Unemployment remains high, and many companies are still downsizing. Many employees have gone several years without a raise as companies freeze salaries and hiring. It can be difficult for anyone to advance their careers in this environment. However, there are a number of things that you can do to help move your career forward, despite these obstacles.
Here are some things you can do now to help advance your career this year:
Review Your Performance
First, start with a self-assessment. Be honest. Identify your accomplishments in your current position, as well as your weaknesses. Update your resume with your accomplishments, and include samples of your best work in your portfolio. Doing so will make you better prepared to argue your case for a promotion or to look for a more advanced position with another company. Next, identify your weaknesses. Once you’ve done so, you can work on a plan for implementing solutions. Working to overcome your weaknesses can bolster your position within your company, showing that you are dedicated to your work and to giving your best performance.
Ask for More Responsibility
Show that you are ready to take the next step by asking your boss to give you more responsibility. This can be in the form of a new project or in taking on new tasks. Volunteer to be the point person on a project. Ask to lead your department on a new initiative. Actively look for ways to do work that exceeds current expectations for your position. Taking on more responsibility proves to your boss that you are capable of leadership and that you have the skills to do more.
Get a Mentor
If you work at a very large company, reach out to a superior within your department or to another executive doing the type of work that you would like to do, and ask this person to be a mentor. If you work for a small company or cannot find a suitable mentor at your company, you can reach out to leaders in your field. Make a phone call or send an e-mail expressing your admiration for the work this person does and explaining your desire to learn from their experience. Most professionals will be flattered to be asked to become a mentor and will be happy to take on the role. The guidance you receive can help you shape your career and to make new connections that can help you advance.
Continue Your Education
Learn new skills to have more to offer your employer and to help yourself become more marketable. You don’t have to get a new degree in order to advance your career (though that could also help, depending on your field). You can sign up for a couple of classes at your local community college, a continuing education center, or an online program. Weekend workshops and seminars are also a great way to learn new skills. Talk with your employer about what sponsorship is available for continuing education. You will indicate your desire to improve your skills and you could end up having your training paid by your employer.
Networking is key to success in any field. Networking with co-workers and other professionals is a great way to learn about other opportunities in your field or to make connections that could lead to a new position. You could even find a mentor through networking. Take advantage of opportunities to attend conferences, workshops, seminars, and even professional parties to network with other professionals. You can also use your social networks to reach out to professionals. Be sure to follow up on any connections that you make to maintain the relationship over time.
Though the job market remains tight, there are many ways that you can work to advance your career now. Finding ways to broaden your skills by getting more education or by increasing your responsibilities, networking with others, and marketing yourself can all help you to get the position you want.
About the Author:
Bridget Sandorford is a grant researcher and writer for CulinarySchools.org. Along with her passion for whipping up recipes that incorporate “superfoods”, she recently finished research on culinary schools in europe and international cooking schools.