It’s important to be proactive about your career. You need to take charge of it and make sure you’re moving in the direction you want to go. But once you get there, how do you stay on top? What if things change? What if other people try to push or pull your career in a different direction than where you think it should go? There are some simple steps that can help keep your career on track. Here are six ideas to improve your career today.
Take Classes That Will Help Your Career
If you’re feeling stuck in your career, taking classes can help you get back on track. You might want to take classes that will build skills that are directly related to your job or continue down the path of working towards a promotion. Are you in the insurance field? Use the life and health insurance exam cheat sheet and prepare for your professional tests. If there are any events or mentorships at work related to what you’re doing, it might be a good time to take classes. If you’re just bored with your job and don’t know what else you should do or if work feels less fun than it used to, taking classes can help you get excited again about where your career is headed. If things are going well, but there’s always room for improvement, taking classes can help you stay competitive.
Set Small Goals Regularly
When you have a clear idea of where you want to go, it’s time to set small goals that will get you there. Goals give you something to aim for and an extra step in your plan. If your goal is too big or too abstract, it can be difficult to work towards. Set smaller goals that will help you reach the larger one, but make sure they’re measurable. Add a deadline to each goal and make a plan that will help you reach it. Setting smaller goals on a regular basis is often more effective than setting one big goal at the beginning of the year when your motivation is high. You might want to get a promotion in the next year. A goal like this is fine, but it’s hard to know if you’ve reached it or not. Make smaller goals like “start attending networking events”, “learn more about the company” and even “keep your resume updated”.
Define Your Personal Brand
Your personal brand is the quick, concise description of you that you give people when they ask what you do. It’s important to define your personal brand so that you have a clear idea of who you are professional. It should include the things you’re good at and how you like to contribute. It should also let people know what they can expect from working with you. Your personal brand is a good way to keep yourself on track and make sure that you’re always focused on your strengths and contributions, and it’s easier for others to recognize them too. You can even include your brand on your resume, cover letters, and LinkedIn. It helps people understand the value you bring to different organizations. You need to be able to sum yourself up quickly and accurately so that your messages are consistent every time someone asks you what you do.
Networking isn’t just useful for getting job leads, it’s also important for building relationships with people who can help your career now and in the future. If you’re not able to network in person, set up a LinkedIn account and start connecting with people today. You don’t have to meet everyone you’re connected with, but it’s often helpful if you can. Remember that networking is a two-way street – you need to be a resource for other people as well, otherwise, they might not want to work with you. Don’t skip this step, because it can help you keep your career on track if everything happens to fall off. Be sure to attend events, so you can network in person when possible.
Be Flexible About Work Hours & Responsibilities
If you’re always willing to work overtime or take on new responsibilities, it’s a good way to build rapport with your managers and peers. It shows that you care about the work people are doing, but flexibility is important too. It’s not professional to be unavailable at the drop of a hat if you have to work from home or make up for the lost time. Be open about your availability and communicate with people around you about what’s going on. It’s best to avoid committing too much time to one project as well as taking on new responsibilities unless it won’t impact your colleagues. Don’t forget to take care of yourself and your health so that you can be productive at work. Make sure you get enough sleep and eat healthily, and try making time for some hobbies outside of work, so you feel refreshed while working each day. You need to be considerate of your bosses, peers, and subordinates—like any relationship, it’s important to listen to others too.
Work on Your Social Skills & Networking
It’s not just about whom you know, but how you present yourself as a person. It can be difficult sometimes to put yourself out there, but practice makes perfect. The more you try, the more comfortable you’ll get with making small talk. Keep in touch outside of work hours so that your personal relationships are strong when it comes time to be down in the trenches for a project or an emergency situation. You have to be able to trust people and rely on them when things get tough. It’s easy to tell when someone’s blowing smoke or not engaged, which makes it easier for people to trust you.
Work on building a strong mentor-mentee relationship with your managers if possible so that they can give you honest feedback about how you’re doing and what you need to improve on. Remember that even though there are guidelines and policies at work, everyone is different. The more you can get to know your manager, the better your chances of getting what you want out of them. It’s never too late to make a change and advance your career. If any of these sounds familiar, then we encourage you to take advantage of the career planning resources today and take it seriously.