Career Crossroads: How to Navigate Your Next Professional Move

Career crossroads

Have you reached an inflection point in your career? Not sure how to get to the next step – or even what the next step will be? Consider the advice of a 20-year staffing veteran.

You can reach career crossroads for a variety of reasons. They can be a result of organizational change (your company reorganized or was acquired), professional change (you gained valuable new skills or earned a promotion), or personal situation (you relocated or have to attend to family needs), just to name a few.

I recently spoke at the HOW Design Live Conference on this topic as it’s close to my heart. I have encountered several significant career crossroads that changed my professional path. Perhaps you can relate.

Finding my passion: Early in my career, I was very unsure of what I wanted to do. I had varied academic and professional experiences, none of which seemed to drive tremendous passion for my work. It was at this time that I “fell into” recruiting with Robert Half, TCG’s parent company. When I learned that the organization was looking for an experienced sales professional with my background, I was in. It seemed like a risk but also a perfect opportunity to apply my knowledge and skills to a role with greater customer interaction. Little did I know that it would be the start of a 20-plus year career with the firm.

Accepting a promotion: After demonstrating success in a variety of positions at Robert Half, I was presented with an offer to lead and expand one of the company’s newer business lines. While this was no doubt a great opportunity, it required relocation and significant travel. I was recently married and pregnant with my first child as well. I ended up accepting the job, and while my family and I made personal sacrifices, we also gained new experiences along the way.

Adjusting to changes in personal circumstances: Over the course of the next decade, I made three significant career decisions based on changing dynamics at home. As we were growing our young family, extensive travel became difficult. So I wrote my own job description and pitched the idea of heading up the company’s new Technology and Digital Strategy division, a role that required less time on the road. Then, as my children matured, I pursued internal opportunities that allowed me to grow professionally and attend to my family’s changing needs.

Recognizing an opportunity: About two years ago, The Creative Group was uniquely positioned to serve our customers in a time of profound change in the creative industry. I raised my hand to lead the division with a passion and excitement to grasp the opportunities ahead.

If you’re at a career crossroads, I recommend you first think about what is driving the motivation to make a change; then take stock of your skills and seek opportunities that match your experiences and interests. Do you possess expertise in the areas employers are hiring for? Research the positions that are in demand and define how you can meet the needs of the business – a process that is crucial for staying relevant and finding long-term professional success.

To help, here’s an overview of the hiring environment for creative professionals, which I shared in my session, as well as some exercises to help you map out your next career move.