A stale career path can easily make you unhappy in your job – especially in an industry like IT where there are so many different career paths to choose from. Whether or not you love what you do, you’ve likely given some thought as to what you’d like to do next. Should things change in your current workplace, or if you’re ready for a fresh start right now, it’s important to position yourself well for this change and be prepared. If you’re ready to shake things up, then follow these three steps and get yourself set for success in 2021.Assess Where You Currently AreConsider your position right now, and if you’re unhappy in your job. Have a look at your past year; what goals did you achieve and where did you fall short? Be honest with yourself and assess what you’ve accomplished. If you didn’t hit the goals you wanted to, don’t despair – you can start today with a renewed focus on where you want to go!Maybe you’ve found that you crave more responsibility and want more challenge in your current role. On the other hand, it’s possible that you might prefer a new position altogether. Is your lack of interest due to a fundamental issue with your current employer or your daily duties? Consider whether the source of your unhappiness is your actual job, or if it’s something external to the work itself.Take note of the job tasks you enjoy, and those that make you drag your feet. Going through this process can help to zero in on what exactly you find fulfilling. Then explore options that include those attributes.Where Do You Want to Go?Once you have an idea of what you’ve done well, what you can do better, and what you like and dislike about your current situation, you can start thinking about how to take steps to get you where you want to go.First think about your long-term career goals, and then work backwards, keeping your goals front of mind. Whether it’s getting in touch with a recruiter to explore job options, or going back to university to study a whole new field, there is no better day than the present to start on your way to a fulfilling career.If you are looking to jump into an entirely different field, do your research. It’s easy to idealise a job that’s different to yours as glamorous or exciting, however things almost always aren’t what they seem. Interview people who have experience in what you’re interested in. Are you currently a Web Developer but aspire to work with Big Data? Speak to someone who does and ask them questions about their daily routine, struggles and triumphs. Not only will this give you further insight into the role, but it will also give you more realistic expectations, and an idea of what it would take to get there.Addressing Potential Skills GapsIf you’d like to stay in your field and develop your skills within your workplace, speak to your manager and express your desire to advance, so they can help you identify ways to expand your responsibilities. Check what training programmes are available within your current workplace; some organisations offer excellent refresher courses, such as systems administration, digital marketing, or even training in cloud management, as well as sometimes offering more formal professional development programmes.But don’t stop there. Maximising work opportunities within your present company is a great way to gain wider recognition and display capability, not to mention your ambition to further develop. Look into wider personal leadership endeavours, like facilitating a mentoring programme for junior staff, or driving community or fundraising initiatives. This would showcase your take-charge attitude, confidence, and ability to lead. A desire for continuous personal development outside of your immediate job is a key characteristic of many influential business leaders, so you’d be following a successful example!All these actions send an important message to colleagues and management, exemplifying your emphasis on personal development and indicating that career advancement is something you take seriously. In addition to helping you stand out internally and strengthening your expertise, external courses also prepare you for further study should you choose a new path, and look great on a CV, should you decide to make the jump to another company.Starting the ConversationLike most journeys, there is rarely one path to your career goals. Think about the different options you have, and which ones work best for your current situation. Would you be better served by staying with your current company, perhaps in a different role, or is it time for a bigger change?It’s worth considering whether your current company could offer you a fresh challenge, in a familiar environment. If it’s a secondment or internal move that you’re looking for, book a meeting with your boss, and be transparent about your aspirations. Even if you’re unsuccessful in gaining an internal move, at the very least management will appreciate your proactive approach to address the issue instead of becoming demotivated.If the problem is interpersonal, such as with a manager or team member, seek advice early on from someone you trust as to how best improve communication as you don’t want to discount fulfilling work because of an unhealthy professional atmosphere.Making the Big MoveIf all else fails, and you’ve decided that your only option is to leave, then don’t rush into anything too quickly. Carefully weigh up your options. Working with a recruitment agency will help introduce you to new opportunities, plus, speaking with someone who better knows the industry or sector you’re looking to break into might help to shed light on options you hadn’t considered.Remember to take everything in your stride, be patient, and evaluate potential roles against your plan. Keep in mind that the period immediately after the new year can be intensely competitive, so any preparation will be a great investment. If you’re offered a position you’re not excited about, ask yourself why – after all, you don’t want to wind up just as unhappy in your job somewhere else. Aim to find a new role that is worth your time investment, and will bring you the happiness and professional satisfaction you deserve.As always, if you need to speak to an expert in the Christchurch IT market, feel free to get in touch with the team here at Sourced to discuss making your next career move count.