2019 offers every opportunity for career growth; whether it’s making changes, growing in your current role, or just learning new things.
If you feel your career has hit a bit of a dull patch over the last few years and you want it to grow and so it doesn't get stagnant, then choose to make the most of 2019 work-wise, and watch doors opening for you.
Let’s look at 10 things you can do to help with your career growth and goals this year –
1) Your career - Your responsibility
With many large companies now making staff training and development less of a priority, probably due to recessions and a higher turnover of staff in across the industries, there is more responsibility on the individual to keep themselves up to speed with personal study and further training. Smaller companies who really need the staff with necessary experience are generally hiring them in that way rather than training from the ground up. If you want growth and more experience, you need to actively seek it yourself and not wait for it to come along.
2) Make a career plan
Set yourself a long-term career plan detailing what you want to do from this point. Ask yourself, “What do I really want to do?” or “Where do I see myself in 3, 5, and 10 years time?” If you already know people in the fields or roles you are looking for, make them a part of your network of contacts and study their success in that field so you know what skills, traits and experience got them there. Ask for advice and get as much guidance from any seniors in that area as you can.
3) Align yourself with your company’s vision
Look at the role you play in your company, and compare it to the vision of how your company wants to be seen by its customers, and what its community objectives are in your country. How do they all compare with each other? How do your own work ethics and practices/beliefs compare with that of your company? What can you do to make the most of this to better position yourself for promotion, or are you really matched to your company’s vision at all?
4) Stay customer focused
Never forget that it is the customer/client that makes the business wheels keep turning, regardless of how hard the staff work. Whether the customers you have are within your company but in other departments, or are external customers, maintain your awareness of what makes them come to you for services. Listen to what the customer needs or asks for, and let it shape your daily work by meeting those expectations.
5) Care and share
When we work with others it gives us a greater sense of achievement and success as we work towards a greater goal. But being part of a team also makes us stronger too through our increased exposure to new things and the value and appreciation we gain from others. It helps build vision, innovation, creative inspiration, and passion for producing winning results.
6) Learn communication as a key skill
Communication skills are a must across so many areas now, and can literally secure or destroy your career. If you can’t communicate properly across your network of contacts, clients/customers, and of course colleagues and managers, then you are missing a major cog in the work-wheel. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your communication skills, and get your friends and colleagues or line manager to give you feedback too. How do you perform in listening, reading, presenting information, public speaking, passing on messages, sending out information and news, and how do you breakdown and understand what has been sent to you? Try and assess yourself on a scale of 1 – 10, and ask your contacts to do likewise. If you appear to be weaker in some areas, commit to improving these and bringing them up to a decent standard. Better communication skills will make you more efficient and a more valuable team member, and there are many courses available online or locally that can help you become a better communicator.
7) Cross-train for career fitness
One of the best ways to grow your skills and better position yourself for career movement is to cross-train with other departments within your organisation, or even with business partners and third party suppliers. This is a great way to expand on your experience, let other people see what you’re capable of, and opens up new potential directions to go in if some work doors close for you.
8) Become an experience-explorer
Nowadays qualifications are being looked on as less important than relevant experience in some fields. Graduates fresh out of university are finding that there are less vacancies and too many degree caliber job seekers, regardless of the level of Honors pass. Seek areas where you can expand on what you know through self-study, joining project groups at work such as Six Sigma quick-hits, contribute to departmental problem-solving teams, or ask for cross-training opportunities as we discussed above. Volunteering for special assignments out-with your usual remit can be a good option too. Discuss finding opportunities to broaden your experience and skill base with your manager.
9) Find a mentor
Mentors are a good source of encouragement and guidance, and offer great insight for career direction. If you have a contact within your company that you look up to and feel you have a good rapport with, see if they might consider being open to sharing some career advice as a mentor, and explain your career goals and objectives to them.
10) Network to get-work
If you haven’t already got “networking” on your career to-do list, then write it on there now as a priority. It is considered one of the most important career contact makers, and contributes to around 70% of new job starts. Demonstrate your skills and experience as you make new connections and introduce yourself through groups such as professional associations, charitable organizations, team events, company seminars and workshops, trade shows and recruitment fairs, or even social or sports events. Increase your success by mixing with other successful and experienced people, and you’ll see your career opportunities flourish.
What areas will you be making changes in for your work or career plans in the year ahead?
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