A career has typically two distinct phases: In the first phase you broaden your experience base. You will reach a turning point as soon as you have gained the necessary experience to reach your aspired career target. This is where the second phase starts and where you need to take a focused approach in view of your career ambition. In this video I outline two important aspects related to these two phase: communication and time management. Getting this right will help you optimize your career development.
In this article I would like to share some additional thoughts about the experience base. Those who follow my blog know that the experience base is an important aspect of your career strategy. A core component is to be clear on the experience that will be required to reach your career target and to acquire that experience systematically. This might include different functional experience, having worked in certain industry sectors, gaining people management experience and gaining international experience.
Those who follow this blog or my YouTube channel know that a brad and robust experience base are indeed a critical success factor for your career. The key idea is that the broader the base, the higher the career can go. This is comparable with the Egyptian pyramids: the broader the base, the higher they are.
two Career phases
This broadening of your experience base is what you will do in a first phase of your career. But then there is typically a turning point where you need to consider that you have a robust enough experience base and where you move to a focused approach in view of your career aspiration. This broadening and then focusing has a diamond shape and I would therefore like to call this the “diamond principle” of career management.
I would like to outline here two aspects more specifically: Communication and time management which are both critical.
In the first phase, where you broaden your experience, you need to send that as a clear message to the people you meet. You need to have a clear approach concerning the experience you want to acquire in view of your career aspiration.
During this first career phase, you should emphasize your appetite to broaden your base and not let yourself be directed to a more narrow career path that would be for example in a functional silo, because that does not correspond anymore to the requirements in today’s world and you should actively manage your communication accordingly.
But then there is this turning point. And here you need to have different message. You need to be able to convince you sparing partners – internal career counseling partners or people you meet in view of job opportunities – that you have now the required experience in view of what you aspire to and that you now wish to focus on that career aspiration. That is a very different communication. I believe it is important not to miss that turning point.
Here we come to the time aspects.
I believe that the turning point where you move from broadening your experience base to a more focused approach happens at approximately two-thirds of your career. You will need the necessary runway to reach your career target which may require another 2, 3 or even 4 steps.
This means that you need to take that more focused approach not too late because otherwise you can’t reach that ultimate target. So time management is a very important component of your career strategy.
This is what I want to emphasize in the diamond principle of career management: brooding the base is essential but then having a more focused approach in view of your career target is just as critical and you need to embed this in the communication with the key stakeholders so that they understand what you want to achieve in the specific phase of your career and you need to manage time accordingly.
I hope that helps and I wish you every success in your career development!
More information in my book:
Sven Sommerlatte : Successful Career Strategy – An HR Practitioner’s Guide to Reach Your Dream Job (Springer, June 2023). ISBN: 978-3-662-66790-3