Whether you are struggling to lift yourself out of a career slump due to recession or the staggering unemployment rate or the general lack of job security, the situation may not be as bad as we first thought. Taking steps to boost your career advancement during stagnant times can be a daunting task but it is not impossible.
And that’s why we have enlisted our top five tips for guaranteed career progression to help motivate you continually and future-proof your career no matter what stage you are at in your career –
1. Up your game
Every person’s idea of success is different. Ask yourself, “what does career success look like for you?” Once you define your professional goal, create an action plan to achieve them. A great piece of advice is to create short-term and long-term goals. Make sure that you use every possible opportunity to show your commitment to the organization. Too often we assume that our bosses know what’s best for us and we will be automatically rewarded. In reality, our work may go undeservedly overlooked if we fail to stand out from the crowd.
So, don’t hesitate to ask what you want and ensure that the management understands how you expect to be rewarded for going above and beyond. Be ready to take responsibility for your work and deal with conflicts with the same ease.
In the words of Booker T. Washington,
“The role of most leaders is to get the people to think more of the leader but the role of the exceptional leader is to get the people to think more of themselves.”
Employers promote those who display excellent leadership skills and consistently own up, no matter what. If leadership doesn’t come naturally to you, then take time to acquire the skills or learn from observing your leaders in the group.
2. Expand your skillset
The limited skill set may be the reason you are stuck in your current job role. Whether you want to become better in your entrepreneurial endeavors, actively secure new job opportunities or gain insights to apply to your career path, it is a good idea to learn new skills by taking online courses. These will help you develop a broad range of competencies, skills, and abilities to proactively take charge of your career. Here are the best ways to do this –
- Develop a five-year learning plan to acquire the relevant skills and education you need
- Choose at least two skills to improve each year
- Monitor and track your learning progress
- Develop specialized skills related to your industry or profession for accelerated career growth
Don’t forget to be consistent in your efforts. Work hard to make regular progress and check-in with yourself about how you are doing. In the words of Jimmy Johnson, “The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.”
3. Break your career goal into small, achievable goals and pursue them with vigor
Reaching a specific career milestone doesn’t happen overnight. So the worst thing will be to let your goal sit and wait for an opportunity to make the progress. Instead, break your career goal into small pieces so that you can create small steps to get there faster. Each goal should be measurable, reasonable, and understandable, or else the enthusiasm will die sooner or later. Also, create a specific timeline for each goal or milestone to give you a clear path to traverse. To get a head start, ask your manager these important questions:
- What kinds of professional milestones do I need to hit?
- What are the key skill gaps that I have?
- What are the criteria for promotion?
- What type of skills do I need for project management experience?
- What are the key habits that I need to achieve career success?
Once you have all the answers that you need, you can brainstorm ideas to acquire new skills, identify future projects to get involved in, expand your viewpoints and find mentorship opportunities to make incremental progress along your career path.
4. Build your professional network
It has been rightly said that “success is not a matter of what you know, but who you know.” Networking is one of the most underrated and frequently overlooked skill for career advancement. Many professionals don’t realize that these people with skills and expertise relevant to your goals can be invaluable support especially if the work landscape changes. A well-developed networked can be a source of valuable insights, skills, referrals, and opportunities to help advance your career. You can start by joining trade organizations or alumni associations, socializing online via LinkedIn groups or other avenues, attending corporate events, volunteering, being a part of employee resource groups, and reciprocating to nurture your network.
5. Never settle for less
Most important of all, never settle for less than you deserve. Always strive for more – new skills, new opportunities, new goals. Don’t get too comfortable that you end up getting stuck in a dead-end position hoping that someday your career will turn into what you expect.
If your current company doesn’t allow career progression, it may be time to move on. It is also crucial to take important career risks and find new positions that align with your career goals. Embrace new career possibilities, acquire more knowledge, and be more proactive to respond to the lack of new opportunities. Whenever a viable opportunity comes, present yourself as the ideal candidate.
This may not be an issue in a fast-paced industry with frequent opportunities. But if you are stuck in a declining or slow-growth industry, it may feel like there is no onward career growth. This can often lead to boredom and frustration. Don’t be limited by it. Instead, broaden your horizons and choose to try an alternative path.
We live in turbulent times where the future is highly uncertain. No matter how hard you try or plan, you are likely to encounter setbacks along the way. That’s why the most successful professionals have the resilience that enables them to bounce back and look at mistakes as learning experiences. Evaluate and affirm your strengths from time to time and remain open-minded as the future unfolds. When you develop the ability to acquire better forms of knowledge or skills, it gives you a greater edge for success and prepares you for the indefinite future. And finally, let go of the ultimate enemy or success – procrastination. As Napoleon Hill famously said,
“Do it now! can affect every phase of your life. It can help you do the things you should do but don’t feel like doing. It can keep you from procrastinating when an unpleasant duty faces you. But it can also help you do those things that you want to do. It helps you seize those precious moments that, if lost, may never be retrieved.”
To help you in this journey, Great Learning has come up with a number of upskilling courses from various domains like AIML, Data Science, Cloud Computing, Cyber Security and more. Figure out your area of interest and upskill or reskill to realize your aspirations.1