When you have your career strategy in motion a few more additional items listed below will help in amplifying your career efforts:
Perform Periodic Assessments- Performing self-assessments can be a tough pill to swallow sometimes. But the main fact is if you are committed to positive improvement it must be done. Making a simple list of strengths and weaknesses can help identify problem areas and aiming towards improvement. The main idea behind is to make sure you are being realistic with yourself and not taking shortcuts.
Be Accountable- Being accountable seems to be a common topic of conversation in the workplace. I bring this topic up not in the negative sense but in relation to once you commit to something do your best to follow through to the end. So many times I have seen people play the blame game or deflect responsibility rather than holding themselves accountable. At some point this can come back to bite you in some form.
Master Microsoft Word And Other Related Applications – Mastering Microsoft word and other related office applications will help in creating more organized and cleaner documents when communicating with your team or a larger audience. In my experience demonstrating the effort behind the formatting and the presenting clear message enhances the type of response from the person receiving the message.
Improve Communication Skills- Improving your communication skills both verbal and written will enhance your abilities to clearly relay information to others. This like other many professional skills takes training, time and practice.
Learn To Present Information To Audiences– Eventually in your career you will have to present information to an audience at some point. Its best to prepare prior versus being caught off guard without any preparation. Learning how to organize information and being able to speak confidently takes time and practice.
Obtain Higher-Education At Some Point- I know that with many technical people this is often disregarded as a waste of time. With this mind set they don’t consider their growth into management level positions where the role becomes less technical and more communications, people management, business management, etc.
Ask For Feedback From Management- Asking for feedback can be tough but if you are committed to improving yourself it’s necessary. Sometimes we become blinded by our own reflection that we don’t notice flaws and/or weaknesses. Also keep in mind that feedback is not always necessarily bad it could be new ideas or learning new skills that never crossed your mind.
Take On Responsibilities Outside Your Comfort Zone- Sometimes we all get to that point in our career where we are comfortable and have no intentions of taking on additional responsibilities. The only setback to this type of mindset is that after a while without any type of growth you will remain in a state of not obtaining new experiences and knowledge to move up to the next level. Most times fear will prevent you from venturing out and failures of some sort are evident but its part of the learning curve me must go through in life.
Learn Problem Resolution Techniques And Complex Decision Making- I know most of your are thinking this is a irrelevant topic but as you grow into your career you will understand its purpose. Everyday regardless of your level in an organization you will have to resolve problems and make decisions. Learning how to approach these moments with the intent of positive results will increase your value to the organization.
Look For Ways To Increase Efficiency, Work Smarter Not Harder- During my career I have observed many times where people will continue to follow the same process for the simple fact that “That’s how we always did it”. Regardless of the task at hand always consider other ways to increase efficiency through other methods, alternatives, automation, etc.
Observe Your Surroundings; Look For Ways To Increase Your Value- During my career I have learned how to hone my senses to identify problems and determine ways to resolve. The common phrase you will eventually encounter in the workplace is “I just do what I’m told.” . While performing work daily bring identify ways to increase value by saving time or in cases operating expenses.
Work On Your Weaknesses- Often times working on weaknesses will take a lower priority against the other time consuming items in life. The fact of the matter is if you don’t confront them at some point they will be there waiting for you at the most inappropriate time.
Be The “Go-To” Person- Being the person that people can go to for assistance helps build a positive reflection of you throughout the organization. This can also be used as an advantage to learning other areas which you never encountered. This can also be helpful when searching for the next opportunity and need a reference.
Bring Solutions, Not More Problems- When working on a team we all know the small group of people that often complain or tend to bring a cloud of negativity over the team. Be the person that brings light through critically thinking a problem out and discovering alternative ways to handle problems.
Explore New Ways For Growth- With the great wealth of information at our finger tips there is almost no excuse to continue learning. Regardless if its technical or professional items continuous growth is important to taking your career to the next level. There are multiple avenues for this approach such as discovering new technologies to learn, reading industry related articles, etc.
Move Into A New Technology Areas If Needed- There have been cases where some people just simply out grow their main function and have to move into another for continuous growth. If you ever feel in this situation consider making a lateral move into another field which has room for growth.
Stay On Top Of The Requirements For Your Current Role- If you remain in the same job role for a number of years the markets may increase the requirements quietly if your not watching. Sometimes the common requirements of a job may change due to new technology additions, responsibility shifts, etc. I tell people jokingly “I look for jobs even when I don’t need one”. Performing random job searches can help identify new requirements or new topics to make sure you are stay current. Performing this practice on a repetitive basis has saved me in a couple interviews in the past.
Always Plan For Your Next Career Move– During my time in the industry I have seen many people get too comfortable then the obvious happens. They find their favorite next role appear in a job search then suddenly they need to become an expert in a few new topics in a couple weeks. Determine what you want your next role to be and search for the common requirements in job searches. This way you have a general idea of what is expected and have enough time to prepare for when the role comes available at the right company.
It’s About The Money, But Not Always- I will repeat that just in case it didn’t sync in “It’s about the money, but not always”. The reason for saying that is of course we all work to survive but the main idea is do something you enjoy and not chasing a certain type of work strictly for larger levels of income. Many people have taken the road to riches and ended up working most of their life away, stressed out and simply not happy. Finding the proper balance of a role that will pay expenses and you enjoy doing will results in a higher quality of life.