If you want to move up in the word, you need a plan. Whether you are starting your own business, looking for a new job, or aiming at a promotion or a raise, taking a few strategic steps will get you there. Working on your resumes and cover letters doesn't hurt, but real progress requires proper action.
Don't forget, your boss is not responsible for your career, you are. And your career should be the sum of all the skills and knowledge you've acquired through your education and work experience. Here are a couple of ways you can build on those layers.
Ask for an Evaluation
Start bold. Your boss can give you great insight. An evaluation has many benefits. Most notably, it can allow you to express your current state of mind, help you understand your manager's perspective, and help you create an action plan for boosting your performance.
If you are your own boss, or unemployed at the moment, reach out to past coworkers. They should be able to offer you some great ideas on how to improve yourself. Ask for unvarnished, constructive criticism. Offer to do the same for them, if they'd like.
Talk to HR
When's the last time you paid a visit to the human resources department? The HR office is a treasure trove of useful info for the employees. They are knowledgeable of the benefits and advantages that can improve your career. All you need to do is ask!
They can tell you all about the training session and useful courses you could attend. You might even get paid for days in training or score a reimbursement on your tuition. It's a cunning and cost-effective way of improving yourself.
Learn a New Skill
So, how about that course? It doesn't have to be one endorsed by your current company. If they are not offering anything at the moment, sign up at the local school or take an online course. It will help you increase your marketability and knowledge.
It's doesn't have to be something that'll give you an entirely new degree. Just becoming certified in a new skill can still beef up your resume. In fact, it doesn't necessarily have to be something with a certification.
Maybe you dabble a bit in trading because you want to make a career out of eventually. By learning how to use options strategies, you won't just add a new dimension to it, but it will help you add great value to your portfolio. Some skills aren't necessarily certifiable but are still a great step towards your goal. Finance and trading skills can only benefit you, and if you need more help you can always ask a trader.
Learning a new language is something you can do on your own terms, outside a formal environment, and, still, benefit from it. Speaking a second language is a practical skill that always impresses the higher-ups.
Get a Mentor
A good mentor is a great resource for all career-related elements. Stuck in a rut? Ask your mentor. Need to bounce of company insights? Ask your mentor!
Get a Protégé
Conversely, being a mentor to someone can be an excellent learning opportunity. An apprentice of your own can bust some of your paradigms and show you a new perspective. Even though you'll be their mentor, you'll be exposed to new ways of thinking.
Make a Five-Year Plan
It will help you see more easily what exactly you need to do to reach your goal. Are you aiming for a management position? Draw the path that will take you there. It might include volunteering for extra responsibilities or taking an accounting or business course. When making a five-year plan, you should:
Brainstorm Your Goals. Jot down everything you want to achieve within the set period.
Note What You Can do Now. Where can you begin? Whether it's speaking with your supervisor or seeing out a mentor - decide on immediate action.
Decide What You'll Do in the Coming Year. You can't do it all at once, so start planning for the future as well. For example, saving money to start a business could be something you could do over the next year.
Have Status Meetings with Yourself. Keep coming back to your plan to see what's working and whether you're on track. Don't let a change or an encumbrance throw you off the course. You may need to make adjustments.
Streamline Your Routine
How much time exactly do you spend completing work tasks? Take note of the things you do during your shift.
Chances are some of those activities are distractions. You can be more productive by blocking time-wasting websites and checking emails only at designated times.
Clean Up Your Social Networking
Remember all those wild spring break parties? Facebook remembers them as well.
You never know who might be checking out your photos, tweets, posts, and stories. Be sure to scrutinize your social media accounts.
Consider Contract Work
You can gain experience and boost your career by doing a bit of freelancing in your spare time. Besides, a little money on the side never hurts. It's also a great way of expanding your professional network.
Know What You’re Worth
You might feel cozy in your work environment and that’s good. But don’t let that stop you from being on the lookout for new opportunities.
Let’s say you get a compelling offer from a competing firm. If you don’t want to switch teams right away, take it to your boss. If you explain the offer and why you got it, they could be willing to match it.
Apply your talents to new projects. Don't shy away from new opportunities. Rethink the way you present yourself. Before you know it, you'll get that raise, have your own business, or land your dream job!