Having a career means so much more than just having a job and a regular income. Having a successful career can provide you with great satisfaction but it does require work to get to where you want to be and then sustained effort to continue to grow in your chosen field.
It’s worth it though. We spend roughly 13 years of our lives at work, so it makes sense to put effort into establishing and maintaining a career that ticks your boxes.i
It’s important to consider that having a satisfying career is not so much a destination than a journey. Most of us, on average, have 12 distinct jobs through our working life so managing your career is never ‘set and forget’, it’s a continual process of progress and re-evaluation. So, whether you are relatively new to the workforce or well into your working life, here are some tips to help you along your journey.
Have a plan
While it is possible to achieve success by ‘winging it,’ you improve your chances of achieving the career of your dreams by putting a plan in place. Everyone has different goals and dreams for themselves and it’s important to be true to what you want for yourself, so do some soul searching to decide what’s important to you.
Good career planning also takes into consideration where you want to be in the future – both personally and professionally. Think short term, medium and long term. For example, how do you see your life in two years, five years, and ten years?
Then once you’ve decided what you want to achieve and defined what success looks like to you, the next step is to do some goal setting. Put in place some achievable, incremental steps to aim for to make the journey a little easier. Make sure your goals don’t just exist inside your head – writing down your goals makes them more tangible. Just be sure your goals are specific and measurable.
Pursue new opportunities
Growth is integral to career success and that can mean pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.
Say yes to that job interview, even if you don’t feel totally qualified, as the experience of attending the interview itself will help you to hone your skills and you may well even be successful in being offered the role.
Take a course so you can learn a new skill, even if you’re scared you’ll be terrible at it – you may surprise yourself and find that you excel in this new endeavour.
You don’t have to go it alone. One of the most powerful things you can do to enhance your career and make the most of opportunities is to recognise the power of networking and actively expand your career networks. The concept of networking can sound a little intimidating, but it simply means connecting with people and cultivating mutually beneficial relationships. Start with who you know and build from there, be open to meeting new people and attend professional groups and networking events and maintain a presence on social platforms like LinkedIn.
Another way to get help is to develop a relationship with a mentor. A great mentor can provide the benefit of their experience, be a sounding board and support you in your career development. It can take time to find the right person so be patient and invest in building good relationships, perhaps with more than one individual to open up career opportunities.
Moving on up
An integral part of career development is maintaining continual growth. While it can be tempting to stick with what you know and stay in your comfort zone, it’s important to recognise when you’ve outgrown a role or even an organisation and when it’s time to seek out new opportunities and make a move.
And finally, dare to dream – be an active participant in your career development, and you’ll be sure to see your career grow in amazing ways.