Finding the right career approach | Main Region | UB

The new career path

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Gone are the days of working for one organisation for a majority of your career and slowly climbing the ladder to management level before retiring with a gold watch at 65. Today’s focus on the skills that you bring to the table, rather than the job positions or degrees you’ve gained, means that modern career paths can take many different shapes.
Many hiring managers are now more interested in the skills that you can bring to a position rather than what roles you’ve previously performed. In fact, recent research by LinkedIn found that 75 per cent of recruiting professionals believe that skills-based hiring will be a priority for their organisation in the next 18 months1. And how you can now gain these skills looks very different to before.

The different shapes of the modern career journey

Career ladder

The conventional ladder is career progression in a sequential series of steps up the ranks – gaining seniority, and higher pay, in a linear, vertical path. While the career ladder offers a clear understanding of the steps you need to take to advance your career, it’s a rigid approach that doesn’t offer as many opportunities to expand your skill set outside of your area of expertise.

Career lattice

A career lattice is when you further your career by moves laterally, and at times even backwards, as well as vertically through an organisation. Perhaps you join a different team but at the same seniority level you were at, or even take a step down to learn new skills and capabilities in a different function or industry.
The career lattice offers the opportunity to develop a wider range of skills and capabilities while on the job. Rather than just specialising in a single function, the lattice encourages movement throughout an organisation – exposing you to different teams and roles, and opportunities to learn.
A career lattice allows you to develop a wider range of skills, rather than just specialising in a single discipline. It allows you to continually learn and develop capabilities that will increase your career resilience in the face of certain change. This approach also often leads to an expanded professional network offering you the opportunity to connect with colleagues across many different functions and even industries.

Portfolio career

A portfolio career involves monetising your skills through multiple related, or unrelated, income streams, which can include side hustles, part-time jobs or freelance work. Taking a career portfolio approach allows you balance full-time employment with other income sources, for example a banker could also be trading antiques, a data analyst could be studying to become a horticulturist part time, or a graphic designer could also be designing logos for multiple smaller businesses in their personal time. The portfolio career approach offers flexibility and alternate income streams. This approach also allows you to develop a diversity of skills that can make you more agile in today’s job market, where change is a constant and employers look for transferable technical and interpersonal skills that you can bring.

Dual career path

A dual career path gives consideration to the fact that not everyone wants to manage other people. Rather than following the standard progression towards middle management and up, the dual career path offers people who want to focus on developing technical expertise an alternative direction. If you’re in a technical role, you most likely possess specialised skills and expertise that are critical to your organisation's success, such as software development or writing. The dual career path acknowledges and rewards these technical skills, and their continued development, providing a framework for advancement, without transitioning into managerial roles by default.

The new approach to your resume

This reshaping of our career paths also needs to be properly reflected in our resumes. Don’t think of your resume as a list of all the positions that you’ve ever held, rather consider combining the chronological steps that you’ve taken in your career to date, with the technical and interpersonal skills that you’ve gained along the way. Write a skills section that details the skills that you’ve acquired – this might include the software programs you’ve familiar with as well as the capabilities you have when it comes to stakeholder management (for example). It’s still important to share the roles that you’ve previously held, but rather than just listing your daily tasks, focus on communicating the quantifiable achievements you made in each role – perhaps you increased sales by 23 per cent through a new program that you designed and implemented.

The new rules

Work has fundamentally changed, and how we approach work and our career progression also needs a rethink. The skills we need for work, now and in the future, are evolving all the time and therefore our approaches to how we remain relevant for the length of our careers also needs to evolve. These new approaches to career advancement allow you to progressively build on your skill set while creating connections to expand your professional network. These approaches allow you to build your skills beyond just job titles or even industries – giving you the opportunity to design and pursue a career path that’s fulfilling to you.
The modern career path is about remaining adaptable, continuously learning, jumping on opportunities as they appear and developing a wider range of skills that will play to your advantage as employers become increasingly focussed on skills-based hiring. 

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