Do you need a new career direction? Entrepreneurship and freelancing are not the only options. Check out which of these 5 career developments could work for you.
Subject Matter Expert (SME)
In some organizations, the career path plan may include a “Subject Matter Expert” formal recognition. That is an accomplished professional, an expert in the field. It takes years to build experience and expertise to be appointed or acknowledged as SME.
Years ago I was struggling to envision my career path. I kept talking about an SME type of role/status before I knew something like that even existed. Luckily, it came up in an annual evaluation discussion when a line manager mentioned it.
While most professionals are happy to take the route of climbing the hierarchy ladder up to a leadership position, some of us have an appetite for…something else.
SME is a rewarding position/status for so many reasons. You truly make a difference by contributing with expertise that few people in the organization have. Besides, an SME is someone who has a solid professional reputation and credibility. And, most of all, one can spend time and efforts on the job itself rather than dealing with administrative and operational tasks.
You need a plan, patience and a lot of dedication. Stay in touch with your profession’s latest developments, get any certification out there and connect with peers. Most importantly, make a name for yourself. Find the right platform and put yourself out there: write about what you know, about what you do and share it with the world.
This next career move is the first option for young professionals who have proved themselves to be ready to take it to the next level. The chances are that you will not be considered for the role solely based on your professional results. People skills and soft skills weight in quite a lot. Try to asses how you communicate with everyone else: make sure team members support you and respect you professionally.
Credibility is crucial when you need to have everyone on board with the direction you set and the decisions you make. Also, work on your communication, presenting, reporting & data visualization skills. As head of a team, you will be responsible for showing progress and results to superiors.
I can’t stress enough the importance of presenting skills. When claiming the time and availability of very busy people, one must be concise, relevant and convincing.
It appears to be easy, but it’s not. Practice a lot: up to the point where you can summarize a quarter’s results in a two- slides deck, if necessary.
If you are serious about being a manager, consider attending training and courses for those skills you need to acquire. It’s a good investment.
You love the job. You know it inside-out. You want to teach others. There is a constant need for training in all companies.
Are you the generous professional sharing knowledge successfully and enjoying it all the way? You may have all it takes to be a trainer! It’s is a very sought-after profession nowadays.
To test your abilities, set up tutoring sessions for colleagues interested in your expertise and get their honest feedback afterward.
Teaching to adults is different and requires education. A “train the trainers” course enables you to be a trainer yourself. Shop carefully and select a proper training that offers a certification officially recognized by the professional body.
Your company may not have a training position on the organizational chart – take that as an opportunity. Get certified, recruit colleagues showing interest, design a training program and “sell” it to the management. They’ll see the benefits, and you need to practice. It’s a win-win situation.
Of course, you can always train outside the company – offline or online. Once you feel confident, you can go on your own.
What About Relocation?
Now, that’s a significant change. There’s a lot you must accommodate – new home, new culture, new colleagues. Very suitable for all those who need a reset. Large corporations were the only ones to offer this kind of opportunities, but that is not the case any longer. More and more small to medium enterprises open offices abroad and relocate people.
A lot of relocated professionals generated the opportunity themselves. If you feel strongly about this, start your project right away. Investigate positions you are suitable for in locations you target, build your case and put yourself forward. This strategy may work better than waiting for the management to pop the question.
Of course, you’ll be doing your homework before making the final decision. If you relocate to the same company, they’ll provide a lot of support. Stay focused and pay attention to the relocation offer. That is a package meant to help you transition smoothly. Make sure it contains the agreed terms on buffer bonus (to cover rent for a couple of months), support with residence papers, labor pass, medical insurance, spouse/partner support, and other benefits and arrangements.
The perspective of evolving a current coordination position into a project management role makes sense to more and more professionals. Managers act like project managers one way or another. Still, there is a difference: the project manager has a definite goal, and people working under their guidance are not his subordinates. More than often, projects are complex and interdisciplinary.
If you want to become a project manager you need to take a few essential steps. Get certified – this is your must-have pass into the profession. Don’t rush into selecting a course, look into all PM methodologies and chose the one that is the most suitable for the type of business your work.
Second, it is worth acquiring a satisfactory level of knowledge on the different kind of expertise that will be required by a particular project. You need to be able to have a conversation with everyone in the project and, equally important, you must understand what is possible to be able to make the best decisions. I’ll give you an example: when I was attracted to the idea of becoming a digital project manager, I started training on SEO, content marketing, web management, and email marketing.
Soft skills? Must-have.