How to design your career in five steps - and plan for success

Young professionals working in office
By Lesley Stewart, CA Today

17 May 2018

Millennial leaders are changing our perspectives of leadership. We ask our resident careers expert how young professionals can accelerate their career success.

By 2030, millennials will make up approximately 75% of the global workforce, and results of the Deloitte millennial survey reveal that this generation is motivated by making a positive impact on business culture.

For this digi-savvy and energised generation, focussing on their own personal mission to incite corporate change has become top priority.

In the second part of our Quiver Inspiring Careers Series, careers expert Jan Bowen-Nielsen discusses the principles of success for millennial leaders, and how they can accelerate their leadership trajectory.

1. Aim to make a big impact, quickly

“Make sure you can do your current role well, but focus also on learning the skills and building a track record of demonstrating that you are right for the next role,” says Jan. "You need to prove yourself, create your own opportunities and be ready when opportunities appear."

2. Feed your mind, feed your ambitions

“Learning is not over when you gain your qualification. Look for opportunities to gain valuable experience,” explains Jan. “Put yourself forward for projects, push yourself out of your comfort zone, and take some risks."

Look for people who have achieved what you aim for and learn from them.

If your next step-up is junior associate, explore where your skills need to professionally develop. Jan asks: “what makes a good junior associate? How do I build the skills and experience to become one? How will I demonstrate that I’m capable?

“It is a lifelong learning journey and the experiences you gain will give you new perspectives and make you a more interesting person.”

3. Build meaningful relationships

Recognise that your technical abilities will only take you so far. Jan notes: “Building relationships is critical in business. This may not be your comfort zone, but you will find that if you have career ambitions, then your interpersonal skills, your ability to build relationships with colleagues and clients will be just as, if not more, important than your technical abilities.”

4. Find a career mentor

“Look for people who have achieved what you aim for and learn from them. Don’t expect them to solve your problems and short-cut the route to your long-term goals,” explains Jan. “Use the mentor to challenge and inspire you, to help you find your own solutions. A good mentor can give you new perspectives on what it will take to be successful and where you need to focus your efforts.

“The ICAS career mentoring programme is a great example of where to find global expertise.”

5. Believe in the Laws of Attraction

“In our coaching work with partners and business leaders, I find it amazing how the stars often align, once an individual or organisation have clarity around their goals. With a clear end-in-mind, I believe that we open up our senses to notice things that will help us get there,” says Jan.

“Our thoughts will lead to action and we set a chain of event in motion that will get us closer to our goal. I believe that is a big part of the power of good career coaching and mentoring.”

Your career, well planned

Have you considered career coaching? A career coach help you feel empowered when goal setting, and encourage you to be proactive. A coach is a great partner for helping you develop your individual plans, designed to fit your unique interests, strengths and circumstances.

Jan Bowen-Nielsen is founder and director of Quiver Management, a team of qualified and highly experienced coaches and leadership development specialists.  Learn more how Jan can help you clarify your goals, explore options and make decisions, so you can start to ‘shape your world’ and focus your efforts.

This blog is one of a series of articles from our commercial partners.
The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of ICAS.


  • Leadership and management

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