Whether you’re between gigs or feeling stuck in a rut at your current job, chances are your career could you use a boost if things have stalled for quite some time. Luckily, there are a number of career management strategies you can do to maximize your opportunities and progress to the next level of your chosen profession.
While no two industries are the same, the following suggestions apply to pretty much all situations and can help you quickly turn things around with the help of career management:
1. Set specific goals
As the saying commonly says – Rome wasn’t built in a day. The same principle applies to your career management. Consistent effort is always rewarded in the end, but only if it’s guided by specific goals. Do you want to find a better job?
Have a set goal of filling out 10 job applications a day. Does your hope lie in bettering your skill-set? Make a promise that you will attend at least one workshop or take one online class per month. These goals need not be spectacular in scope.
In fact, if you always aim for broke you will quickly find yourself flirting with burnout symptoms. But by setting achievable goals and then completing them on time you’ll be gearing yourself up for increased success without pushing yourself too hard in the process.
2. Learn how to present yourself properly
Boosting your career isn’t just about what you do. How you present yourself and your achievements to the world matters just as much. This includes everything from the way you dress to the manner in which you redact your CV and portfolio.
Depending on which industry you operate in, your strategies are going to differ. Typically, aspiring businessmen will want to present themselves in a professional manner, with sharp suits and polished resumes. But there are certain areas such as programming and graphic design where originality is prized. So don’t be afraid to think outside the box.
Even if the quality of your work speaks for itself, knowing how to showcase it to others can raise your profile considerably.
3. Network efficiently
It’s often said that who you know is at least as important as what you know. While there can be no replacement for actual skills, it’s true that having a strong network can significantly increase your chances of finding new opportunities and growing your career.
Attending conferences tailored to your specific niche is a good way to accomplish this, especially if you feel comfortable enough to approach strangers in person. Alternatively, there are online communities for virtually every industry under the sun – places where like-minded people meet and exchange ideas.
Don’t hesitate to put yourself out there and see what you can find.
4. Assert your voice
The way you communicate has a large bearing on how people perceive you. A passive, wishy-washy voice can make you seem innocuous in person or over the phone. So if you have trouble getting your point across, be sure to work on your presentation.
Aim for a clear, confident and direct tone of voice, without veering into arrogance or condescension. Try to become someone that people feel they can rely on, both through your actions and your words. Your emotional intelligence plays a big factor in this, and the latest research shows that you can enhance some of its aspects through soft skills training.
5. Learn new skills
Speaking of skills, if you’re going to push your career forward, you’ll likely need to improve on your existing skill-set. Many industries nowadays require a cross-disciplinary approach from their employees, one that’s best served by incremental development in a large variety of skills.
The best way to do this is by taking part in accredited courses. Be sure to only apply for courses that are internationally acknowledged and delivered in such a way that you actually stand to learn something new while still leaving enough time for you to fulfill your other tasks.
For example, in order to improve their leadership and management skills, many people opt for taking online ILM courses, which they can complete on their own time and from anywhere in the world.
6. Find a mentor
Having an experienced mentor that can guide you through the trials and tribulations of your career is an important aspect that’s often underrated by many professionals. Some companies even have mentorship programs in place that pair employees with older colleagues who can show them the ropes and provide career management advice when needed.
But even if you don’t have access to such a program, you can still identify people who have accomplished goals similar to yours and who would be willing to lend a hand. As always, focus on quality, not quantity. Spending even a few hours per week over coffee with a good mentor can do wonders for your motivation levels. Thus, it may give you a renewed perspective on your goals.
7. Pursue the path of personal growth
Finally, a word needs to be said about personal growth. People are dynamic creatures, and being stuck in one spot too long naturally tends to frustrate most of us. But remember that growth is first and foremost a question of mindset.
If you keep expanding your horizons, whether through reading and listening to podcasts or simply adopting a healthier lifestyle that increases your energy levels and drives, you’ll also be sharpening your mind and increasing the odds of getting a good break.
Action begets motivation, not the other way around, so never slack off when it comes to your personal well-being and ability to absorb new information.
As you probably already know by now, a career is maintained through a well-directed effort and a little bit of inspiration at the right moments. The aforementioned tips can go a long way towards boosting your profile in the industry of your choice. They may help invigorate a stagnant situation or lead you to new professional heights.
Even if things don’t work out immediately, be consistent, and sooner or rather you’ll start reaping the benefits of your new approach to career management.