Ask the Career Expert: Career Strategy 101

Congratulations – you’ve just landed your dream job!  It should be smooth sailing from here on out, right?

Of course, most of us know from experience that this isn’t usually the case.  Even the most happily employed person will encounter challenging work situations from time to time (a negative review, for example).  And if you want to grow in your chosen career, it requires a proactive approach.  The truth is, “career strategy” doesn’t end once you get the gig.  In some ways, it’s just getting started.

For many SoFi borrowers, career strategy is particularly important because career success represents a return on their educational investment.  That’s why we’re excited to welcome Robert Park to the SoFi team as our new Head of Career Strategy and Professional Development.  Robert’s extensive background in both headhunting and career development has more than prepared him to help our borrowers find great jobs and have successful careers.

Since Robert’s role is a unique one, we asked him to fill us in on what he’ll be doing for our borrowers, as well as share some career strategy tips he’s learned along the way.

What kind of service will you be providing to SoFi borrowers?
Robert Park (RP): It’s essentially a cross between headhunting and career development, which is unique because typically those roles are very different.  Headhunters place candidates on actual job opportunities, but they don’t work with candidates to improve their career planning skills.  Career coaches instruct candidates on how to find a job and work closely with them to improve performance on the job, but they don’t place candidates on opportunities.  My background is in both areas, so I’ll be able to help our borrowers with the whole spectrum of career strategy issues.

What exactly is “career strategy”?
RP: Having a successful career is about more than just finding a job – in fact, that’s often the point when the real legwork begins.  Many of our borrowers have to deal with things like positioning themselves for a promotion or having difficult conversations at work.  I’m here to help them with those things.

What’s your #1 piece of career advice?
RP: That’s a tough one, because career advice is really specific to the individual.  But one thing I always tell job seekers is that finding a job is an art, not a science.  I would never trust the advice of someone who says there’s only one way to do something.  Also, not many people know this, but the best months to apply for a position are typically April through June, October and November – any other month will likely leave you frustrated and discouraged.  Keep motivated and use that time to do informational interviews and continue to build out your network.

What mistake do you repeatedly see people make in their careers?
RP: Patience – or lack thereof, I should say.  I see a lot of smart people thinking about the next step before they’ve done the job they were hired to do.   You’re better served by killing it in your current position, then asking for the promotion at the right moment.  I help people figure out when that moment is.

Over the coming weeks, Robert will be sharing more career strategy tips here on the SoFi blog.  Ask your question in the comments section below, and we’ll try to answer it here!

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One thought on “Ask the Career Expert: Career Strategy 101

  1. Maureen Cadigan says:

    Great concepts for career advice!

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