14 Moves to Make Now to Help Advance Your Career
People often spend more time with their coworkers than they do with their families. If you’re working a job in a profession you’re passionate about, though, it can be totally worth it.
But no matter how much passion you have for your work, you likely don’t want to be stuck in the same position forever. You want to grow and advance. Oftentimes, it can feel like change isn’t happening at the rate you’d like it to. Or maybe it feels like everyone around you is achieving at a faster rate, leaving you frustrated and behind.
No matter your motivation to improve your life and career, there are all sorts of tangible and simple tricks and tools you can use. Implementing any or all of these will help keep you and your career on the right trajectory.
One of the most effective ways to understand how you’re doing: Ask for feedback from your peers and your managers. Yes, this can feel daunting since personal elements are often involved, but don’t let that stop you.
Keep in mind that feedback is simply someone’s assessment of you. It’s not necessarily completely accurate. There’s always something to learn from how people view your work, even if you don’t agree with their assessment.
Oftentimes, you’ll find plenty of elements you agree with and can learn from, especially if the feedback comes from trusted sources.
Assess Yourself, Too
Like feedback from others, self-assessment can help you be honest about what you’re good at and what you need to improve.
Lean into your strengths and play them up. And aim to strengthen areas where you’re weaker.
Find or Request a Mentor
Finding someone to help you craft your own career path and impart their own wisdom is one of the single most effective changes you can make.
While it can be helpful to choose a mentor on your same career path or within an area you’re involved in, it’s more important that your mentor’s someone you can emulate as a human being. He or she should have character traits you admire and be aspirational on some level. That way, he or she can provide a refreshing perspective on your career path beyond offering tunnel-visioned pragmatic advice based on their own experiences.
Clarify Your Vision
If you feel stuck or frustrated, reassess what you want out of your job or career path. Clarifying where you see yourself in the future helps to keep you from spiraling into petty frustrations about your daily tasks.
Keeping a clear vision can also keep you honest about whether the job you’re currently doing is best serving the future you want.
A clear vision may help you reach your long-term goals. Smaller and more tangible goals will forward your career, too. Studies have shown that setting goals increases motivation and achievement.
So, through goal setting, you’ll likely be a better worker, which should get you more leverage to move up your career ladder.
Reassess Your Goals
In the process of choosing specific goals, you’ll have to determine what you’re no longer able to do, too.
Becoming a more effective employee who advances his or her career at an impressive rate doesn’t necessarily mean working insane hours and constantly adding to your plate. As you gain clarity on your own priorities, some tasks and activities will no longer serve your needs. Let them go. It will free up time and energy you need to complete the goals that do serve you.
Building and maintaining your network is incredibly important to growth and advancement.
Whether it’s a mixer among your current coworkers, joining a professional organization for like-minded individuals or becoming more involved in new communities, the benefits of a strong network give back over time.
It’s hard for some people to embrace. So many people grow up with a deep sense of humility. But just quietly being good at your job won’t get you anywhere except getting better at your job.
If you’re really proud of something you did or you took the reins on a major project, make sure people know you were the force behind it.
If you really have trouble talking about your own accomplishments, remember your intention behind your action. It’s not to belittle others or to bring them down. It’s simply to recognize that you did the work you actually did.
It will allow your superiors to recognize it, too.
Ask For What You Want
Sitting around and waiting for opportunities and advancement to happen is a surefire path to frustration. The world isn’t filled with mind readers. You have to ask for what you want.
Of course, overdoing it or making reckless demands won’t help. Be reasonable and steadfast. When possible, negotiate to make sure all parties involved in your requests feel they’re getting something out of the situation. You’ll set yourself up for even more momentum.
Improve Your Workplace Skills
Whether you’re working on a personal weakness or a specific skill set you lack, constant self improvement is always a great idea. You’ll become a more valuable employee and you’ll become an overall better worker.
While you may never master certain skills, there’s no downside to learning everything you can.
Keep Your Social Media Private or on Brand
It’s impossible to overlook someone’s social media. If you have a public page on any of the major social media outlets, be aware that potential employers will be looking at it.
Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how long ago you said something outrageous or posted something inappropriate. It could be what holds you back from advancement.
Keep your social media consistent with your own personal goals. Be the type of person (and worker) you want to show the world.
Keep Your Resume Up-to-Date
They say the worst time to prepare for an emergency is when you’re living it. If something happens with your job, revamping your resume in a hurry can be frustrating and it can often result in mistakes or an incomplete document.
When you learn a new skill or get promoted, take a few minutes to revamp your work materials to reflect that. You never know when a new opportunity might present itself – or for how long it might present itself – so be ready.
Take Calculated Risks
Nothing worthwhile has ever been achieved by staying in your comfort zone.
It may be uncomfortable to do any of these tasks or implement any of these tools into your life. But remember: By adding one or a handful of them, that small amount of discomfort could result in awesome changes in your life.
Get outside your comfort zone. Take calculated risks. You might embarrass yourself or fail – or embarrass yourself by failing. But you’ll likely survive to learn from those mistakes, and come out of it even stronger as a worker and as a person.
Working harder doesn’t always mean working more hours. In fact, showing that you can be effective in short spurts of time will make you an even more valuable worker. And having a healthy, happy life outside of work will allow you to be even more effective when you’re on the clock.
No matter how much you love your work and your career, there’s plenty of wonderful life to experience outside of it.
And the more you enjoy life, the more you can enjoy and excel at work.