5 Ways to Advance Your Career Every Day
With so much professional competition in the job market, getting ahead can sometimes seem frustrating. Trying to advance your career can be downright maddening if you don’t get results. The most important thing when you are trying to elevate your career is to remain positive and avoid becoming bitter when you face obstacles. Showing anger or becoming short-tempered out of aggravation could develop into a shortcoming that could derail any unforeseen opportunities that might come your way in your industry.
Pep talks can seem cheesy or feel watered down. Speeches or professional advice about advancing your career may simply reiterate that you need to keep learning, be a team player, set goals, or learn how to absorb critical feedback. But you already know this. This kind of advice could remind you of reruns on late night television. What you really need to know about advancing your career is how communication is everything. You don’t have to be the smartest person in the room to get ahead; you have to be dependable. People want colleagues they can count on, not employees who will walk out the door without notice because they have a better offer.
A younger culture is brewing and the art of ghosting is becoming an issue for employers. With so many options for workers and a competitive job market that seeks top talent, some workers prefer not to deal with out-processing or telling their boss the big news. Simply quitting your job without giving notice is a detriment to yourself and your reputation. Eventually, it can even backfire on you. Everything you do and everyone you meet can potentially play a role in your career.
Here are 5 ways that will help advance your career every day and build you a strong network so falling behind won’t be a concern:
1. Meeting People
Keep it classy. Meeting people is incredibly valuable when trying to advance your career. You may meet people at social hours, continuing education events, seminars, or meetings. The most important thing is that you don’t ever brush off a new meet. When you meet someone, take down their contact info or exchange business cards. Even if first impressions may present a vibe that this person can’t help you, you don’t know who they are, or, more important, you don’t know whom they know.
Don’t be too quick to judge. Keep a list of professionals you meet and update your Outlook contacts. Industries are usually smaller worlds than you think and whether or not your assessment puts this person in a category of someone you would hang out with shouldn’t matter. It’s possible this person could find you your next career move or opportunity. Keep in contact regularly with your new meets and create your own network with some fluidity.
2. Study Your Industry
How do you treat your position within your company? Do you consider your role a career path or just a job? Improving your career every day should begin with your mindset. You shouldn’t let your head check in at 9 and check out at 5. There’s a fine line of balance in play, but if you are only living your life on the weekends or during happy hour, you probably just have a job. A career should be more interlaced with your everyday life. Going back to work on Monday shouldn’t feel painful, it should be enjoying. You should maintain your health, eat a well-balanced diet, and get plenty of sleep. Overworking yourself can lead to health problems, but a dedication to knowing what’s happening in your industry is vital.
Read articles, do research on competitive companies and search for innovations or new technology. When you meet new people, ask them questions about their role. Part of connecting with people is studying your industry. Relating to each other through stories and cases that you are working on can really put your mind into the perspective of what’s happening. Staying up on the latest news, understanding new concepts and developing a good habit can lead to enriching opportunities. Once you’ve done the homework of studying your industry, meeting professionals and discussing the industry, then you should concentrate on retaining the knowledge and seeking the next step.
3. Retaining and Applying Your Knowledge
Keeping up on your industry is one way to advance your career, but retaining that knowledge and applying it to your own daily life and work platform will put you above the rest. Change is a simple word with a complexity built within it. Change happens more frequently as we live in a technologically-advanced society. If you can be adaptable to change, you will survive and prosper in your industry.
Similar to your smartphone, keeping your brain updated is important. Keep downloading information and follow innovative tactics that are surfacing among the leaders within your industry. If your specific role is administrative, find out what systems are being utilized to make offices work more efficiently. How is record-keeping transforming in your current industry? If you are a medical professional, there are certification criteria you have to keep up with, but it doesn’t have to end there.
A good way to improve your career is to gauge where the industry is going. Think about what will happen in the next 5-10 years. Looking down when you walk might save you from tripping or stumbling on your feet, but keeping your head up and seeing what’s in front of you will help you understand how your role will parallel with your industry in the future.
Professionals within your industry are always trying to invent or reinvent the best operating system or procedure to simplify achieving a goal. When it comes to learning about innovation and trying to foresee what lies ahead, being able to work with others is a key component to advancing your career. It starts with everyday work and builds beyond that.
Successfully collaborating with others will make you a qualified candidate for any position you may be reaching for. You don’t have to be the smartest person in the room, but if you are willing to work with others to achieve a goal, then you will notice more opportunities presenting themselves. Nobody wants to work with someone who has a bad attitude or is difficult to get along with. If you have an open mind and respect others, then collaborating should be a skill you can continue to develop.
Obviously, there will always be those who make collaborating difficult or take the fun out of trying to be a team. The real world can be harsh, but maintain your positive attitude. Meeting new people and sharing information is the first step to successful collaboration. The most important part about collaborating is that you want to be where you are. The other colleagues you work with will feel as strongly or will reflect their passion in their work. If you aren’t driven, you will have a more difficult time advancing in your career.
5. Check Yourself
Don’t second-guess yourself. Is this really what you want to do? Do you find fulfillment in your industry? If the best part about your current position is the paycheck, then that doesn’t really equate to fulfillment. You are probably living your life on the weekends and hitting the pause button the moment you pull into work or open your office door.
Check yourself. If you don’t, someone else will or they will call your bluff. If you don’t have passion for what you are trying to accomplish, then advancing your career becomes that much more difficult. Part of stretching yourself to new endeavors and achieving success is having daily passion in everything you do. You are building your experience up like a complex structure or building. If you are looking for shortcuts or you are just dabbling in this role, then find a new passion. There are people in your industry who want to be there and will do anything to advance. Check your passion, check your head, and make sure you’re not only communicating with other professionals, but that you’re also communicating with yourself.
Jon Hauer is a freelance writer and digital designer originally from Minnesota now based in Del Rey, CA. He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication Studies from the University of St. Thomas and graduated from Pepperdine University in 2015 with a Master’s of Fine Arts Degree in Writing. He has worked in the tourism/hospitality industry for years and writes professionally on a number of topics including travel, business, marketing, tourism, home services, art, sports, entertainment, news, etc.