It’s a new year, so this means a new you, right? If one of your goals for 2022 is to climb the career success ladder, but you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, take a deep breath; because we’ve compiled a list of things you can start today to take that next step in your career.
The last thing you want is turbulence when trying to land the plane on the runway of your career growth. There are things to watch for and things you can do to improve your chances of professional success.
1. Start with an inventory of your career goals.
Before you start applying for positions, take some time to consider your specific goals; such as:
- Are you looking for a management position?
- Do you want to further your education so you can expand your skillset and knowledge? Like going for your MBA?
- Are you aiming for that long-overdue promotion in salary? (Who isn’t, right?)
It’s essential to set goals so you can develop a strategic plan. Which could include next steps like:
- Understand which social networks you can use to start networking and building contacts.
- Creating a resume that is in line with your career path.
- Research additional courses you can take to learn more about your chosen field or sharpen your pre-existing skillset.
2. Be mindful of workplace culture.
Work culture has become a trendy term, but there is real value in understanding whether or not a business is a good fit for you.
Make sure you research the company to understand if their values align with yours; also, try and understand how they work as a whole by asking questions during the interview process.
Some example questions you can ask are:
- What does it take to be successful at this company?
- What are the company’s values?
- What is the company’s culture like?
- Who is the company’s ideal employee?
- What does your ideal workday look like?
Finding a workplace that shares your values and makes you feel welcome is vital to your job satisfaction and career growth.
3. Take stock of your education.
Education is important when you’re applying to any career. It helps you gain the knowledge, skills, and experience you need to help get you closer to your desired job. Without the right education, you might not even make it to the interview. Experience isn’t always enough, and education is a foundation of life skills needed to apply to most jobs.
When browsing job postings that spark your interest, take a look at the educational requirements for those jobs. If you have the requirements, that’s awesome. If not, the solution is staring you right in the face! Take those requirements as educational stepping stones to improve your skills and knowledge.
If you have skills from past education, you can put those skills towards looking for a career that best suits them.
It’s best to align your career goals with your educational skills. It makes you a better fit for the job and can push you above the competition.
4. Experience is key.
You’ve most likely seen jobs asking for several years of experience in a relevant role. Experience teaches valuable teamwork, communication, leadership and problem-solving skills. Education can open the door, but experience can give you an advantage in your job applications. You can only learn some skills through work experience that schools don’t teach.
Ways you can gain experience:
- Volunteering within your community
- Job shadowing
Experience can push you ahead of everyone else when applying for new positions.
5. Connect with people Through Networking
One of the best ways to connect with other professionals is through networking. It can improve your chances of opening many doors to new job opportunities.
Remember those old colleagues from university? They can make great connections! Avoid burning bridges and work on maintaining healthy professional relationships. It can help open paths to various industries that weren’t accessible to you before.
These are simple ways to stay in touch:
- Keep in touch through emails.
- Ask them to join you for a coffee regularly.
- Reach out to them on social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.
- Join or invite connections to workshop events.
People will recognize this as being proactive and appreciate the acknowledgment.
Networking from home can be challenging. But, you won’t have to worry about being in a crowded room trying to make good impressions. Don’t let being stuck inside keep you from making professional connections.
- Showcase your work on sites like LinkedIn
- Be genuine, listen and ask questions
- Keep your network alive by including others and offering as much as you receive.
Develop a networking strategy that works for you and grow your list of mutually-supportive contacts!
6. Be aware of work-from-home challenges.
Working from the comfort of your home has its benefits. You don’t have to worry about rushing to get ready in the morning. You don’t have to travel or commute long distances, and You can work from almost anywhere should you choose to do so. Sounds awesome, right?
While those are great benefits, working from home isn’t always conducive to career development.
It can be hard to focus on your work when there are distractions at home. Make your home space a productive environment to get things done. Create a dedicated workspace and avoid distractions like social media and television. This can help you bolster your work ethic.
Things you can do to be more productive:
- Work flexible hours – This can increase wellness and productivity overall, especially for caregivers.
- Document everything – During meetings and discussions with your team, taking notes and easily sharing documents can be a life-saver. You can keep a list of tasks and accomplishments to track your productivity.
Sometimes it’s the other way around. Many people don’t know how to shut off while working from home. It’s ideal to keep a consistent pattern as if you were working at the office; this helps to know when to “clock out” for the day. Life isn’t all about work, so remember to take breaks and wind down when it’s time to relax.
7. Upgrade your skills from home.
Being stuck at home can become tedious. Instead of binging the same show again, why not take a look at affordable online education?
You can discover plenty of free online courses to advance your current skills or work on new ones. Find the right programs related to your field or step into new territory. These courses provide video modules and certificates that you can attach to your LinkedIn profile.
Explore a wealth of information at your fingertips. Widen your knowledge and perspective on potential career paths through learning.
8. Thinking of becoming your own boss?
Not everyone wants to maintain their position as employees working for a company. Some people thrive working for themselves. Foraging an entrepreneurial career path is an ambitious step, but it can certainly pay off with enough skill, hard work and dedication.
The question is, are you ready to turn your hobby, passion or side hustle into a lucrative full-time gig?
Working for yourself can be rewarding. It can also bring forth new challenges. Even with the right skills and experience, you should consider all your options.
Things you should ask yourself are:
- How is my financial situation? – Even if you have all the skills, knowledge, experience, and non-financial resources in place to start working for yourself—not being financially prepared can leave you in a stressful situation.
- Do I have a developed network? – Maintain your professional relationships and network outside of your industry as much as inside it. Share your time and expertise generously.
- Do I have an impressive portfolio? – Your resume should be tailored to your line of work. Proof of education and testimonials, reviews, and recommendations from employers, clients, customers, teachers, or any other relevant authority should be present.
If you can answer yes to these questions, you are on the right track to starting a business of your own.
If not, you can accomplish these goals to get you headed in the direction you need for the future.
There are plenty of options to climb the ladder of success when it comes to career growth. Success doesn’t happen overnight, but being strategic, diligent and kind to yourself and others will pay off in the long run!