The toolkit approach to career development is a holistic, proactive, and ownership-based approach to career development. Whereas other books cover the mechanics of preparing your résumé, writing a cover letter, and even interviewing, this book provides the information to help you plan and create a rewarding career over the long term.
This book does not neglect those important topics, but it expands to include them in an overall assessment and plan of action. Armed with this information, you can begin to plan and implement concrete steps into a complete career development plan.
The approach is planned but agile. Because your desires and interests might change during your career, it is important that you are flexible in overall objectives. However, planning and developing key tools and attitudes are necessary for any career. Also, conceptual knowledge should be, wherever feasible, transferred into any new career direction.
The toolkit approach positions you as the primary commodity of your career. This means that you need to create a strong sense of the value you provide and your worth to an organization.
For the career technologist, I go even further. You must view and position yourself as a service company. Your employer is in a very real sense your client. You need to think in terms of personal marketing, service level, and client retention.
This is part of the ownership mindset I want to give your career. You should study and understand your career, just as you would a business. You need to understand the various and changing factors that can and will impact your career in both positive and negative ways.
Most of all, you must be able to make changes when necessary. If elements of your career plan are not working, you need to work to understand why and then take corrective action. It is not enough to say that it is the economy or some other exterior factor. Your career must belong to you.
As with any business, negative events will occur. Your overall career plan should include an understanding that such events will happen. Layoffs transpire, companies are sold, and companies go out of business. Your response to these events cannot be shocked resentment. You have been forewarned. Prepare for these events with the tools presented in this book. It will make them far less traumatic when they do occur.
Most of all, have fun! You will hear this theme throughout the book. Every year, people advance along the path to career stardom. Endeavor to be one of them. Don't accept mediocre as a career objectivedemand more of yourself.
Good luck and happy building!