No matter what type of job you have, there’s a good chance that you want one of two things:
A raise that puts more money in your pocket or a promotion that can get you to the next level (and put more money in your pocket).
From auto mechanics to teachers to financial analysts, almost everyone we know is looking to get something more out of their career. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to get there.
Here are seven ways to make the most out of your career this year, regardless of what you do.
Set a Goal
Are you thinking about switching careers? Do you wish you could move up the ranks in your current company? Do you need to make more money?
Whatever you desire is, set a clear goal for yourself and start taking baby steps to reach that goal.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed trying to reach a major goal or milestone. To make it easier, break your big goal into mini-goals and focus on one step at a time.
The only person who has the power to advance your career is you. The best way to show that you’re ready to climb the corporate ladder or do bigger and better things is to take the initiative and start doing them.
Read blogs, listen to industry podcasts, and follow the social media accounts of leaders in your field. Learn everything you can about your industry and where it’s headed in the future.
Even if you’re in an entry-level position, having that knowledge can make you stand out from the rest of your colleagues. A small amount of insight into your company and industry can put you head and shoulders above the competition.
Take on New Responsibilities
Another great way to get the most out of your career is to challenge yourself as much as possible. Schedule a meeting with your boss and let them know that you’re ready to learn new things.
Volunteer to spearhead a new project, lead a team, or become the point person on a new initiative. Seize any and every opportunity to learn new skills.
It may mean working a few extra hours without any extra pay, but don’t let that discourage you. The real value is in the learning experience.
Employers love when employees go above and beyond their typical duties. So take the initiative to do exactly that — and do be afraid to fail while doing it. Getting outside your comfort zone is key to growing, even if you experience a few bumps along the way.
Improve Your Communication Skills
To advance in your career, regardless of what that career is, you’ll need excellent oral and/or written communication skills.
Communication skills are a must if you want to get everything you can out of your current role. You can also use those skills as leverage if you’re thinking about switching careers, as they are important in every job and every industry.
There are many ways to improve your communication skills. You can take online courses to perfect your writing and speaking skills or read blogs and watch online tutorials to learn free tips.
If your goal is to land a new job, make sure that you also practice what to say (and what not to say) in your next interview.
Find a Mentor
A mentor can be an invaluable asset to anyone in any line of work.
A mentor can provide you with useful information about your company or industry. They can help you connect with other professionals on or above your level. They can guide you and inspire you to want to strive for that promotion or find a new role.
A mentor can also be the person you vent to. When you’re feeling frustrated or overwhelmed in your career, a mentor can help you get back on track so you can focus on what’s important.
You’re never too young or too old to build a strong professional network.
Make it a point to connect with new people through networking events, such as conferences, conventions, and seminars. Reach out to people on LinkedIn and connect with professional groups and associations on social media.
Before you start linking to new connections on social media, update your profiles. Make sure that they’re professional and they reflect you in a positive light. Spend the time to rid your social media pages of party photos and bikini pics — that is, if you want people to take you seriously.
Networking is one of the best things you can do to advance your career, especially if you’re considering looking for a new position. You never know who in your network may be able to get you an interview for your dream job or give you a foot in the door at your favorite company.
Ask For Feedback
Growth, both personal and professional, is essential if you want to get the most out of your career. And to grow, you need to know your strengths and weaknesses.
Ask your boss for a performance review and listen to their feedback. Ask them where you’re excelling and what areas of the job you need to improve in.
Once you know your strengths, build upon them. Once you know your weaknesses, set aside some time to improve upon them.
Whether you work from home, work in an office, or have a hands-on job that requires you to be out in the field, there are lots of ways to make the most out of your career. And they all start with you:
- Set a new goal.
- Take initiative to propel yourself forward.
- Take on new responsibilities to learn new skills.
- Improve your communication skills.
- Find a mentor for guidance along the way.
- Network and forge relationships with people in your industry.
- Ask for feedback so you can identify and improve upon your weaknesses.
There’s no need to feel like you’re stuck in your current job. You’re not. There are always opportunities to advance your career, grow as a person, and create the life you want.
You just have to start doing it!
Adam Marshall is a freelance writer who specializes in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with The Lofts at Brentwood to help them with their online marketing.