Catapult Your Career: Top Career Growth Strategies
My day gig has afforded me the opportunity to work with hundreds of employees. Many of these individuals are looking to grow their career in some way or another. Here are the top strategies that I have found that work to maximize your career growth.
The old saying is true, it’s not WHAT you know, it is WHO you know. Furthermore, it is who knows you that is most important. From day one on the job, you should start to build your professional network both internally and externally. Inside your company, you can grow your network by volunteering for special projects, participating in extra-curricular activities, and building a reputation for not being a jerk. Externally, you can participate in local networking events, have an active LinkedIn profile, and keep in touch with former colleagues. Regardless of how you grow your network, always treat people kindly and always add value. You never know who could be your boss one day.
We all have a tendency to become comfortable from time to time. This comfort can cause you to become lazy in regards to your own growth and development. You are confident in the role that you are in and do not feel the urgency to learn more. This is very dangerous for your long-term career trajectory. Those that continue to excel and move up the ladder continuously learn and challenge themselves. Case in point, most CEOs read on average 4-5 books per month. Today, there is literally no excuse not to continue learning. Sites like Coursera and Udemy offer free or super affordable courses on any topic imaginable. Most local libraries offer virtual libraries where you can download free e-books. Companies are offering more professional development opportunities than ever before. Seriously, no excuses.
Master Time Management
You can have all the skills in the world but if you don’t know how to effectively manage your time, your career will stall. As you move up the ladder, you will become busier. You will have more on your plate, more important projects, and more pressing timelines. You can quickly become a hot mess if you don’t continue to refine your time management skills. Read a few time management books per year, take a time management course on Udemy, listen to time management podcasts, and utilize technology to help you become as efficient as possible.
Have a Mentor
I have been lucky to have several mentors throughout my career, both formal and informal. Each of these mentors has helped me at various points in my career whether it be providing advice on a difficult work situation or keeping an ear to the ground for opportunities that might interest me. If you don’t have a mentor, simply ask someone that you look up to. It takes a moment of courage, but the benefits are endless. If your company offers a formal mentoring program. participate in that as well. You can have several mentors in different areas, just make sure that you respect their time and your own time. It’s also a good idea to make sure that you pay it forward and mentor others that are coming up behind you. Teaching teaches.
Take On Something Difficult
Find something that no one wants to do and do that. Too often, people take on a couple easy projects do an alright job and then wonder why it didn’t get them far in their career Well, it’s hard to stand out from average when you do average work. Find a challenge that others run from and take it on. Challenge yourself to learn as much as you about it, become an expert, and set clear goals for yourself. Do a good job and you will be a hero. People will remember this much more than you taking on an easy task that anyone could complete. I have taken on projects in my career that people still talk about years after. It works.
Be Nice to Your Boss
You will have good bosses and you will have bad bosses throughout your career. Be nice to all of them. You never want to get a reputation for being whiny, negative, and high-maintenance. That is a reputation that could take years to get rid of (if it ever goes away). Of course, it is easy to be nice to your boss if they are great but it is equally important. Don’t take them for granted, always try to make them look better, and always look for ways to add value and make their lives easier. The employees that do this well tend to soar because their bosses become their biggest advocates and cheerleaders. At the end of the day, professionalism and professional courtesy are never a bad thing for career growth.
Avoid (Too-Much) Gossip
Gossip is annoying, petty, and can be extremely damaging. Gossip can also be fun, engaging, and glue that brings people and teams together. The key difference is content and frequency. Everyone gossips, but you never want to be the one that gossips the most. We all know those people that live to share the latest gossip with anyone that happens to comes their way. They believe their job is to gossip. Don’t be that person. We also all have that person who gossips in a nasty, hateful way. These people are typically extremely narcissistic and love when other people fail. They are the absolute worst. Don’t be that person either. Moral of the story is that innocent infrequent gossip (like “Sally might buy a new puppy and it is so cute and I am so happy for her” type gossip) is actually fun and builds intimacy with others. Just make sure you keep it to a minimum and keep it positive.
what career growth strategies do you have to share? Anything that has worked well for you? leave a comment below!
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