Have you ever felt like you’re not progressing in your career like you should be or want to? The answer is likely yes—we’ve all been there before. We think we’re doing all the right things, but yet we feel as though we’re stuck in a rut without progress or a better future.
If you’re feeling this way, there are actions you can take to change your situation, enhance your career, and improve your future. After all, your career is an investment, just like a house or a car. Check out the following five tips to learn how to improve your career.
1) Set Your Goals and Create a Path to Achieve Them
There’s nothing like having a set of concrete goals with a plan of action for accomplishing something. You can use goal setting for virtually any part of life, whether you want to become fluent in another language or start your own business.
If you know what you want from your job or see a career you want to get into, goal setting is one of your best options. Start by making your goals as specific as possible. Rather than say you want to learn to become a web developer, decide that you want to build a particular website in 6 months.
Once you have specific goals set, create milestones and a path to achieve those milestones. If you’re teaching yourself something like web development, you can likely find a path to follow online.
Alternatively, if you have a goal to start a business, create your path. You can choose to make a full-fledged business plan within one month, start a website and social media platforms by month two, and so on.
When you have specific plans of action, you set yourself up for success.
2) Develop Speaking and Presentation Skills
A lot of people are downright afraid of public speaking. Not only that, but when they let the fear and anxiety take hold, they can’t perform well when they have to speak. While this is normal, it doesn’t haven’t to remain this way—these are skills that can be developed.
If you can show your employer or a hiring manager that you have standout communication and presentation skills, you’re doing your career a favor. Employers and hiring managers want someone on their team that can present to higher-ups and potential clients well. Furthermore, they want their employers to have quality communication with each other.
To work on such skills, you can dive right in by asking for opportunities to present at work, or you can search for workshops and courses on the weekends.
3) Learn Something New
The more skills you have, the more desirable you’ll be as an employee. Depending on your field, you’ll have to know how to use certain software systems and have specific skills and experience. However, there are likely additional skills and things to learn that employers consider assets, but that isn’t required.
If you’re looking for a new job in the same field as your current one, analyze several job postings to see what employers ask for. More often than not, they list characteristics, skills, or attributes, in addition to basic requirements. Make a list of these additional features and find something that you think you can learn to improve your career.
Depending on what you find, you could learn a myriad of new things from skills to languages to software systems to certifications. Pursuing one or several of these will improve your chances of getting your dream job.
4) Grow your Network
If there’s one thing that’s an outright advantage to career growth, it’s having a network. The more people you know, the more opportunities will arise. Think about all your past coworkers, managers, friends, family members, friends or family, and other people you know that are in the workforce. All of these people constitute your network.
Now, think about how these people have moved between jobs and industries. These people are connections that have the potential to help you get your foot in the door at a new company.
To enhance your prospects, you have to grow everything that surrounds your career, like your network. By building good relationships with your current coworkers and maintaining good relations with other people in your network, you’re ensuring you have a strong network for the future. This may be the method of enhancing your career with the least amount of work involved, so take advantage of it!
5) Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone
Last but not least, get outside of your comfort zone. You can’t expect to improve your career without making yourself at least a little bit uncomfortable, as that’s when growth occurs. Just as athletes endure physical discomfort when they train, people looking to grow their careers experience discomfort in challenges and change.
Wherever you are in your career, look for challenges. You can try to take on additional work to build new skills or find more challenging work to sharpen existing skills. It truly doesn’t matter what the challenge is, so long as it’s there and you’re working through it.
The Bottom Line
Everyone has likely experienced a sense of stagnancy in their work life. It’s normal and expected. However, if you’re motivated, you can improve your career with action.
You have to put in the work to improve yourself and your career. By setting goals, improving your communication, learning something new, growing your network, and getting out of your comfort zone, you can enhance your career.