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Making the most of your
current role

Being present in your current role and capitalising the resources available to you are critical facets of future proofing your career, both within and beyond academia.

You might feel unfulfilled, or simply ready for a change, or you might still be undecided on what your next step will be. However, focusing on the present and what skills and abilities you can acquire can positively influence your perception around your career trajectory and the choices you will make.

  • Professional development
  • Temporary assignments
  • New responsibilities

Take control of your own development

Training and development are key areas that all employers will focus on, to different degrees. Your current position will surely include the possibility of accessing development opportunities or training on specific skills or software.

Courses on project management, management, and leadership will provide you with new skills and valuable additions to your CV.

Depending on your area of expertise and what career pathway you might want to follow, learning how to work with different tools or software can increase your employability. For example, statistical tools such as NVivo, or programming languages such as Python, or digital tools suitable for digital humanities. 

LinkedIn learning is also a useful repository of short or longer courses. These are self-paced trainings on a wide variety of topics.

Take advantage of temporary assignments or secondments

In addition to career development, another way of acquiring new skills and get an insider's view of other roles, is taking up temporary opportunities within your company/employer.

Temporary assignments to cover for a long-term sickness, or secondments in other departments can be a brilliant way to upskill. 

If these are not available, or something you are not willing or able to do, you could ask to shadow a colleague for a brief period, such as some hours a week for a month. This can give you a flavour of what their day-to-day looks like and an insight into what you might enjoy or dislike of their role. 

Take initiative on new responsibilities

Finally, showing initiative in taking on new responsibilities will bring positive change within your current role. It will show your manager and employer that you want to do the best for the company and contribute actively to the team’s success.

In turn, it will also give you space and time to practice some leadership and learn new skills on the job.

For example, taking on the budgeting for a conference in your current role can give you the confidence you need to manage larger budgets down the line. Or line managing some of your more junior colleagues can provide you with the skills needed to manage a larger team.

Suggested tasks

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