Find Your Sweet Spot & Jump to the Front-of-the-Line in Your Career
Beta Rho, Duke
Are you feeling stuck in your career? Are you unsure how to get ahead? Do you feel like you’re not getting paid enough for your work?
Well, you’re not alone. I’ve been there, and I want to help. So many professional working women are undervalued, underpaid, and feel completely stuck in their careers. I’m here to tell you that there’s a way out. It’s never too late to change the trajectory of your job.
When I first started my tech career, I felt lost and nervous about my lack of experience. As I searched for positions in the marketplace, I was strategic in my search and looked for jobs that were in-demand and had low competition. I noticed that iOS software was just beginning to take off and that there were still relatively few people working in the field. I decided to jump in while the software was still super-new because I saw high demand for people who had skills in iOS development.
I got an entry-level position in the company and spent most of my days fixing bugs. I knew I wanted to move forward, so I used this position as leverage to build my skills, make connections, and actively search for ways to find visibility on my team. And guess what? I found myself quickly moving up and thriving, all because I had found where I could add value to my company. In other words, I had found my sweet spot with valuable, front-of-the-line skills.
Find Your Own Sweet Spot
In order to find your own sweet spot with front-of-the-line skills, you have to ask yourself a few critical questions. What skills does your company value? What areas have very few people and low competition? What is valuable in the marketplace yet also high in demand?
Answering these three key questions will set you apart from others and help you get ahead. Picking the skill that sits in the sweet spot of supply, demand, and value is how you jump to the front of the line in your career.
- Supply: What does your company need? What are people looking for in the marketplace? What can you supply?
- Demand: What is currently in high demand in the marketplace? What area still has very few people in it?
- Value: What skills does your company value? How can you set yourself apart?
Jump to the Front of the Line
Be strategic with everything that you do. When you discover the most in-demand and valuable skills, you jump to the front of the line in your career. Keep in mind that this will look different for everyone.
As you work to figure out what jumping to the front of the line means for you and your career, start doing your research! Consider talking to hiring managers and recruiters in your network about what they’re looking for. Start having conversations within your company about what the company values. Research industry reports to stay up to date with what’s happening and in-demand in your marketplace.
Continue to Learn New Skills
My commitment to constantly learning new skill sets and building my portfolio was vital in my going from having zero prospects to becoming a top, highly-valued engineer.
After working in iOS for a while, I realized that my career could only go so far in the field. The supply was outgrowing the demand. It was time to learn some new skills again. I went back to basics and once again looked for my sweet spot - but this time in cybersecurity. And it worked! After some time, I ended up in an even higher position in a field I truly loved.
To continue to succeed in your given field, it’s essential to stay up to date with what’s going on. This means that as technology continues to advance, you’re going to have to learn new skills. I’m very deliberate about the new skills I pick to learn. I want to make sure that I’m investing my time learning skills that are both valuable within my company and valuable within the marketplace. This is something that I continue to prioritize to this day.
Keep Up the Momentum
Finding your sweet spot in front-of-the-line skills takes hard work, but I promise it’s worth it! When I’m feeling burned out, I always make sure to check in with my peers at ThetaConnect for a quick pick-me-up. Talking to other hard-working professional women is inspiring. It’s a bonus that we have a shared history, and it’s incredible to find how many things we still have in common today. I’ve found that when I share my insights on ThetaConnect, I’m always met with even more ideas on how to keep moving forward in my career. We do best when we lift each other up.
Remember that it’s going to take time to find your sweet spot. That’s okay! Once you do find it, you’re going to be amazed at how things start to fall together. I talk more about jumping to the front of the line (and how to stay there) in my best-selling book, The DevelopHer Playbook.
The most successful people are constantly reinventing themselves and staying up to date with all the latest trends in their field. Just because you find your sweet spot now doesn’t mean you won’t have to find it again in the future. Be intentional with the skills you decide to learn. Choosing the right skills is what is going to make you stand out and excel in your own career.