Managing Your Own Career and Professional Development

Tuesday, October 04, 2016
Idea Board

Morgan Vazquez
Fordham University Class of 2013
Fellows Executive Board President

Managing one’s career is becoming increasingly more important in an environment where continuous employment and job security are no longer guaranteed. In a workplace where change and competition raises varying levels of uncertainty, it is not uncommon to wonder where you fit in or what your future holds. Today, more than ever, it is imperative to take control of your career and make decisions that will give you responsibility, fulfillment, accountability, reward and long-term employability. You must focus on your own career development in order to thrive and flourish in our ever-changing global society.

People oftentimes wonder how to focus on continuous growth and development when we are always so busy with our “day” jobs. I have actively taken charge of my career as a Vice President of Campus Strategy and Pipeline Development at BNY Mellon so I’d like to share a few tips and tricks that may be helpful for those hoping to excel in their careers. 

1. Ask for feedback

To continue growing and developing both personally and professionally, I solicit feedback from not only my manager, but also from my colleagues and individuals who work for me. I believe listening to feedback, whether positive or negative (constructive), and then taking action based on what I was told, gives me the chance to become a better leader. I want my colleagues to know that I am open to any and all feedback, and I also make sure to provide others with the same level of feedback to show my interest in their development as well.

2. Emulate the leadership qualities of leaders you admire

I look at individuals in leadership positions who I believe qualify as “good” or effective leaders, and then think about their key leadership characteristics and how I can emulate those qualities in myself. I have several mentors that I view as role models for leadership, so I think about what makes them a great role model/leader, and take notice of their actions in hopes of being able to take the same actions if I am dealt with a similar situation.

3. Invest in your own training and development

I make a proactive effort to grow professionally as a leader, and think it’s important to take the necessary time to invest in my own training and development. We can always improve our skills to become better communicators, better project managers, etc., so I set aside time to focus on myself and keep my skills fresh.

4. Reading is a great way to stay on top of you career development

Every day during my commute to work, I read something related to financial services that I believe can help broaden my understanding of the industry. Whether it’s a Harvard Business Review, a Wall Street Journal article or just an editorial, I believe that reading regularly helps improve the way I think about things both in and out of the office. Most of the time, a particular problem is not exclusive to your industry/company, so staying attuned with what’s out there will teach you best practices and encourage you to think outside the box. I also enjoy reading books focused on women in leadership, and just finished reading a book by Gail Evans titled She Wins, You Win: The Most Important Rule Every Businesswoman Needs to Know, which focuses on the idea that every time one woman succeeds in business, another woman’s chances of also succeeding increases. 

In a nutshell, taking charge of your own career and professional development is extremely important to your success. It’s easy to get so caught up in our work that we lose sight of our career trajectory, but hopefully these few tips have provided quick, simple ways to ensure you remain accountable for your own success.