If I had a dollar for every time a woman asks me what job they should ‘do next’, I’d likely be sunning myself on the French Riviera. 

It’s true! That question is easily the one I’m asked most often by the women I coach and mentor. 

It’s almost as if they ask the question believing their next role will be the ultimate goal or final destination.

And because of this, I don’t think too many of them like the answer that I give them. 

The thing is, my answer is always the same. You don’t want a job. You need a career. 

As a result, the job you should do next, should be the one that uses your existing skills AND fills a gap in your resume. A job that helps you take another step in building a career AND has elements that you really enjoy.

It really does pay to think about the skills you’ll need to build a long, sustainable and successful career. 

Haven’t managed people? Do that next. Need experience running a profit and loss business? Then seek out a role that enables this. Because wide skill sets – and strong resumes – give you options in a time when women’s careers are becoming longer.

But when you are learning new things, it often feels hard. Which is why you also need to ensure the roles you take require you do things that make you feel good. Otherwise, there’s a chance that you will lose confidence and end up feeling burned out or regressing in your career.

Women need to get strategic about their careers and start thinking about roles more intentionally. But I also know that for many of us, that intentionality is sometimes easier said than done. So today I’m sharing my top tip for working out what job you should do next.

My top tip for working out what job you should do next – do your homework

Now I know homework doesn’t sound like any fun but it is the sort of intentionality that will help you understand your next best step. And, trust me, this is far easier than any history project you ever had to do in high school. I’ve even broken it down into easy-to-follow steps for you.

  1. Research the skills and attributes required to be successful in the top jobs in your industry.
  2. Then, check out what’s needed in adjacent industries, or even roles you consider might be pipe dreams. 
  3. List out the skills that are highly transferrable. 
  4. Take that list and consider the spaces where you do have skills or experience. 
  5. Then cross match the list against places where you might be low in experience.
  6. Your next job should be one that capitalises on your existing experiences AND gives you the opportunity to build out a skill or two that you don’t already have.
  7. Start looking specifically for roles match your list – both inside and outside of your current organisation.

One final thought

Please, please, please resist the temptation to look at your list and decide you need to go back to school. It’s a mistake I see women make all of the time. Unless you are making a career switch into medicine or law or a career that requires specific training, it’s worthwhile remembering that many skills can be learned on the job. Thinking they need more education is often a convenient excuse that keeps women playing small in their careers.

Have you ever struggled to work out what job you should do next? I’d love for you to share your experience in the comments section below. And if you have any questions about the steps listed above, feel free to reach out to me – either in the comments or directly via email.

Warmest, Janelle.

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