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How to Make the Most of a Career Development DetourEveryone keeps saying that college students today are preparing for types of jobs that don’t even exist yet. We live in a time of rapid economic and technological change, and even those of us who have been in the workforce a bit longer are affected by the paradigm shift. Adam Richardson puts it well in a recent Harvard Business Review article:

“It’s not news to anyone who’s looked for a job recently that the days of a monolithic career spent at one company or in one well-defined field are over. Many of us have had to — willingly or out of necessity — rethink our career paths.”

Indeed, it seems like the only certainty in today’s world is the certainty of change. So how can you use this knowledge to your career development advantage?

1. Reframe Your Experiences

If you are changing your career development direction, then you will want to think creatively about how to reapply your skills, talents, and experiences in a new field. According to Richardson, “Successful disruption depends on being clear about one’s strengths, but sometimes your real strengths can get buried once you start to follow a conventionally established career path.” In other words, sometimes changing gears can help you rethink your resume and your priorities in such a way that you create an even better job fit than before. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to reshape your career and find increased employee satisfaction.

2. Stay Flexible

One of the best lessons from unexpected career development detours or big life changes more generally is to expect the unexpected and to remain flexible. Being able to creatively roll with the punches and come out on top is an important skill in today’s economy. Basically, “Continuous disruption is the reality of business, and likewise, the process of self-disruption is never-ending. The reasons are the same — the world is dynamic and unpredictable, so we must adapt. The trick is to treat the unexpected as an opportunity for growth.”

3. Stay Positive

Many career development detours are unexpected and sometimes even unwanted. But one of the best ways to come out on top with a more clear perspective, increased employee satisfaction, and a better job fit is to maintain a positive attitude and try to see the ways in which any given circumstance can help you to grow and change.

Rethinking Your Career Development

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