Job Jigsaw Piecing Together Your Career

In today’s modern-day workforce, it is rare to find individuals who stay with one company for their entire career. In fact, most people will likely experience job changes every several years. This trend has resulted in the popular notion of a career as a collection of job roles and experiences that when pieced together creates a cohesive professional journey. This puzzle of a career holds the pieces of what individuals have learned, who they have worked with, and what skills they have gained. Job jigsawing is the key to creating a fulfilling career. When it comes to finding job roles to piece together, having a career plan in place is a good starting point. Planning out your career gives you a direction of where you want to go and what you want to achieve.

It helps you identify both short-term and long-term career goals, as well as the skills and experience required to achieve them. A career plan provides guidance on potential job roles and the order to obtain them. Furthermore, it sets a personal benchmark to gauge performance and career growth. The first piece of the puzzle is often the most significant – the entry-level job. It sets the tone of what is expected in terms of attitude, work ethic, and aptitude. Entry-level jobs typically do not require years of experience, but offer an opportunity to learn valuable skills, network, and grow. This initial piece sets the foundation for the rest of the puzzle. After gaining experience and reputation in the initial job role, it’s time to identify the next piece to take the next step. Professionals should take on roles that broaden their skillsets, and may lead to promotions, pay-raises, or new job opportunities.

It may seem stressful to constantly switch job roles, but it is the best way to gain and hone new skills, while also diversifying your experiences. Another piece to consider in this career journey is education, certifications, and training. Higher education degree programs, certificate programs, or licensing is a great way to blend experience with education and learn while you work. This additional knowledge will not only help you progress, but also make you more marketable. Networking is an essential puzzle piece that should not be overlooked. Connections and relationships are often viewed as important as qualifications and experience. Having friends, associates, and colleagues in the industry opens doors to new job opportunities, thought-leaders, and potential mentors or mentees. Networking also improves your chances of discovering fresh ideas and new trends in the industry. Lastly, taking on unique challenges and risks are puzzle pieces that may help advance skills and careers. Stepping outside your comfort zone and trying something new may lead to new discoveries, opportunities, and growth.