Dunvegan Blog

Career Pathing: "How to Make Sure Your Skill Sets and Career Vision Match Your Reality”.

At Women In Trucking’s 2016 Accelerate Conference, participants gathered over lunch to discuss Career Pathing: "How to Make Sure Your Skill Sets and Career Vision Match Your Reality”.

The conversation was facilitated by Anne Miner, President of The Dunvegan Group who encouraged all participants to join in the discussion. Participants represented all levels within trucking organizations, including Account Managers, Training Specialists, Capacity Planners, Directors and Vice Presidents.

The discussion was lively as participants shared their strategies and tactics for ensuring that they know what skills are needed for the positions they aspire to, tracking their own performance and how to make yourself visible as a candidate for advancement.

Before considering the skills required, you must have a vision for yourself. Decide on what and where you want to be. Observe the various roles in your company and in other companies. Imagine yourself in the role. Consider the culture of the company and whether it fits with your own values.

Having identified your career vision, you will be ready to take the next concrete step.

Identifying the Skills Required

The most obvious way of identifying the skills you will need is to ASK. Approach your company’s Human Resources department, your manager, peers and candidates in the role you aspire to and garner various perspectives on the full skill set needed.

Network at events such as the Accelerate! Conference and ask other attendees about their roles, skills and aspirations.

Ask lots of questions! Will there be travel? Will you need to work long hours? Shifts? Will you need your own tools? Special wardrobe? Car? How is compensation structured? Will you be paid commission, reimbursed for expenses? Which expenses?

Try job shadowing to get a more in-depth understanding of the role and what a typical day/week/month involves. This is a great way to determine whether you are well suited to the position and assess your own skill level before you get too far down the road.

Find a mentor who will guide you. Not your manager, but someone else who has your best interests at heart and will keep your conversations confidential.

If training is required, determine the best source: internal, on-the-job or external, and plan to invest in your own development. If your company has a training and development funding program, terrific, find out how to tap into this program – what is the approval process, will the company pay for the program at registration or will you be reimbursed upon successful completion? If your company does not have a funding program, plan to finance your own development.

Set your own goals and work towards them.

Track Your Own Performance

We often forget what we have learned or accomplished since our last performance review.

Keep a notebook and record your accomplishments, new learning and what you learned from mistakes. This information will be valuable as you assess your own readiness for advancement and identify skills to acquire or strengthen.

Be sure to include your training and development efforts, particularly those you have self- financed, as a demonstration of your determination to advance.

Your notes will also be helpful at performance review time as you articulate your own accomplishments and areas for improvement.

Ask for feedback. Feedback from your manager, your peers and other colleagues will tell you how others see you, your strengths and where you need to improve.

Act on the feedback.

Make Yourself Visible

There was general agreement among the participants that women need to make themselves more visible. Do not wait to be recognized for the good work you are doing, put yourself forward!

Decide how you want to “show up”. Be sure to dress for the job you want to have. Look the part even before you have the role.

Schedule regular update meetings with your manager – one-on-one sessions where you can review your progress and make sure that you are meeting expectations. Express your interest in advancement. Let your manager know about your aspirations and ask for both guidance and feedback.

Ask, where does your manager see opportunities for you, and what skills does your manager suggest you strengthen or develop?

Do something extra – above and beyond your job responsibilities. Volunteer for group(s) or teams within your organization (e.g., process improvement, community activities).

Advocate for cross-training, job shadowing, opportunities to reach outside your silo into other areas of the company. Volunteer to be the liaison between your department/division and others.

Network within your own company to meet and converse with people who will support, mentor, coach and sponsor you into the role you are seeking.

All participants left the discussion with fresh ideas and new energy to pursue their career visions and support others in achieving theirs as well!

Anne Miner, President and Founder of The Dunvegan Group is a professional facilitator as well a professional mentor and executive coach. She works with companies to help build competitor- resistant relationships with customers and employees. Please contact Anne Miner at anne.miner@dunvegangroup.com or toll-free at 888-281-3074.

 

 

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