A successful career is one of the most common goals, and for a good reason: it guarantees safety and stability while providing personal fulfillment. There are many ways to improve and build your career. There isn’t one way to trump others, and it’s more of a mix and match to see what works for you. However, you can follow some universal advice, and below are a few examples to help you out.
Improve Soft Skills
In the professional world, the way you interact with others, solve problems, and exercise empathy for better collaboration will set you apart from others. This is what they mean when companies ask about your willingness to work in a team. Even though there are quite a number of people who are more comfortable working alone and independently, a company works best with people working together towards specific goals. So even if you are more productive working on your tasks on your own, being able to be there for your workmates when they need help is a great push to your reputation in the office. Be more approachable to your coworkers, show your work ethic by always being on time, and don’t be afraid to present your ideas during meetings. All these are soft skills that employers are looking for in potential hires, so it’s good to develop them early on in your career.
Throughout your career, you will experience failure. There will be moments when your proposal will be rejected, a promotion won’t be given to you, or your client will suddenly back out of a contract. These instances can be very disheartening, but it’s during these times that you have to be able to clear your head and think of what to do next. Take a rest, think about what happened, and decide a solution to your situation. Taking a rest is important in these instances.
Remember that resilience does not mean never knowing when to stop and take a break. If you continue to work yourself to the ground, your body and mind will surely give up on you. Resilience also means knowing how to make time for yourself and practice self-care, so you can continue being your best.
Learn to be Self-Reliant
Your career won’t grow on its own. You need to take control of your own trajectory, both to increase the chances of it improving and to manage where it’s going. It’s important to be self-reliant. Go out and look for options. Waiting for opportunities will only lead to stagnation. Always look for your next step, whether it be a career move or skill improvement. It’s good to have a mentor you can consult and ask for input. But ultimately, learn to rely on your own — even in smaller things, such as wiping your desk with a cleaning cloth or preparing your clothes for work. Be proactive in improving your skills, both in life and career.
As mentioned in the last point, improving your skill is important. With how fast the job market changes, always learning the latest innovations and trends in your industry is an edge. Technology moves fast, and businesses rely on technology to be efficient (which also means learning more about technology is a good career move). You don’t have to be an expert to be competitive, but you need to be aware of the changes in skills and requirements. Invest in yourself. Sign up for your technical skill courses, such as programming or graphic design, even if your line of work is only tangentially connected to it. Oftentimes, your other skills can make the difference between landing a job and just being considered for it.
Get Good at Networking
A large part of improving your career involves meeting with people and letting people know your skills. People knowing what you can do is equally important to your career as your actual technical abilities. Being an amazing programmer or team manager is next to useless if people don’t know it and there isn’t anyone vouching for you. When meeting new people, especially in the business sector, skills are an asset. But to make that skill an option for them, you have to create a connection. That connection then becomes a hook for your career, as you will be seen as a person they can call for help. While networking often gets a bad rap because of nepotism, it still remains a valuable aspect of improving your career. What’s crucial here is that your network doesn’t rely on favors but on actual contributions, such as skills and abilities.
Your career won’t immediately improve. It will take time — years and years of hard work, even. It’s important to understand this and not give up. All your effort will be worth it in the end.