Staying on top of your professional career development is vital for growth and maximizing your potential. Actively learning new skills can help you achieve your goals with confidence while allowing you to increase your wealth, gain visibility, and succeed in a competitive environment.
Let’s look at a few ways you can boost your career at all stages of your professional life!
Identify Your Interests and Ideal Career
This of course is important for those of our readers who are just starting out along their career path—but it’s also relevant to those who are looking for a change of direction, or even adding new skills and accomplishments to their repertoire.
Building your career is easier when you take stock of all your interests; this process can help you choose what to focus on and when to switch things up. Consider reflecting on favorite childhood hobbies, school subjects, and occupations of your role models, parents, and other successful individuals. This can reveal potential areas to establish a good career—even in areas you may never have considered. Defining a target professional field is the secret of an effective career-building plan. Consider your core strengths, values, and purposes—then you can find what jobs suit those traits.
For instance, if you’re good at solving problems, you could think about becoming a school counselor, which will allow you to actively resolve conflicts, find creative ways to help others, and play a positive role in students’ lives. As you visualize your dream career, make sure you consider your preferred job environment, financial rewards, work-life balance, and other factors that matter to you.
Upgrade Your Skills
Continually building new skills is vital for advancing your career, and it’s easy to fall behind if you don’t take an active approach to learning and keeping up-to-date with the latest news, trends, and opportunities within your field.
Some crucial soft skills every worker can benefit from are critical thinking, emotional intelligence, teamwork, and negotiation. And improving them will help you overcome challenges large and small that’ll come your way as you navigate the corporate world. Don’t forget to seek out ways to develop hard skills relating to your job as well—you can only get better at what you do.
Leverage Career Development Programs
Many businesses want their employees to expand their skill sets relevant to their roles, and offer opportunities exactly for this! If your company offers any kind of career development training, discounts on certifications, or other incentives for continuing education, make it a point to leverage them.
As you acquire more experience in your field, try to get feedback from your higher-ups and coworkers—this will help you identify areas to improve, or even new directions to pursue. Performance reviews of course are a great resource to get direct feedback from your manager, plus you can ask questions about how to boost your career and what opportunities may be available within your company. Remember also ask for feedback after meetings and presentations; once you discover what you can do better, you’ll be able to take steps to reach the next level.
A few questions to start:
- Do you have any room for growth in this department?
- How can I prepare well for upcoming projects?
- Can you kindly show me one task I did great?
Keep Up with Industry Trends and Attend Workshops
To more easily carve a path to success, you have to be enthusiastic about your industry and keep up with its trends. This can let you explore alternative job options and widen your network, and will help you stay relevant with your expertise.
For example, if you’re a teacher, you can customize your lesson plans—including worksheets, reading guides, and other educational materials—more easily than ever in this digital age. Not only does this help you engage with your students more effectively, but it can also help you generate additional income. There has never been a better time to start selling teacher materials online, and many teachers are already digitizing their lessons and providing a virtual learning experience—and sharing those materials with fellow educators, which makes for a huge marketplace!
Attending industry-related events can majorly help propel your career as well—participating in workshops and training programs will help you learn more about your field and how to take advantage of emerging opportunities.
To effectively track your goals, achievements, and daily activities, stay organized by archiving your work—there’s so much that you might forget you’ve accomplished over time, and keeping track will help you access resources more easily and give you better direction in decision-making and other processes.
You should also create a schedule and plan for the next steps in your professional journey. This will let you focus on your long-term goals and monitor your overall progress as you move forward.
Upgrading your career takes time, commitment, and encouragement. It can get frustrating when you feel you’re not moving forward quickly enough, so consider challenging yourself to meet your short-term goals, learn new skills, and embrace research for career development. If you can venture out of your comfort zone and explore different industries and ideas beyond your area of expertise, it can be super helpful as well. Say you’re not a great public speaker: you could challenge yourself by signing up for a workshop to practice those skills, which you can use to build on your resume for the future.
Get a Mentor
Finally, look for a mentor and seek career advice on how to scale your profession!
You can develop excellent mentor-mentee relationships within and outside of your organization. Studies show that employees who seek out mentors are five times more likely to get a promotion within their company, and five times more likely to get a salary increase. Mentors are great sources of career development information—find the right mentor and learn from their experience to advance your career, and you won’t be disappointed.
What strategies have you used to build your career that we haven’t mentioned here? Share your stories and advice with the Frayed Passport community!
Featured image by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash