Graduating from college and landing a job isn’t just enough. The world has become so competitive, so you must do well in your job and progress in your domain. And for that, you will need to invest in career development.
Career advancement involves continuously developing new skills and learning about the potential ways to grow the career. Understanding what career development is and what you can do to improve yours will provide numerous benefits, regardless of your industry/sector. Let’s see in detail:
What is Career Development and Why is it Important?
Career development is the process of selecting a proper work path as per one’s choices, enhancing skills, and evolving in the role. Sometimes, it is also related to changing the field or industry. It is all about exploring, making decisions, and shaping your career. As it is a lifelong process, it requires a long-term vision.
An individual might prioritize his personality in career exploration to choose the best job role. Ultimately, career development revolves around determining the passion, setting long-term professional goals, progressing in the role, and switching careers as the interests change.
Tips for Career Development
Many companies invest time and resources to develop their staff’s skills and boost productivity. Your employer might do it, too. But no matter how hard your managers try, only you are responsible for career development in the end. So you should keep working on yourself. Here, we have listed some tips for you to grow your career:
Keep the Long-Term Goals in Mind
At some point, you might get distracted from the ultimate professional goal. But it is essential to keep up with it as any changes in your career plan or goal can affect your job satisfaction levels. Further, you should break down the goal into small parts that can be easily achievable. Accomplishing and setting small goals and keeping the ultimate aim in mind will help you grow. Here is what you should do:
- Map out your goals and align them with your professional life. Keep the bigger picture in mind.
- Set a timeline to reach the small goals and celebrate every accomplishment.
Self-assessment is vital to evolve skills and making progress. Therefore, you must be open to feedback and admire the people who guide you. Usually, managers provide feedback during the appraisal cycle. So, you should work on weaknesses and areas of improvement mentioned in the appraisal letter to overcome drawbacks. You can also improve by asking follow-up questions after meetings/presentations to discover what you did well and where you need to focus. Here are some other things to consider when seeking feedback:
- Ask the right questions to the right people. Take notes of important information.
- Be thankful for others’ time. Reflect on their advice in your work and evaluate the changes.
Get a Mentor
Taking the help of someone with proven experience in the same field can help you acquire valuable knowledge. Your manager can also be an excellent mentor to teach you the necessary skills for your current and future roles. You can seek their help by scheduling periodic meetings about the career path. Many companies arrange mentorship programs for their staff. If yours doesn’t, you must find a coach or expert to advise you. Below mentioned tips will help you find a good mentor:
- Firstly, determine what you need in your career and what you want to develop. Then, check your professional network and find a person that possesses the knowledge and can guide you.
- Prepare a pitch to convince them. Admire their work and skills. Be polite when asking for help and arrange meetings regularly.
Keep Investing in Upskilling and Reskilling
If you have identified your drawbacks, you must expand your job skills by investing both time and resources. To accelerate your career, you must upskill or reskill yourself constantly. If you like your current job and industry, then you must upskill. And if you want to change your industry or domain, you should go for reskilling. You can leverage online courses to expand your skill set. Furthermore, you can try these techniques:
- Ask for stretch opportunities. Take projects outside your usual tasks to develop competency. If you want to reskill, then get involved in the particular field and start from the basics.
- Follow industry leaders on social media platforms and try to apply their advice to work. Join a professional or industrial association, and keep in touch with experts.
Build Leadership Skills
Once you have acquired job-related skills, you must become a leader for further progress. Employers often look for leaders who can help them set effective strategies and grow the business. Since you joined your current industry, many people might have helped you to succeed, but leadership will make you help others in their careers. You should build the following leadership skills:
- Agility and adaptability are the two most demanding skills in the current workplace. Leaders need to facilitate the change before anyone else, so you must be ready for the change.
- Relationship-building skills will help you make an effective bond with your team members so that you can get the most out of them. It will also smoothen your relations with the company management.
Grow Network and Communicate Well
Once you have developed yourself as a leader, you must grow your network to gain new perspectives and ideas from other leaders. For career development, professional networking is essential because it brings you new opportunities and challenges that ultimately improve your skills. Keep in touch with your network, and share valuable ideas and resources with them so that you will receive the same in return. Overall, this will help you stay engaged in the industry and discover great opportunities. Here is how you can master networking:
- Be visible on social media platforms and share knowledgeable insights regularly. Also, admire others for their achievements and ideas.
- Attend networking events and build new contacts. Collaborate with others on different channels and make a group of individuals.
Taking a Step Towards Career Development
We live in highly uncertain times. So no matter how hard you try and set yourself in a good position, setbacks are inevitable. That’s why you must continuously invest in career progression.
Career development is not a straight line; you will face many curves. However, your resilience to bounce back and look at mistakes will define your career success. Evaluate and strengthen your weaknesses, and continue education throughout your career to acquire new skills. Learning new skills gives you an edge for success and makes you stronger for the indefinite future.