Taking forward your career

Event helps Prospect members develop their careers

‘Your Career, Your Options’ was the theme of a conference at the Museum of London for Prospect members across the UK. Rachel Bennett reports

Prospect attaches great importance to members having opportunities to enhance their skills and career pathways, said director of communications and research Sue Ferns, opening this week's event.

She highlighted new Prospect resources to help those wanting to do this, which members can access on the website. They include an online booklet – 'Practical guide to planning and developing your career’ – and new podcasts on the themes of effective networking and evaluating your career options.

Those present divided into two workshop sessions to discuss ‘Where should I go next in my career?’ and ‘How do I give myself a competitive advantage?’

Where should I go next in my career?

This session was facilitated by Trevor Bibic of C2 Careers Group.

Participants explored:

  • how to identify your own strengths and skills
  • skills you need to develop and build on, including different approaches you can employ to find out more about a specific sector or job. Examples included chatting to those already in the job or sector; researching online; or even contacting the organisation's customers to find out their perspective of their services or products
  • how to develop your own worth
  • the importance of identifying and nurturing your own personal brand
  • how to present yourself at interview. Advice was given on how to market yourself using the STAR – Situation, Task, Action and Result – model when answering competency-based interview questions.

Trevor Bibic emphasised the importance of building your own network of contacts and offered practical tips on how to nurture contacts and make new ones who may be useful in your future career. Social media sites such as LinkedIn are crucial in projecting a positive image of yourself and networking with others, he said.

Where should I go next in my career?

This session was facilitated by Hilary Moor, also from C2 Careers Group, who focused on how you can effectively evaluate career priorities and make good decisions about the future.

Using various career models, participants worked in groups to identify preferred work areas and look for other options in keeping with their preferences.

This included identifying your "career path metaphor" and applying approaches outlined in the book 'Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career', by Herminia Ibarra.

Participants considered whether they were ready to take some calculated risks with their careers in order to find a more rewarding career path. Real-life case studies were shared to show how some people had moved from one career to another using innovative and imaginative routes.

Many came away with the message that it was OK to experiment with a different role, and take a stepping stone approach to your career, until you can find a role that suits you and your priorities and values.

Afterwards one member said: "I enjoyed the day – it was well planned and the sessions were interesting and useful." Another stated: "I really enjoyed the chance to focus on where I want to be and how I can help myself get there."

Resources for Prospect members