Contributed by Dawn Castell
Career development doesn’t always happen at our desired speed. Any number of roadblocks can get in the way – from working for a company that doesn’t promote in-house, to dealing with personal or family circumstances, to lacking the required education. Regardless of the reason for the plateau in your career, it’s never too late to jumpstart it. These eight tips will help get you on the path towards better pay, excitement, or whatever change it is you’re seeking.
1. Do Side Projects
Side projects are a great way to rekindle that spark you had when you first started pursuing your career. It’s also a great way to acquaint yourself with new technologies and solutions. Lastly, side projects can serve as proof to employers that you have the fundamental skills and enthusiasm to make an impact in the field.
2. Attend Seminars and Conferences
Seminars and conferences are a great place to network. You can find plenty of conferences happening year round in nearly every niche. Be sure and choose the right ones, though. Look for conferences in your industry and then choose which ones focus on specific technologies or policies that are most important to you and offer the greatest opportunity for networking. You won’t have the money, time, or energy to attend every one of them, so choose wisely.
Study is one of the most important keys to career development. Read as often as you can. You might not need to re-apply to college, but learning some skills outside of your current employment can help give you a competitive edge. Enroll in some courses and get some new skills and applicable knowledge that match your goals.
4. Mentor Newcomers in the Field
Mentoring newcomers in your industry demonstrates passion and devotion. It can be a discerning quality between you and the dozens of other professionals holding the same position in the same industry all vying for a new job. You might not be actively learning new skills while you’re mentoring and volunteering, but it allows you to brush up on the basics, learn from others, and add volunteer work to your resume.
5. Step Outside Of Your Comfort Zone
It’s easy to get stuck in the status quo with work. You get comfortable with your job duties, feel at ease with your coworkers, and maybe even tolerate your salary. But growth happens when we get a little uncomfortable and do something out of the ordinary. Check out some of these quotes for inspiration to step out on a limb.
6. Be Open to Relocation
If you’re serious about career development, you need to be dynamic. Uprooting yourself and moving to a new place could just be the change that your career needs to get unstuck. If there are career opportunities for you in a different city or even a different country, pack your bags and move there. According to a report by Harvard Business Review, job hunters who have a wider geographic scope are more likely to find work faster. This is especially true if you live in a rural area or small city. If career development is a high priority, moving may be necessary.
7. Renegotiate Your Salary
How much you make is often the yardstick with which professionals measure their success. If your career is in a rut, it may be time to renegotiate your base salary and perks. If higher pay is all you’re looking for, present your case to your employer and see what happens, if it’s not, renegotiating your salary could help you in the long run anyway. Not only will it help you gauge your status in the industry, it will provide a higher base line for future positions.
8. Establish Your Own Practice
In some industries, employees learn the ins and outs of managing operations as a part of their every day work. For instance, an accountant knows everything from the job she performs to keeping in contact with clients. Many industries are similar but, if you’re not in one of those industries, you can start learning about what it takes to branch out on your own.
Career development doesn’t happen overnight. But with the eight tips aforementioned in this article, you’ll likely speed up the process.
After graduating with her MBA, Dawn Castell spent a few years working in the CPG industry and a few more working in the business tech industry before setting off to start her own business. She now consults with businesses, large and small, and loves sharing her experiences and knowledge through writing articles and blog posts in her spare time.