How do I know if my stock is going up?
Posted on 01 July 2016
As contractors, we continually traverse from one contracting assignment to another. Given the short timeframe of many contracting jobs, we rarely pause to take stock of our existing skills to assess which ones are our strongest and which ones we need to develop.
We recently looked at how continuous self assessment is a crucial driver for effective career progression for permanent employees through each stage of the Cycle of Employment. However, it is just as pertinent for contractors to proactively manage their careers, especially due to the short-term nature of each assignment and the frequency we change jobs.
For many contractors, there is often a short space of time between starting and finishing an assignment, typically less than a year, and in some cases, only a handful of months. In addition, we as contractors often feel under higher pressure to hit the ground running and deliver from day one. Therefore, contractors will typically move through each stage of the Cycle of Employment (see below) in a much more time-compressed manner than full time employees, and as a result, miss the opportunity to review their skills and effectively take stock of their strengths and weaknesses.
Potentia's Cycle of Employment
We believe continuous self-assessment will help you to take the next step in your career so we have put together some top tips to assist you below:
Three steps to a successful stocktake of your skills:
- Review your skills and abilities on an on-going basis: A frank and honest self-assessment of your existing skills, capabilities and knowledge is vital to identify areas of strength and weakness and future growth opportunities.
- Proactively seek feedback from hiring managers: Most hiring managers are more than willing to provide feedback when requested and suggest areas of possible development. People traditionally wait until their contract ends to ask for feedback, but it often beneficial to ask sooner. Contracting work tends wo bring with so that you don’t miss out on a potential developmental opportunity while in the role.
- Identify what you should start/stop/continue doing: Use the insights gathered in steps 1 and 2 in conjunction with the quick and easy Stop-Start-Continue self-assessment tool to determine what you should stop doing, what you should start doing and what you should continue doing.
On-going self-assessment will also positively impact your future job searches, enabling you to actively search for and pursue contracting assignments that provide a level of stretch to further develop certain skills and increase your knowledge.
Once you have established and proven yourself in a trusted manner in a new contracting role, it is a great opportunity to share and discuss your career aspirations and objectives with your hiring manager. Not only will the hiring manager become aware of your plan, they will also have a line of sight of where you want to progress to next. This may assist you in getting a contract extension or, better still, your next contracting assignment.