I speak regularly at professional association events sharing ideas on how to be more successful in your career.
To climb the career ladder there are a number of things you need to do.
Get the necessary professional qualifications. In most professions it’s a pre-requisite for moving beyond a certain level. It might not be fair but that’s the way it is at present.
Broaden your experience. The more you focus on breadth rather than depth of experience in a narrow field the more likely you are to progress in your career.
Build your skills. Surprisingly a lot of professionals invest a lot in getting professional qualification but are pretty passive when it comes to continuing to develop personally or professionally.
Build your qualities and attributes. The more senior you become the less important it is to be technically brilliant. After a while it is almost taken for granted that you can do a technically competent job. Your attitude, outlook and traits can take you a long way.
Build your business knowledge. These days professionals are expected to contribute more broadly to the business not just be experts in their field.
While all of the above are important in landing your next job, they are not the biggest barrier that’s limiting your chances.
The number one barrier might surprise you.
What is the number one barrier that’s limiting your chances of landing your next job?
I’ll call it the self exclusion trap.
Let me explain.
You look at a role that looks interesting.
This could be an advert, job description, person specification or a combination of all three.
There are a high proportion of the elements of the job that you know you could easily do.
Then you see a few things that you don’t know or feel that you lack experience in.
What usually happens is that you obsess about the things you can’t do, lose sight of all the things you can do and stop yourself from applying for the role.
As a result you have eliminated any possibility of getting the role without even trying.
At the end of the day, if you don’t apply, you can’t get an interview and can’t get an offer.
So rather than self exclude change your perspective and ask yourself:
- How significant is the gap?
- Could you do something to address the gap?
- Could you view the challenge as an opportunity for development?