Posted by Robert Half on 19 June 2013
Tips on how to stay relevant and progressive in the workplace
If you’re ready for a new job role or career change, there may be unique opportunities for career development, either at your current organisation or with a new employer.
Here are five recommendations to help you get a leg up on the career ladder.
Be a leader
As organisations begin to restart projects, they need individuals to lead these initiatives. Volunteering for these assignments can be a good way to demonstrate your ability to assume more responsibility, gain visibility and build new skills.
When opportunities arise, let your manager know that you’re interested in them. Even if the project in question isn’t right for you, your boss may have other projects lined up that are better suited to your abilities. Just be careful not to get in over your head. Volunteering for extra duties when your plate is already full can cause your performance to suffer and even lead to burnout.
Ask for training and development opportunities
Think about how you’d like your career to progress and in which areas you might need to build new skills. For example, if you’re an accountant, you may want to pick up leadership and management skills so you might be considered a worthy candidate should the opportunity arise.
Companies may have more funds to invest in training and professional development opportunities at the start of a new year, so be sure to approach your manager. Make a case for how a particular course, seminar or conference will help you and benefit the company. If few internal opportunities exist, be proactive and seek out training programs through local educational institutions, professional associations or online providers.
Find a mentor
Reaching the next step can be easier with advice from someone who’s already there. Before identifying a mentor, however, make sure you’re clear about what your professional goals are and what you hope to gain from the relationship. These factors will determine to who you look for assistance. For example, if you hope to earn a promotion, you might look to a manager within your firm who has risen through the ranks. If you’re interested in switching careers, you might seek the counsel of a networking contact who has moved from IT to sales. Ask friends, family and members of your professional network for recommendations.
This is an important component of any job search. Even if you’re not looking for a position with a different firm, keep in mind that it still pays to grow your professional network, especially within your organisation. Expanding your base of contacts can help you identify valuable allies and establish connections that make it easier to secure resources and support. And networking can help you move up the career ladder. Making sure you’re well known throughout the company could increase your chances of securing one of these opportunities.
Keep up with new trends
Those who are best able to advance their careers have their finger on the pulse of their chosen field so that they can identify and take advantage of new trends. Stay up to date of developments in your area of specialisation by reading industry publications, online articles and blogs. You may also consider joining a professional organisation. These groups often feature speakers and thought leaders speaking about new developments and trends. Your research will also help you keep tabs on areas of job growth – or contraction – within your industry so you can determine how much promise there is on your current career path. Think about both the short and long term to stay ahead of the curve.