The New Year typically rings in a lot of change, but not everyone wants to focus on weight loss or personal health. Some working professionals are more concerned with shedding their current career for something different, like an international position, a promotion, or a new job.
Advancing your career will take a lot of time and effort on your part. Go beyond imagining your next move and start taking action by using our career advancement tips.
How to Advance Your Career This Year
When it comes to career growth, most professionals have a lot of options. From searching for opportunities overseas to goal setting, here’s how you can upgrade your career.
Infographic by Leaderonomics: How To Win Over Your Competitors?
1. Set Clear, Obtainable Goals
If you aren’t clear with what you want, you won’t be clear on how to get it. Without concrete goals, you could derail even your best efforts for advancement, so it’s important to take some time to think about where you want to be in the next six months, years, and beyond.
Ask yourself why you want to explore career advancement in the first place. Is it to get a promotion, a new job, or more responsibility in your current role? What do you need to ensure your advancement race makes the finish line? What’s your time line to reach these goals?
To group your answers in a useful way, use a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) Analysis. By analysing yourself using the SWOT framework, you can separate yourself from your peers and further develop your abilities and specialized talents.
Here’s an example of “Jordan’s” personal SWOT analysis for you to use:
What advantages do I have over others? What personal resources can I access? How do other people perceive my strengths? What am I proud of?
I am creative, and I impress clients with my new perspective on their brands. I communicate well with clients. I’m a talented marketer and writer.
What tasks do I avoid due to lack of confidence? Am I confident in my skills and training? What personality traits or habits hold me back in my field?
I work too quickly, and my work quality suffers because of it. I have a difficult time speaking in front of clients and stress out when I have to.
How can I take advantage of the current market? Are my competitors failing in some way? Is there a need in my industry that no one is filling?
Industry competitors treat their smaller clients poorly. I can expand my network by going to more networking conferences and training seminars.
What obstacles do I face in my industry? Is my career/industry changing? Does technology threaten my job position? Could my weaknesses lead to more threats?
My industry is seeing growth, but I’m overworked due to staffing shortages, leading to rushed work. My job will be impacted by automation software.
By getting answers to these questions, you’ll be able to see which skills you’ll need to improve on your weaknesses and limit threats. In our SWOT example, “Jordan” could speak to their boss about why focusing on smaller clients is necessary, which shows initiative and creativity.
Their employer is also likely to be impressed with their leadership skills and may even make them a project head. “Jordan” may even be considered for a management position.
2. Become an Expatriate and Work Overseas
Becoming an expat is one of the best ways to advance your career. By relocating, you open yourself up to a larger job market, advancement opportunities, and raises.
While you can move inside the United States to find a better job, doing so comes with risks.
Oftentimes, career professionals won’t have access to the best opportunities due to their location. Some industries, like tech, are booming in large cities where the cost of living is high. Rural coders may not be able to move or grow in their industry due to a lack of funds.
Cost of living is a big reason why professionals can’t grow in their careers. Why would a professional move to the city, even if they’re guaranteed a job, when their rent is twice, even three times what it was back home? That could negate any raise they may earn.
This may interest you: The 4 Es Of Successful Career Transitions
However, when you work with an organisation or employer who is willing to pay for your relocation costs, you minimise your risks and foster your own career growth. Plus, moving to foreign country nets your international experience and a lower cost of living in most cases.
While these benefits sound great, there’s a catch. American citizens have to file a US tax return every year unless they renounce their citizenship. While the renunciation fee is $2,350, that’s often a lot cheaper than filing two tax returns and potentially paying yearly back taxes.
3. Develop Your Leadership Skills
More often than not, job advancement requires that you oversee or manage a team. For this reason, it’s essential that you develop your leadership soft skills to ensure you don’t get passed up for a promotion. Great leaders must positively interact with their team to make a difference.
Supplementary reading: Grow Through Design Thinking
As a leader, you need to be able to clearly explain to your employees everything from tasks to organization goals. Leaders need to inspire workers to go that extra mile, stay honest with their employees, and encourage creativity. Through feedback, leaders can empower their workforce.
Here are some ways leadership feedback grows an organisation:
- Leaders mentor employers through their mistakes, reducing mishaps in the future.
- Leaders listen to their employees, build strong relationships, and establish trust.
- Leaders involve employees in the decision process and encourage problem-solving.
Remember that leaders aren’t bosses. Bosses give orders to their employees, whereas leaders inspire and support the workforce. Under a boss, employees have a hard time thriving because they’re afraid of conflict, but leaders nurture their workplace by offering praise and direction.
If, under your leadership, employees are happy, you’ll open up more doors to management and executive positions in your current company and beyond. Word travels fast, and other lucrative career opportunities may present themselves when you develop your leadership skills.
4. Make Networking a Priority
You won’t make it far in today's business world without support. A professional network can help you grow and advance your career, but who should you include? Fill your network space with mentors, industry professionals, co-workers, inspiring people, and people you look up to.
Remember that the quality of your network is more important than its quantity. If you don’t fill your network with the right people, you won’t cash in on the following benefits:
- Idea Exchange: Career success is attributed to the pool of information or ideas you’ve garnered over the past. An industry professional can teach you how to grow in your career using best practices so you make fewer mistakes along the way.
- Publicity: The more people you speak to, the more relevant you seem to employers. You also benefit from more visibility, which gives you more access to job opportunities.
- Self-Confidence: Public speaking is difficult for everybody, but it’s an essential skill for most jobs and all interviews. Networking lets you practice your communication skills, making you a more confident speaker.
82% of employers placed referrals above all other hiring options to earn a better investment return. Referrals, which come from your network, are one of the top three recruiting methods for employers. Growing your network is very, very important for career growth.
Read more: The 7-step Guide to Networking
Don’t neglect the people currently in your network. You’ll want to strengthen your connections while fostering new ones. Reach out to people just to say hi, especially if you haven’t stayed in touch. To grow your network, try LinkedIn, community forums, Slack, and online events.
5. Invest in Your Personal Development
There are endless ways to learn, so there’s no reason not to invest in your professional and personal development.
Learning new skills does more than promote career growth, it also prevents stagnation and boredom. Choose a learning style that suits you to stay motivated.
Virtual learning and online courses are accessible ways to improve your skills. You should also consider reading books, attending webinars, going back to school, or completing an on-the-job training course. Focus on hard skills that benefit your career advancement or soft skills.
Hard skills are teachable and measurable abilities, like learning how to use a computer or filing taxes, whereas soft skills are traits that make you a good employee, like negotiation.
Employers are always looking for interpersonal skills, such as leadership, problem-solving, collaboration, conflict resolution, and communication. Essentially, employers want a “people person” who’s patient, empathetic, adaptable, responsible, and self-motivated.
This may interest you: What Is Self-Paced Learning?
Most hard skills are career-dependent, but customer management skills, marketing skills, and IT skills are needed in several industries. If you know how to sell, keep a customer calm, and use a computer, you’ll qualify for most entry-level jobs and multiple careers.
6. Don’t Forget to Have Fun
Adequate work-life balance is hard to achieve, especially when you’re taking on more responsibility on top of your 9 to 5. If you’re all work and no play, you may burn out and set your career goals back, so it’s vital that you take some time to recharge your batteries.
There’s more to life than working, but if you still want to improve your skills on your off time, consider making learning your hobby. If you’re more mindful with your time, you can still have fun while reaching your goals. Just try not to get too distracted and forget about your direction.
Read more: It Pays To Have Fun At Work!
For example, several professionals learn languages in their free time without thinking that their 10-minute a day hobby can help them find better jobs.
Although investing in your career growth can feel like a monumental task, it’s worth it in the end. Not only will you earn more money, but you’ll also learn several new skills and potentially live in a different country. But first, you need to set clear, obtainable goals that lead to your success.
While taking the time to invest in your leadership skills, network, and professional development is necessary, it’s just as important that you have fun. If you don’t take the time to live a little, you may burn out. When you feel like giving up, slow your pace or take a rest, but never give up!
Be sure to check out the media below: