Some people are lucky enough to have opportunities just fall in their lap. Most people have to work for them. There are many paths you can take towards career advancement. Consider trying these six strategies.
It can be hard to move forward if you’re spending half your energy trying to figure out what to do next. A good place to begin your plan for career advancement is to get both your personal and professional life organized. If you’re not a naturally organized person, consider seeking advice from someone you know who is. Your employer may also have resources available to you. Try asking your manager about any organization strategies and tools your company may offer and any tips they may have for organizing your workflow. You may also want to research online organizational tools.
Build Your Network
Jobs may come and go, but the network of friends, mentors and professional contacts you build will be with you through thick and thin. Trade organizations, churches, alumni associations, friends of friends and continuing education classes can all be good sources of new contacts. You might also consider throwing a networking party. Invite people you already know and ask them to invite a couple of people each. This can be a great way to meet new people, some of whom may become valuable parts of your network. Once you have your network in place, it can become a resource for you for job leads, advice and emotional support. You might even find some like-minded individuals to start a new business venture with.
Create Your Career Roadmap
A good place to begin this step is by deciding where you ultimately want your career to go. You can then begin the process of mapping out how to get there. Start by setting your big, long-term goals. Next, break those long-term goals down into smaller, short-term goals. Finally, determine what steps you will need to take to begin reaching your goals and then create a timeline. The goals will help keep you focused on what you want to accomplish. The timeline will help you stay on track and keep you accountable for making progress.
Evaluate Your Current Position
Some fields and employers offer more opportunities for advancement than others. If you’re working in a declining industry or for an employer who rarely has an opportunity for upward mobility, you may need to consider looking for another job or changing careers entirely. Research careers that are on an upward trend and analyze how you can apply your current skills and experience to that career.
Find a Mentor
One of the best ways to figure out how to get where you want to go is to emulate someone who has already been there. Pick out someone you admire who has already accomplished what you want to accomplish. If they are someone you know, like a parent, boss, co-worker, teacher or friend, consider reaching out to them for advice. If your potential mentor is someone famous, consider following them on social media, listening to their podcasts, going to their seminar or reading books they have written.
Expand Your Skillset
If you want to advance in your career, you will probably need to learn new skills and polish up old ones. Community colleges can be good resources for continuing education classes and introductory courses. You may also be able to take free online college courses. Your employer may offer additional skills training or may have tuition reimbursement programs you can take advantage of. You may also want to consider obtaining a graduate degree.
Whatever your career goals are, these six strategies may help you achieve them. Consider incorporating them into your career plans today.