Maximize Your Career Resiliency: Develop a Career Plan Strategy & Elevate Your Soft Skills
In light of recently publishing the BCM Career + Professional Development Report, I thought it might be worthwhile to highlight interesting data findings from this report as well as focus on career growth strategies to ensure BCM career resiliency. First, thank you to everyone who participated in the survey, our advisory board and everyone from the BC Management / Castellan Solutions team for their efforts in developing this valuable report. Also, a special thank you to Continuity Insights and Disaster Recovery Journal for partnering with BC Management on this very important research endeavor. For those who have not participated, you may still request a complimentary report as well as contribute to the study to obtain a BCM Peer Career Dashboard (customized by job title or years of experience). Let’s jump right into the data findings!
This report, the first of its kind, highlighted some very intriguing data findings. One is that 38% of professionals with less than 15 years total work experience indicated that they chose Business Continuity as a career path in college or shortly after college. Additionally, 89% of these professionals have over 6 years Business Continuity planning expertise. This data point is contrary to the more experienced individuals of which 39% of professionals with over 16 years total work experience entered the Business Continuity profession because it was an additional responsibility that gradually became a primary focus. And, although more professionals are choosing Business Continuity as a career, we still struggle as a profession in embracing career growth planning, mentorship, and professional development. The data indicated that 35% of the professionals view their role as a career in which they’d like to do more, but they struggle in professional growth. At the same time, networking and mentorship opportunities are not utilized as much as they could be with 41% of the professionals being active members or leaders in a Business Continuity association or user group. Additionally, only 14% are a mentee and 24% are currently a mentor.
Pro Tips on Career Planning:
Be conscious of your brand – what makes you unique?
Tap into your network and engage within the profession?
Step out of your comfort zone – present, publish, and serve on an industry related board/user group.
Seek out a mentor to elevate your career strategy or give back to the profession by becoming a mentor.
Ensure your professional life blends well with your personal life to achieve career happiness.
Be diligent about your S-W-O-T Career Assessment (Strengths – Weaknesses – Opportunities – Threats)
Schedule 6-month or annual career reminder reviews? What are your career goals and are you still working towards those goals?
Practitioner Hard & Soft Skills Self-Rating:
Our BCM Career & Professional Development study assessed not only hard skills (general and BCM domain specific), but also the soft skills that practitioners felt they were most effective in. The respondents attributed the highest self-rating scores to communication, customer engagement, and analytical skills (for general hard skills) and BCM plan updates/maintenance and exercising/testing (for BCM domain specific skills). When assessing soft skills, passion for the role and team/player rated high while change agent and emotional intelligence were given the lowest self-rating. When reviewing the data findings by job title, we discovered that entry-level/planners believed their greatest soft skill was passion for the role (motivation and intellectual curiosity), while program managers ranked being a team player/client focused (flexible, developing trusted partnerships, and accountable) highest and VP/ CXOs were focused on accountability (team player) and results oriented (business management).
Hard & Soft Skills in Demand by Hiring Managers:
While it’s important to understand self-assessments, our study also focused on what skills hiring managers credit leading to the most successful hire – and the results were compelling. For entry-level roles, hiring managers indicated that program management (documentation storage, tool knowledge, and plan updates/maintenance) hard skills were of the most important while also demonstrating passion for the role (intellectual curiosity) and business management (being organized) for the soft skills. At the mid-level, hiring managers desired individuals who can assist in elevating and assessing the program, promoting BCM awareness, and program governance in addition to risk assessments and gap analysis for the hard skills. Exhibiting a wide range of soft skills (change agent, situational awareness, team player, passion for the role, and emotional intelligence) was also in demand at the mid-level. Hiring managers believed at the senior-level; however, that professionals who excelled at program design strategy and advanced program management skills (executive program engagement and horizon scanning) for hard skills coupled with situational awareness (deep understanding of the business & culture, big picture thinker, and calm under pressure) and emotional intelligence (influence/persuasion) for soft skills would be most successful in the role.
Disconnect: Soft Skills Practitioners Exhibit Versus the Soft Skills in Demand:
When cross referencing the soft skills in demand by hiring managers to those skills receiving the highest self-rating by practitioners, we discovered a clear disconnect between the two. As a profession we are challenged in developing certain soft skills that organizations want their Business Continuity leaders to exhibit (emotional intelligence, change agent, and situational awareness). And, although many of these traits do come naturally, there is always room for improvement and practice over time. Soft skills make up your unique brand and, when combined with your knowledge and training, will elevate your marketability at any point of your career.
Pro Tips on Developing Your Soft Skills:
Communication: taking a communications class is well worth the time & money and it’s one of the most crucial competencies in any position.
Presentation: find and join a Toastmasters International club near you to elevate your presentation skills.
Time Management, Organization, and Detail Oriented: block your schedule the day before to ensure your critical tasks are addressed as well as prioritize your daily work initiatives.
Passion for the Role, Emotional Intelligence, Change Agent, and Situational Awareness: assess what attributes you admire from a manager or co-worker and become more conscious on how your actions are viewed within your team and across the organization.
Think of your soft skills as your secret sauce – it’s your uniqueness. And, although who you are as a person will not qualify you on its own for a role. Coupled with work expertise (and highlighted well during the interview process) will definitely elevate your marketability at any level! And as always, we are here to help you in meeting your career aspirations in any way that we can. Sign up for our BCM Career Alert notifications at https://www.bcmanagement.com/business-continuity-jobs to ensure you receive timely new career notifications matching your search preferences. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you might have. Arrange a complimentary discussion today at firstname.lastname@example.org.