Your manager, boss or supervisor isn’t responsible for your career. While these people can give you access to more opportunities, or help you grow – it’s up to you to decide what you’re going to do to ensure your success. This means dedicating some time to effective career development.
If you’re keen to make more of an impact in your chosen career, it’s important to start with some planning. Ask yourself regularly what you want to accomplish in your professional life and take steps to figure out how you’re going to reach those targets.
Here are some quick tips to really help you enhance your career development.
Set Small Goals Often
When it comes to annual reviews, there’s a lot of focus on setting massive targets for yourself to accomplish sometime in the distant future. While it’s nice to have a good vision of what you want to accomplish eventually, focusing exclusively on long-term goals can make it difficult to maintain motivation.
When you’re only making little steps, you’re not as inspired to push forward.
Setting smaller, more achievable goals will help to keep you on track. For instance, rather than setting the goal of becoming the manager of your team and waiting to achieve that, start by setting the goal of developing more leadership skills or volunteering for more opportunities.
These goals will help you to reach your long-term target without being overwhelming.
Although it’s important to choose tangible and realistic targets for your career, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be challenging yourself too. Ultimately, if you want to be satisfied with your accomplishments, you’ll want to start by setting goals that really push you to test your limits.
Look for ways to step out of your comfort zone – even if it’s only a little. Do something that scares you slightly, but that you can still handle.
For instance, if you don’t like public speaking, you could make a plan to speak to a small local forum to test your presentation skills. This will give you some anxiety, but it’s much easier than planning to host a presentation at an event with thousands of people.
Learn, Celebrate, and Grow
As you push yourself to achieve your small, short-term goals, pay attention to everything you accomplish. Celebrate those little wins, no matter how small they might seem. Pay attention to whether you’re patting yourself on the back as often as you should be.
While celebrating yourself is crucial, it’s also important to examine areas where you’ve been unhappy with your performance tool.
Rather than beating yourself up for not being good enough, ask yourself what you’re not happy with and why. If you can get feedback from leaders and other members of your team, this could be useful too.
Every time you’re unhappy with an outcome in your professional career, it’s an opportunity to build on your skills and accomplish something new.
Look for Opportunities to Develop Knowledge
Knowledge is power in the business landscape. If you want to successfully develop your career, it’s important to commit to developing your knowledge.
Gaining education through experience, whether it’s with positive feedback or advice about something you did poorly, is a good start. However, remember to look for other ways to learn too.
There are countless courses and skill development tools online for people from virtually every industry. If you can’t find a course linked to your specific sector, you can even consider looking into certifications that are transferable across all industries, like better communication or leadership skills.
Read up on blogs and articles from thought leaders in your industry and follow podcasts which could give you valuable industry about your landscape.
Networking is another important part of building a successful career. Although it can be nerve wracking to connect with others in your industry – particularly if you’re an introverted person — it’s crucial.
In many careers, it really is who you know that matters most.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to network in today’s digital landscape. You can join groups on social media forums and dedicated industry websites. There are also digital events you might look into attending, and online expos.
If you can meet people in real-life, do try to make some time to do so. The connections you make in person are often the most meaningful. You could even look into getting a mentor to help you network with a wider range of industry professionals.
Time to Build Your Future?
It’s up to you to take control of your career and pursue the kind of accomplishments that matter most to you. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can sit back and wait for opportunities to fall into your hands. Follow the tips above.