Job seekers struggle to land the job of their dream. Some of them achieve this goal and enjoy their positions for long periods. But what are the next steps? Employees with ambitions try to advance their careers and hit another plateau.
Perla Arroyo, a skillhub.com career advice expert, shares her tips on how workers in any industry can improve their careers.
1. Set Short-Term Goals
Getting a raise, changing companies, or finding a new job may seem like distant goals requiring a lot of time. Instead, employees should concentrate on short-term, achievable goals. Read about innovation in the industry, practice a new skill, and reach out to like-minded people.
Each of these small tasks makes small contributions to one’s career development. Eventually, they will accumulate an enormous breakthrough and a new, qualitative step in their career development.
It is essential to stay organized and track all achievements and goals. The key to success in reaching short-term goals is persistence. Time management skills are a cornerstone of career development.
2. Keep Track of Your Professional Activities
Career improvement is a long-term process. It is vital to keep a positive mindset during this journey. Often, we forget our achievements and concentrate only on the lack of progress. Therefore, it is essential to document your activities and improvements.
It can be a personal journal or a public blog page, which fits you most. You should write down all the steps you made toward your career improvement goal. This list will remind you of your successes and help you move forward even during the most challenging times.
3. Actively Seek Feedback
Feedback is a crucial part of personal and career growth. At some point, we start to perform our duties automatically without paying attention to our strong and weak sides. Close attention to one’s performance will help to set a direction for future development.
Contact your managers or colleagues and ask them to evaluate your recent performance. Which task did you do the best? And which job required polishing? Use this information to decide what part of your professional image you should work next.
4. Utilize Company’s Resources
Career advancement may be closer than you think. Many companies provide their employees with learning materials and courses for qualification improvement. Talk to your manager or a hiring department about available learning opportunities.
Besides, you may address your superiors with open career opportunities. Naturally, it will not grant you these positions, but you will see the direction for development more apparent.
5. Build a Network
A lack of professional contacts may stop our career development. Active communication with professionals in the field will expand one’s possibilities for career improvement. However, you should not approach anyone with the same formal, blank greeting.
When you reach out to other professionals, try personalizing your greeting. Express your interest in their career field, expertise, or specialization. Say how you can help or contribute in their area.
A professional network is a source of endless new opportunities for career advancement. That is why investing your time in its development is also essential. There are various ways of expanding one’s network:
- Join online groups and social media platforms;
- Volunteering within the career field;
- Attending or creating workshops;
- Creating an online presence;
- Joining professional associations.
6. Find a Mentor or a Protege
A mentor is an excellent way to improve your career. If you struggle with setting goals or choosing new skills to learn, a mentor will help you. Besides, mentors will provide valuable feedback on your work performance as well. There are many professional career coaches and advice experts for almost any industry.
A protege is another excellent opportunity for career improvement. Underlings provide challenges for professionals and make them think unconventionally. Teaching someone about the industry will help you polish your skills also.
7. Learn More About the Industry
Expressing active interest in the industry is another good way of career improvement. Each career field strives for novelties and work process optimization. Each employee that wants to boost their career should follow these professional trends.
Learn about experts in the field and their materials. Follow a blog about novelties in the industry. Attend conferences and gatherings related to the career field.
All these activities will not push your career on their own. Instead, they provide opportunities and possibilities for career growth. You may discover new ways of performing your tasks. There could be emerging trends that will capture the market soon. You may meet new people that will make you excellent offers. Be open to new possibilities that present themselves.
8. Leave Your Comfort Zone
Often, we are content with our current positions. There is always more to desire, but we are afraid to lose what we have achieved. Such a mindset is harmful to career improvement. We need to stretch ourselves to reach new career achievements.
Naturally, leaving your comfort zone for the sake of itself will be harmful. This approach should have clear direction and organization. Try to do tasks that you never did before. Ask if a joint department requires any help. Learn a specialty that you perceive as unavailable or unpractical.
Such practice will help employees to keep an interest in self-improvement and discover new passions within the career field. Yet, they should treat this tip cautiously. Leaving your comfort zone should not be harmful and cause more stress than necessary.
First and foremost, a person should want a career change. Desire and motivation help to achieve any set goals. Short-term goals are the best for the beginning. You should achieve them regularly. Documentation of such achievements will keep the motivation up.
An employee should grasp all the arising learning opportunities. A company’s educational materials, mentoring, and active feedback are great tools for measuring one’s performance. They will help decide which next step to take.
Being curious about the industry is another sure step for career improvement. Active networking and following the industry’s trends will present many possibilities too.
Finally, people should be courageous to leave their comfort zone and do something they never did before. There are no better or worse tips on the list. Each of them is equally helpful. Pick the ones that fit you best and move toward your best career.