How to identify your career blind spots

Sally Martin

It’s go-go-go when you work in recruitment. It’s a profession that’s dynamic, humbling, and incredibly rewarding. Nothing beats the thrill of filling a vacancy, pleasing your client and managing teams that are hungry and determined. 

When I first started, I found the trajectory of recruitment to be quick-paced and adrenaline inducing. The way up was clear to me at first. In order to go from rung-to-rung on the corporate ladder, I had to work hard and jump at opportunities. 

When the way up is clear and unobstructed, we’re trained to keep our attention looking forward and rarely looking back. Your peers and managers will often tell you to lean into your strengths, keep hitting milestones and set new goals as soon as you’ve completed the last one. But in the rush of reaching the top, we leave ourselves open to our blind spots. 

"Ultimately, when I look at my career I ask myself what kind of legacy I want to leave behind".

I would know – in my initial part of my career at Resource Solutions, I was fortunate enough to be working with a manager who was an incredible sponsor for me in the business. We did well and both climbed the ladder together.  When he took an opportunity in a different country, my career stalled. It was in that pause that I was able to identify my blind spots and start giving them the attention they needed in order for me to continue finding career success. 

If you’re not careful, your blind spots can be career derailers. If you haven’t already, have you thought about yours? Ask yourself the following questions:  

  • Do you ask enough?
    Coming from a generation where I found it difficult to ask for things, I look in awe at the Millennials I work with because they’re constantly asking for what they want! If I could go back in time, I’d emulate the courage of my younger peers today and ask for more. I’d ask for what I need to do to be considered for the next promotion. Or I’d ask for more pay raises. Your manager can’t read your mind, so make sure they know what it is you’re looking for, and don’t wait around expecting it to come to you. 

  • How powerful is your inner voice?
    Women have an inner voice that sometimes holds us back because it tells us we’re not ready, or not good enough to do the job. If we let it, our voice can hinder us by taking away our confidence. My inner voice is something I’ve really had to concentrate on because it’s held me back in my career and made me experience impostor syndrome on countless occasions. Instead, tell yourself: “Yes! Push forward. Go forward. You can do this!” It wasn’t easy getting to where I am now. I’ve gone to external work coaches to help me manage my inner voice. Consider seeing one – they can be invaluable mentors.

  • Do you reflect on your successes?
    In order to overcome my bouts with Impostor Syndrome, I found my best strategy is to reflect on what I’ve achieved and done. I look at what programmes I’ve put into place and feel incredibly proud about them! You have to give yourself a break and be able to reflect on your achievements – it’s not always a straight shot to the top. 

Are you taking care of your personal life?

My personal life is a constant work in progress and has become a development area for me. I’ve grown up in a culture where traditionally you work within a set time frame, but with the introduction of Smart Working at Resource Solutions, I’m finding flexibility in my schedule to work when I’m most productive. It’s been a significant shift with having a company that supports a work-life balance and trusting their employees will get the work done while also allowing time for their passions outside of work. 

Ultimately, when I look at my career I ask myself what kind of legacy I want to leave behind. It’s the driving motivator for me when I come to work. I decided four years ago that I wanted to grow strong female leaders so that I know when I move on there will be a group of women who are powerful, independent and dedicated to paying-it-forward. I want to encourage women to support each other and help their peers lean into their strengths and take care of their derailers. 

- Sally Martin, Global Head of Talent Acquisition at Resource Solutions