Have you ever wished for a proven, experience-based roadmap to career search success? Whether you’re new to the job market, looking to rise within your profession, or new to a particular job industry, the career search process can be intimidating, daunting, and overwhelming. We often attempt to bypass job search anxiety by diving deep into job boards, investing in expensive new interview outfits, or practicing elevator pitches in front of the mirror, but despite our best attempts to predict the outcomes of career search efforts, experience always proves to be the best teacher.
That’s why Zoetic Resume and Writing Services is pleased to provide you with first-hand experiences and insider knowledge from career professionals in a variety of job industries. Zoetic’s Insider Knowledge for Career Search Success blog series is designed to bring resources and career search success tips to the comfort of your own living room. Join in as we discover the key components and pivotal strategies for a variety of career search success stories, including internships and career changes. Together we’ll capitalize on the unique opportunity to hear from those who’ve achieved career search success and generously allow us to gain insight from their experiences.
Career Search Success: A Career Advancement Perspective
The final story in our career search success series belongs to Dustin, a mid-career professional with over 15 years of experience in his industry. Follow along as he walks us through the events and mindset that sparked his career advancement and the unique steps he needed to take to grow within his industry. We’ll learn how Dustin successfully tapped into his professional network, capitalized on career resources, and navigated his internal promotion while overcoming significant industry-specific barriers.
What is your current occupational specialty/line of work?
Law Enforcement/Public Safety
How many years have you been in your current career industry?
I’ve been in my current industry for a little over 15 years now.
At what level did you enter your current industry (entry-level, mid-level leadership role, executive level)?
I entered the industry as a police officer candidate with a law enforcement agency in the Greater Washington DC, metropolitan region. A police officer candidate is typically considered entry-level for any career in law enforcement.
What educational achievements or opportunities helped you obtain a job in your current career industry?
Undergoing undergraduate and postgraduate study, participating in training opportunities, speaking with industry professionals, and developing transferable skills are some ways I gained more practical experience and helped boost my opportunities and advancement in my current career.
What prompted you to seek advancement in your industry?
“If you’re not growing, you’re dying,” is a popular saying. Although it may seem a bit over the top, whoever first said it was on to something important. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut in life if we don’t make time for ongoing personal and professional development. I feel that stagnation occurs when there is nothing in our life that excites us enough to motivate us to take action. It should come as no surprise that we find ourselves stuck in a rut when we don’t make it a habit to set objectives for ourselves and instead choose to focus on the routine tasks of daily life. On the other side, despite the fact I had a lot of experience establishing goals for myself, there were still occasions when the goals I had established in the past seemed less appealing.
It’s nothing to worry about; it happens to all of us. When we are experiencing feelings unlike those we had when we initially set our objectives, we find that we lose touch with those objectives. Sometimes the things that are most important to us shift, and we decide that we no longer wish to work for those goals.
If this is the situation you find yourself in, it is time to reevaluate the objectives you have set for yourself. It is a waste of time to work on goals that no longer excite or motivate you. Throw away your outdated objectives or just set them aside for the time being, and then ask yourself what it is that you really desire. Then you should go after them.
What did the process of advancement look like for you? Did you need to complete any additional education, training, etc.?
I learned very early on that to advance in my career, I needed to find a person in my profession whom I admired and who was doing what I wanted to do at the highest level; ethically, responsibly, and with style. As a result, I went in search of that person, in addition to many others that I respected. But at the same time I was picking their brains about how they had advanced in their careers, I was continuing to differentiate myself by offering to do tasks that others didn’t want to do, attending additional training courses, and becoming a member of professional associations that were specific to my field of work.
What barriers did you encounter when attempting to advance within your industry?
Coming from a smaller agency in the Washington, DC Metro region, professional advancement opportunities are challenging and more limited than at larger agencies. The majority of those in middle management and command positions are not as eager to leave their current positions and have a tendency to remain in their current positions for a lot longer. This is because smaller agencies tend to be able to afford a more relaxed and family-oriented environment (something I enjoy because of the connection it gives me not just with the people with whom I work but also with the community). The problem, however, is that you are stuck in your position until someone decides to leave for a better opportunity or retires. Until either of those things happens, you won’t be able to move up.
Did you need to make any significant compromises when accepting a higher role/advancement position?
Since I’m being completely honest, I ended up compromising my general health and well-being after I accepted a higher role in my organization. My aspiration to have a successful career ultimately took precedence over my health and it was consequently put on the back burner. A big element of this is associated with the ever-complicated difficulty of locating a healthy balance between one’s work and personal commitments, as well as the dilemma of how to continue to be competitive while staying one step ahead of the curve. On the other hand, there is a great deal more to it for me. A year ago, when I was told that I had cancer, I experienced feelings of emptiness, depletion, depression, and loss of morale. I was completely spent. When I made the realization that sacrificing my health and well-being was a demonstration of my failure to prioritize myself as an important factor, it brought to light my inability to understand that I need to take care of myself – and yes, put myself first – before I can be of genuine service to anyone else, my organization, my family, or my employer.
I’ll say this: If your working habits are causing your body to shut down, become unhealthy, or break down due to stress, then you need to make significant changes as soon as possible.
Can you describe one or two of your professional goals? What motivated you to set these goals, and how have those goals changed since achieving career advancement?
My ability to communicate in a way that has both influence and impact is one of my professional ambitions. This is a goal that is both short and long-term. As I advanced in my career, it became even more vital for me to cultivate good communication skills so I could inspire and influence the behavior of others.
What are some of the best questions you’ve been asked while being interviewed, specifically regarding your career advancement?
I can think of two excellent questions right off the bat. The first question was, “What are your plans for professional development?” and the second question was, “In terms of furthering your career, what are you looking for?”
What top 3 tools did you use to advance within your industry? (i.e., resume, cover letter, LinkedIn, digital portfolio, etc.)?
You requested I mention three tools I used to advance within my industry, but in reality, I used four different tools. This entailed engaging in networking activities, participating in in-house training, compiling a skills inventory, and having an updated resume and cover letter written by a professional resume and cover letter writer.
How has networking (both in-person and digitally) affected your advancement success?
It has been demonstrated that the value of the proverb “no man is an island” is the reason many of us need to make an effort on behalf of ourselves to achieve success in our professional endeavors. For many people who have been successful in their careers, one of the primary reasons can be attributed to the powerful networking channels that they have developed throughout their careers.
In addition, the only way to truly know how much you know is to listen to what other people have to say. Your ability to accumulate a wealth of knowledge and ideas throughout your professional life is one of the most important factors in determining your level of professional achievement. When I was building networks, I found that doing so encouraged others to share their thoughts, which helped to maintain trustworthy long-term relationships. In addition, when I was on the receiving end of those ideas, it helped instill best practices in my place of work and outside of it.
What advice, tips, or tricks do you have for current job-seekers or those looking to advance within their industry?
Every new individual you talk to can open up new doors for you, whether in your career or personal life. Even in that job that’s just for the time being, it’s important to be a strong bridge-builder because you never know how those connections will fit into the bigger picture of your life.
Are you seeking career advancement within your industry, but struggling with the next steps? Zoetic Resume and Writing Service specializes in capturing your hard-earned achievements and experiences in eye-catching resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles. Take the painstaking process of writing the perfect advancement resume off your plate by partnering with a resume professional who understands your industry and customizes the approach to meet your unique goals. Connect with me here to learn more about Zoetic Resume and Writing Services’ resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile services.