One of the biggest challenges my clients face is clarifying the contributions they've made that add the most value to their future career progression. That's one reason that thinking in terms of CAR - Challenge, Action, and Results - can have a real impact on both on building a powerful IT resume and on developing and executing an effective career strategy.
CAR can help give the necessary context to focus in on what you've really accomplished - and that context is critical for crafting a strong IT resume, for targeting the right opportunities, and for delivering a knock out performance in the interview process.
It's easy to become so focused on what you’re doing that you can forget where you've been – and where you’re going.
Many of my clients focus too much on either the Challenge, the Action, or the Results. And that can provide a skewed picture of career that makes future decision making more difficult.
Some are very aware of the challenges that they've faced, others on the actions they've taken to address those challenges. Within IT, relatively few professionals are significantly focused on achievements - but even for those who are, achievements without context can exist in a vacuum that makes future career decision making more challenging.
That’s why thinking of each aspect helps ensure that you’ll have a clear picture of the Why and the How of what you’ve done in your career. As well as the most critical question of all. The So What?
How does this help me get a better sense of where I’m going in my career?Simple. Reflecting on your past achievements will help you begin to realize not only what you’re best at – but what gives you the greatest satisfaction.
You may find that you’ve spent a lot of your time putting out fires, for example. Since you’re great at that, that may be the role that you’ve evolved into naturally.
But that leads to another really critical question.
You’re really good at putting out fires, for example. But do you really enjoy it?
For some of my clients, the answer is a resounding “yes.” They love the excitement of bringing failing infrastructure back to a 99.9% uptime.
For others? The answer is a clear and absolute “no.” They may be great at putting out fires. But they hate it. They want to get out of firefighting, and into something with a more strategic aspect.
As in so many things in life, there’s no right or wrong answer. But if you can focus on the challenges you love solving, you’re more likely to find a next opportunity that is genuinely satisfying.If you ignore that, it’s very easy to spend a career doing something you’re good at – but that drives you nuts.And that’s a bad place to be.
We all spend the bulk of our waking hours working. And I believe it’s important to spent that time doing something that provides real satisfaction.