Now is the perfect time of year to take your career to the next level. The winter blues are long gone and the silly season is nothing but a distant memory. Right now you have the opportunity to come out of hibernation mode and spring into action! If you feel stuck in a career rut and dread the alarm every morning, it’s time to do something about it.
The winter blues are long gone and the silly season is nothing but a distant memory. Right now you have the opportunity to come out of hibernation mode and spring into action! If you feel stuck in a career rut and dread the alarm every morning, it’s time to do something about it.
Taking the first steps to a career that is more rewarding isn’t as daunting as you may think. Here are some simple ways to get a fresh perspective on what you need to carve a path to career success this year.
1. Build networks
We’re constantly told how important networking is when trying to get ahead. Whether you like it or not, much of the time it is who you know and not what you know that gets you to where you want to be. If the thought of introducing yourself to a bunch of strangers sends you into a spin, take baby steps and set specific objectives. Talk to five people the first time, then aim to beat your previous “hit rate” each time you attend an event. By turning it into a game, networking becomes less scary and can actually be a lot of fun.
2. Clean up your social media
This is one thing that many people forget about when seeking out new career opportunities, but if not managed correctly, social media can be a career killer. It’s becoming more commonplace for prospective employers to check social media accounts before deciding whether to work with that person. Firstly, Google yourself and see what’s available for all the world to see. Next, delete anything that may not put you in the best light. Think disgruntled Facebook statuses about your previous workplace, or incriminating photos from your friend’s 30th birthday that have made their way onto Instagram.
3. Work out your strengths
Think about your favorite hobby or pastime. Chances are that what you enjoy doing most is also what you’re good at. The more positive an experience you have participating in an activity or honing a skill, the better you get at it, and so the cycle continues. Unveiling your true strengths will enable you to find a line of work that you’ll excel in and — as a result — are more likely to stick with. There are lots of online personality tests you can take to help determine the types of roles you’d be suited to.
4. Do something that scares youIf you don’t test your own boundaries, you won’t know what you’re truly capable of. Click To Tweet
You know the old saying, “no risk, no reward”? Well, this is definitely the case when it comes to personal and career growth. Doing what you’ve always done because it’s easy or you know it inside out is exactly why you need to push yourself. If you don’t test your own boundaries, you won’t know what you’re truly capable of and you’re not making the most of all the opportunities available to you. Join a public speaking group or offer to facilitate a training session for your colleagues. Get out of your comfort zone. You’ll feel more accomplished and get better at controlling how you react in unfamiliar situations.
5. Get feedback from others
Asking the people who know you best about your strengths and weaknesses may not be your idea of fun, but it is a great way to learn more about yourself. Get honest feedback from a handful of co-workers, friends and other people you trust. To get the most out of this exercise, ask specific but open questions such as, “What was the greatest contribution I made to X project?” You may be pleasantly surprised at some of the observations people make, and they may have noticed traits that you hadn’t previously been aware of. You’ll never know unless you ask.
6. Find a mentor
Getting others’ feedback is great, but it’s what you do with this feedback that matters. Making use of a mentor can be an excellent way to support your career goals and put into place an action plan that addresses any skill gaps. The first thing you need to ask yourself before seeking out a suitable mentor is what you’d like to get out of the relationship. Do you need guidance on how to be a successful entrepreneur? Perhaps you want to build your self-confidence in order to network effectively. Clarifying the objectives in your own mind will help make the mentoring process more beneficial for both you and your mentor.
7. Read job postings
If you’ve been out of the job hunting game for a while, the terrain may have changed significantly. Before you even consider signing up for a training course or adding to your business book collection, scour the web for current job listings. Take note of the common skills and abilities that are required for the particularly field or industry you’re interested in. Using this initial research, you can put any training needs into your overall career plan and avoid paying for courses you didn’t really need.
8. Focus your efforts
It may be tempting when considering career options to search for and apply for everything and anything. But, this can be counter-productive and get you nowhere, fast. Instead, use what you’ve learned about yourself from taking online tests, getting honest feedback and any other form of discovery you choose, to take a more targeted approach. Set some SMART goals for the coming month, or the next year. The next 5 years. Whatever the timeframe, make a career plan with specific steps that will help you achieve these goals.
9. Mix business with pleasure
Sometimes, we become so consumed and distracted by our everyday lives that we forget to ask ourselves why we continue to do the same things day in, day out. Many people complain about having to forgo doing what they love in order to make money in a job they don’t particularly enjoy. If this sounds like you, take the time to step back and think about what puts that spring in your step.
If you’re not satisfied with your current career situation, don’t expect things to change with little to no input from you. Put the effort in and you’ll be amazed at the opportunities that present themselves.
Most importantly, don’t let the fear of failure hold you back from reaching your potential!