Proven Strategies for Advancing Your Career
Some of the most effective professional growth strategies for advancing your career are taking courses, volunteering, or getting a mentor. If your manager isn’t fostering your growth, you may need to find a new employer that supports it.
A lot offers many courses to help you develop or sharpen skills in business analysis, assertiveness, and management.
Whether you want to advance within your current industry or change careers, pursuing professional development opportunities will help you reach your goals. For example, if you get promoted, taking communication courses will teach you how to communicate successfully with clients and colleagues. Continuing your education also conveys that you’re serious about improving your performance and willing to take steps toward that end.
Career counselor and assistant director of Wackerle Career and Leadership Centre Stephanie Kinkaid say that career-focused professional development can be as simple as attending training sessions, taking courses, and gaining experience in the field. Regardless of your goal, she advises that you set goals for yourself that are measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-based.
You can also continue your education outside the workplace by reading publications on your industry, joining professional groups, and attending trade shows and lectures. These activities will enable you to understand your industry better and expand your network. In addition, if you’re a manager, setting career goals for your team and providing ongoing training are great ways to demonstrate that you’re committed to the company’s success.
Taking on extra assignments or projects outside your regular job duties increases your visibility. It also shows you’re ambitious and eager to advance within your company. Plus, it’s a great way to build interpersonal relationships that can open doors for you in the future.
Talk to your boss about the career advancement goals you have in mind. Your boss will more likely support your learning and development initiatives if he knows you’re interested in moving up the ladder. He may even help you find additional training courses, mentorship opportunities, or other ways to sharpen your skills.
Getting mentored is a great way to gain specialized knowledge from someone who has already succeeded. Workplace mentoring programs can be highly effective, but you should seek informal mentoring relationships with seasoned family members, friends, college professors, and even professional groups.
The most impactful mentors share advice and wisdom, listen to mentees’ questions and concerns, and respond with feedback that can help a mentee make critical choices about their career paths. They may also serve as cheerleaders for a mentee’s goals, encouraging them to take risks and stretch outside their comfort zone.
For example, if your mentor is a senior scientist in a field of research where frequent setbacks are normal, they can help you build your confidence by showing you how to overcome an initial hurdle or delay. They can also help you develop your ability to deal with disappointments and frustration by teaching you how to remain positive during tough times. In addition, they can help you identify opportunities for growth in the workplace and recommend people and events to expose you to new contacts.
Ask for Feedback
Getting helpful feedback can be the fastest route to professional growth. It helps you identify your weaknesses and strengths and understand how others see you at work. While it would be ideal for your boss to freely offer constructive input on your performance, it’s up to you to request feedback more regularly and proactively. Doing so gives you more opportunities to adjust your course and perform at a higher level before formal reviews.
Feedback exists along a spectrum, from real-time feedback after an event to a carefully considered experience like a performance review. As you prepare to ask for feedback, consider your own goals and OKRs – people success platforms can provide an at-a-glance view of them – and your career aspirations.
Remember that the person offering feedback isn’t trying to be cruel, but rather, they’re attempting to help you. So, please take a deep breath, listen, and thank them for their time and contribution. This shows you value their perspective and can be trusted to act on their recommendations.
Networking is one of the most important things you can do for your career when looking for a job and trying to advance in your current role. A solid professional network can help you find mentors, stay informed about industry trends and learn new skills from your peers.
Networks are also critical in finding employee referrals, increasing your chances of getting hired at a company. Additionally, networking can help find leads on upcoming professional development opportunities that may not be advertised publicly.
While traditional forms of training are still relevant, it is becoming increasingly common for people to pursue other professional development methods independently. Whether taking an online course, working with a coach, or participating in a mentoring program, these strategies can effectively improve your performance at work and boost your career.