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"Hiring managers, and internal managers, need to see continued growth in specific skills rather than only the constant acquisition [of] new skills," writes Steven Tulman, VP of Strategy and Development at ICM, in a post on LinkedIn.
Speaking of one colleague who tended to help anyone who asked for it, with any project or assignment, regardless of its connection to his goals, Tulman says:
"Taking on too many different projects that require too many different skills kept him from really excelling in any specific set of skills. He ended up becoming a Jack-of-all-trades and master of none, and never really specialized in any particular area."
Does this mean that you shouldn't help out a co-worker who needs a hand? Absolutely not. It does mean, however, that you should keep your own end game in mind.
Here's how to do it:
1. Update your resume on a regular basis.
Even if you love your job, you'll never regret keeping your CV up-to-date. Worst-case scenario, it'll be there if something changes; best-case scenario, it will help you focus on a direction for your developing career.
2. Think about your dream job.
Browse LinkedIn. Listen to conversations at networking events. Pay attention to what you read, online and off-, and the experts you tend to trust and listen to the most. All these things can give you some indication of where your heart lies, careerwise. Don't dismiss a path out of hand, just because it might take some work to get there.
3. Identify gaps.
Once you know what you want to be when you grow up, figure out what you need to get to where you'd like to go. Then focus your efforts on developing mastery in those skills.
It's OK to make time to help others. Just make sure you keep your commitment to help yourself.
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