Portfolio Careers: That’s the Future

Sections of this topic

    portfolio careersThe trouble with the future is that it usually arrives before we’re ready for it.

    Careers are evolving. What used to be success yesterday – joining a company or field, staying with it for most of your life and working your way up the ranks – will no longer be success for tomorrow. What will be success in the future is building a portfolio of meaningful, marketable experiences that you will sell to a variety of buyers. What a change!

    This also means that successful careers are less about moving up the corporate ladder to moving around within your company; moving outside to other opportunities; and moving to become a free agent – working for a variety of employers.

    Building a Portfolio Career

    1. Re-frame your view of career success.
    It’s moving from one of a series of upward positions to one of building a portfolio of experiences that will make you marketable to an increasing number of buyers who may be companies, consulting firms, contractors, consortium of professionals.

    2. Review your career up to this point.
    It doesn’t matter whether you have a couple of years under your best or whether you’ve been in the workforce for 10, twenty or even longer! You must consider the following questions.

    • What do you do now and how did you get here?
    • Are you doing the job in the field you imagined when graduating from college?
    • Is it the same job and/or in the same field you were in five years ago? 10 years ago?
    • How many different organizations have you worked for full time or on contract?
    • How many jobs have you had since you entered the workforce permanently?
    • What additional education (degree and professional) since leaving school?
    • Do you think this is your final stop? If not, what will it be?
    • What have you learned about your career?

    3. Realize you must continually enhance your portfolio.
    At the end of each year, whether you are looking for a new job or not, take the time to write or update your resume and compare it with last year’s. See if it has gotten noticeably better. See if it shows growth in a variety of skills, or growth in satisfied customers, or completed projects. If not, what do you need to do.

    Career Success Tip:

    The biggest mistake you can make is to believe you are working for somebody else. Job security is gone. The driving force of a successful career comes from YOU: your experiences, your skills, your network, your responsiveness to change. Remember: jobs are owned by the company, you own your career!

    Do you want to develop Career Smarts?