When it comes to making sure your career is on the right path, there’s a lot of options to consider. In fact, there’s so many things to think about that we often we find that many people become frozen by the array of different choices and ultimately end up doing nothing.
They instead opt stay in the same job for years beyond what they should simply because they can’t decide on the steps needed to add rocket fuel to their career arc.
To make things a bit more focused, here are five simple things that can jumpstart your career growth and if done with relentless daily discipline, they’ll pay dividends for you for years to come.
The days of solely attending Happy Hours and industry conferences as a means of professional networking are long gone. Sure, these events can help but the best networking now happens online. Using LinkedIn is must for any good networker, and the good news is that it’s never been easier to grow a network than it is right now. At your fingertips, you now have access to countless professionals at companies within your chosen industry.
But connecting is one thing….the key to forging meaningful engagements and really creating a strong network is by providing value to others. Be a connector (or perhaps a mentor to others) and you’ll quickly expand your reach and develop a group of champions that will support your career growth,
Leverage social media
As mentioned above, our highly digitized world has created all sort of opportunities to quickly connect with fellow professionals around the globe. These social media tools have a powerful reach, but they also require us to be able to leverage them properly. Understanding the user mechanics behind platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter is essential. But equally as important is being mindful of the personal brand you put out into the world. Sure, understanding how to connect to someone on
LinkedIn is important but the presence your profile creates on the platform matters too. Make sure your LinkedIn profile looks professional and up to date. The picture you have on your profile should not be something more suitable for Facebook or Instagram. It should look the professional version of you! And if you’re on Twitter, make sure you’re consistently providing valuable content to your Followers. Remember that in this era of social media, your online brand is essentially your online reputation so be very thoughtful on how you present yourself on every platform.
Lastly, it’s important to recognize that each platform has its own unique engagement algorithm that will promote you based on your level of activity. Your consistent feedback on the posts of others, frequent use of each platform and the posting of valuable content will increase the number of people who view your profile. And when it comes to online professional networking, ensuring that the right people see you and know you is key.
Update your resume
Is your resume updated? It should be. And you should never wait until opportunity knocks on your door to get it up to date. Commit to doing quarterly reviews of your resume and when something substantial changes in your work history or your list of accomplishments, make sure to update it right away.
Lastly, getting a professional resume writer to review and improve your resume may be the very best money you will spend on your career. A good resume writer should be someone who not only has good writing skills but who has a background in HR or who has been a Hiring Manager in the past. Why? Because you want someone who can craft a resume in a manner that will attract people to it.
The technical aspects of the document (like font size, etc.) are important, but the quality of the content is what really matters. Make sure your resume writer knows how to bring the best of out of you and puts in onto a document in a manner that makes the reader think “We need to hire this person today!”.
Find a mentor
Every successful person in any line of work can point to people in their professional lives who were their supporters and allies. It’s crucial that you find people who will not only help you achieve your career goals but who will give the direct feedback and guidance needed to move down your path successfully.
Most will acknowledge that having a mentor can be helpful but are stuck on how to find on. Our advice is to first identify the characteristics of someone who can lead you forward. You can’t find a mentor without first knowing the type of person to look for. And be sure to not get hung up on someone’s job title or role in a company. Focus more on complementary personalities, their desire to help others and penchant for providing you with unvarnished truth.
Feedback and guidance will be crucial components of your professional development so make sure you mentor is comfortable with speaking the truth. And lastly, don’t think someone won’t be interested in being your mentor. You’ll be surprised by how frequently people want to help genuine, ambitious people just like you. So, go ahead and ask. You might just be glad you did.
Consistently read information about your industry
Nothing sets a professional apart then be someone who consistently learns about what is going on in his/her industry. Staying on top pf industry trends will increase your perceived value to your company. Most good leaders will recognize that if you are willing to look beyond your current role and learn more deeply and broadly, you’re an ambitious, rising star.
And even more importantly than perceptions, being at the top of your game about your industry will let you anticipate changes and position yourself for external roles in up-and-coming companies. If you’re in an active job search, learning about a wide array of companies in your industry (and in business, in general) will help you to better understand company cultures and ultimately, allow you to make a more informed decision when an offer does come to you from a prospective new employer.
When it comes to a growing your career or searching for a job, the hardest thing to do is start. We are often overwhelmed with the anxiety that comes from ‘where do I begin?’ thinking. That happens to everyone because let’s be honest about it, committing to consistently working on your career can be a daunting task.
The key is to break it down into key steps and action items that if executed upon flawlessly, will over time will get you to where you want to go. Take the time to focus on your long term goals but then quickly pivot to focusing on the more manageable daily/weekly/monthly steps that will help get you to where you want to go.
If we can assist you with any aspect of your career, contact us and let us know how we can help.