We spend roughly one third of our life at work. When you are really passionate about what you do and have clear career goals you want to achieve, those 8-9 hours a day will feel like an energy booster instead of an energy drainer. Check out this article for effective tips on how to score a promotion, advance your career, and grow professionally.
The economy is recovering, but many people still find themselves stuck in dead-end jobs they don’t really enjoy. When you feel like you aren’t appreciated at the workplace and aren’t motivated enough to work hard to make an impression on your colleagues and supervisors, you can easily get discouraged and depressed.
Moving towards accomplishing something and making an effort to advance your career allows you to stay passionate about your job and more focused on the work; thus, you’ll be more excited to head out to the office in the morning and feel better about yourself when you get home at night. Hard work and motivation should be the motivators that keep you going, while a genuine interest in developing your skills will ensure your professional growth. Here are ten tips that will get you on the path to career success.
Figure out What You Want
Start by defining what success really means to you. While scoring your boss’s job may seem like the obvious answer, finally getting there might not make you happy. Some individuals thrive in a corporate environment, while others feel better when they have the opportunity to shape their own schedules and work for themselves. Ask yourself this: will you actually enjoy having the responsibilities that come with a promotion? Perhaps you don’t like to supervise people or handle the stress that comes with more responsibility. Be honest with yourself and think about what the ideal job would look like. Then, hatch out a plan that will get you there.
Ask for an Evaluation
Asking for an evaluation is a bold move, no doubt about it. However, it can provide invaluable insight on how to advance your career. Negative feedback may be unsettling, but it will give you the opportunity to identify your problem areas and work on improving your performance.
If you are self-employed, contact your clients and ask them for a sincere assessment of your work. Also, a good idea would be to reach out to past colleagues and ask them for ideas on how to get better at what you do.
Take a Course
Just because you’re currently working doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t look for clever ways to expand your horizons and your knowledge. Taking an online course or signing up for classes at a local school will allow you to develop new skills and improve your current ones. This shows that you have the motivation and passion to invest in yourself; and it’s a gesture that can easily impress your supervisors or current clients.
If you want to advance your career, taking a course in public speaking is your best shot at improving communication abilities and gaining more confidence in yourself. Once you get over the uneasiness that comes with getting up and talking in front of a crowd, it will feel effortless to speak up during work meetings, represent your interests during a sit-down with your boss, or simply approach potential new clients and sell your product/service.
Chase After Your Dreams
“There is no such thing as failure — failure is just life trying to move us in another direction,” Oprah told new Harvard graduates last year. Fear of failure can easily prevent you from changing careers or opening your own business. However, if you think that making this change will bring joy and passion back into to your life, we can see no reason you shouldn’t go for it.
Nonetheless, you have to play it smart when you decide to leave your current job and pursue new and exciting opportunities. You need an emergency fund that covers your expenses for at least six months, in case your new endeavors fail to turn a profit right away. You should also seek advice from people who’ve done what you plan to do; they can provide useful pointers on how to succeed.
Overcome Your Fear of Success
Fear of success is real and quite common. Let’s say your boss asks you to take on more responsibility – do you react with enthusiasm or do you start to come up with reasons why you shouldn’t accept the proposition? If it’s the latter, you have to get to the bottom of your fear and reduce your reluctance to achieve your goals.
There are many things that can cause fear of success. Maybe you fear what success will bring (longer working hours, spending less time with family); maybe you think that the higher we climb in life, the further we're going to fall; or maybe you simply don’t trust that you have the skills necessary to get the job done. Whatever it is, you have to identify the cause and remind yourself that you are the only one in charge of your time and actions, and that failure can actually make you stronger. Furthermore, as long as you work hard and dedicate yourself to the job, you can always develop skills you may currently lack.
Network, Network, Network
Building business relationships means making yourself available to others who interact with the same industries you do. Keep your social networking profiles updated and attend industry events in order to connect with other professionals that may help you boost your career. Make a name for yourself in your field – the more people who know who you are, the better the chances of having exciting business opportunities come your way.
Research Industry Standards
Many people believe that networking is only important when you are looking for work. That’s not true –nurturing professional relationships should be an ongoing task. For instance, let’s say you don’t plan to change jobs, but get a good offer from a competing company. Take this offer to your boss and see if they’re willing to meet it. You can end up with a raise or with better benefits.
Researching industry trends and keeping up with what employees from similar companies make will give you an edge when renegotiating your salary package.
Clean up Social Media Accounts
Party pictures, embarrassing status updates, and inappropriate comments don’t really scream “I’m extremely good at my job.” In fact, they can be a red flag to any potential employer or client doing some basic research on you. You never know who’s checking out your social media profiles, so scrutinize them to ensure you will make a good first impression to anyone them out.
Find a Mentor
Find someone that you respect or admire professionally and ask them to mentor you. Most people will be happy to pass along advice they have learned over the years. You can ask them on what your next step should be, career-wise, and also share your ideas with them. A good mentor will help you perfect your plan of accomplishing your goals.
You won’t get far in your career without passion. Even if you’re talented, without hard work and dedication, you will likely wake up one day and realize that you’ve been wasting precious time stuck doing something you don’t particularly enjoy.
When you find yourself lacking initiative and ambition, analyze your current situation and figure out if your time wouldn’t be better spent doing something else: getting another job, pursuing a new career or working for yourself.
By taking matters into your own hands and always keeping an eye out for new opportunities to grow, you give yourself the best chance to achieve any career goals you set. Don’t get discouraged, keep a positive attitude, and challenge yourself constantly and you’ll find yourself on road to success. Good luck!