consider your tenure.

How tenure affects career equity varies greatly from industry to profession. In some organisations, however, it’s still a case of the longer an employee’s tenure, the greater the respect accorded. Increasingly, however, in an age of rapid change, effectiveness on the job is often far more important than tenure. 

The benefits of career planning can be measured by your pay and status level. But of more lasting value will be your feelings of satisfaction, achievement, personal growth and increased self-tolerance — in other words, being more in charge of your own destiny and less dependent on the opinions and actions of others.

Career planning is worth doing unless by nature you have a preference for high-risk gambling. Once your career plans are formulated you need to review and audit them regularly to reflect changing job conditions, career opportunities or dangers.’

Weigh up your life-balance.

Your career will be greatly enhanced if your life as a whole is in balance. Work towards establishing harmony between your job and the following important life areas: health, spiritual–mental well-being, finances, social and physical recreation, family– relationships and lifestyle.

Focus on your effectiveness.  

In your quest for building career equity, this asset is dependent on all of the other assets. As well, it also encompasses a wide range of components of your job including self management, interpersonal communication skills, leadership style, motivating others, time management, public speaking, chairing meetings, and so on. Some of these speaking skills need the human dynamics of a group, such as a Toastmasters Club.

Take the time to analyse your assets in each of the eight categories listed, and then search for ways to improve in each one. Making a 1% improvement in each of eight areas is easier than a huge 8% increase in one area. It’s more balanced too. Within a year you will see your effectiveness increase and your career equity and promotion prospects will have improved as well.

Reproduced for educational purposes.

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