Career development is extremely important to the American worker. In fact, career development ranks second to compensation as the reason why employees leave their organizations.
But, if you’re looking to advance your career, you can’t rely solely on your employers to do it for you.
There are plenty of things you can do on your own as well.
Check out this guide to learn the top tips for career advancement in the coming year.
#1 Define What Career Success Looks Like for You
First things first, you need to define what career advancement and success look like for you.
Everyone has their own personal definition of success. For some people, career success might mean getting a role as a coveted executive.
For others, it might mean working a schedule that’s more flexible and allows them to spend more time with their family. And, for others, career success might mean leaving the 9 to 5 world completely and working for themselves.
Whatever your definition is, it’s important that you specify it early on. Saying that you ‘want to advance your career’ isn’t enough. Without a specific goal in mind, you won’t be able to form a plan to go about achieving that goal.
#2 Establish Goals and a Timeline
Once you’ve defined what success means to you, it’s time to turn your thoughts into action.
Start by making a chart of where you are right now and where you want to be a year from now, five years from now, and ten years from now. And, make sure to keep this document handy, as it’s the beginning of your career roadmap.
Also, when creating this chart, make sure you set mini-goals along the way, as these will keep you motivated to reach your big goal. For example, let’s say your career goal is to one day own your own restaurant. Maybe, it’s your goal to be a restaurant manager three years from now, or to earn your sommelier certificate one year from now.
Also, write down everything you need to do to reach each short-term goal. Maybe you need to attend networking events? Or, maybe you need to earn certain work-related certifications? Or, maybe you need to earn a certain amount of money?
Whatever it is, make sure you have a clear understanding of what you need to do to reach your goals, as this will help turn your dreams into action.
#3 Throw a Networking Party
Networking is one of the best ways to advance your career. But, don’t wait for a networking event to come your way.
Instead, take some initiative by throwing your own networking party.
Putting one together is easier than you think. All you need to do is buy some cheese and wine and invite some people over.
And, tell everyone you invite to bring at least two other people- whether they’re co-workers or cousins, it doesn’t matter. The goal of a networking party is to connect with people whom you normally wouldn’t come in contact with.
You never know who you’re going to meet at one of these events, and throwing one yourself is a low-pressure way to connect with others.
#4 Expand Your Skill Set
Expanding your skillset is one surefire way to advance your career. Not only does this allow you to polish your resume, but it also shows your current employer how seriously you take your job.
The industry you work in will determine the types of things you should do to expand your skillset. But, let’s say, for example, that you work in marketing.
If you work in this field, there are a number of certifications you can get to expand your career, such as the HubSpot Inbound Marketing Certification, Facebook BluePrint Certification, Google Ads Certification, or the Google Analytics IQ Certification.
You can also do more general things to develop your skillset, such as taking a toastmasters course or learning how to code. Or, if you work in sales, you can read about these skills which you should develop to help you stand out in your career.
If you’re stuck for ideas, talk to your manager about things you can do to expand your skillset. If it’s a course or some type of certification, you can see if they’ll cover the costs of it.
#5 Find a Mentor
Do you ever look back on your career thus far and think, “I wish someone would have told me to do that five years ago”.
Well, a mentor is that someone.
With a mentor, you get unbiased, objective advice on your career. A mentor can help you spot the mistakes you’re about to make and help reroute you to more successful options. They can also offer insight when it comes to forming realistic goals for the future.
If you don’t already have a mentor, you can look for one in your current or previous workplace. You can also reach out to old faculty members or professors you admired, or, you can reach out to professionals on LinkedIn.
#6 Join a Professional Organization
Last but not least, we recommend joining a professional organization to advance your career.
Again, the organization you join will depend on the industry you work in. If you’re a female computer programmer, for example, then you could join Girls Who Code. If you work in sales or communications, then you may want to consider joining Toastmasters.
Or, if you work in nursing, you may want to consider joining the American Nursing Association.
Career Advancement: Are You Ready for Your Career to Take Off?
By following these career advancement tips, your career will reach new heights in the coming year.
The key is to start implementing these tips today. Otherwise, a full year will pass by without you having done anything before you know it!
And, if you liked this blog post, be sure to check back in with our blog for more career advice!