In this modern world, it is a fact that most people will spend a third of their total lifespan working. This equates to 90,000 hours of work for the average person. With this significant amount of time invested in your job, it is more important than ever to ensure that you find a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction in these working hours.
An ideal job is different for every person, and the same applies to career goals. Regardless of your choice of industry and the work you choose to specialize in, here are some key tips that will ensure your career can be both rewarding and motivating.
Research Your Industry-Specific Career Paths
Ideally, you will know your potential career path options before you even begin working in your chosen sector. It is important to know where your skillset will take you and the qualifications you need to get you there. Will you need extra qualifications, such as a master’s degree, to unlock the door to more senior positions? Will specific courses that specialize in key areas of work help you move into a more fulfilling role within your industry.
It is excellent practice to actually sit down and map out where you are now in your career and what routes for progression are available to you immediately and which require further qualifications, knowledge, or specific skills. As an example, imagine you are working in the healthcare industry as a Registered Nurse. You enjoy your job immensely and find helping people to be hugely satisfying and rewarding.
However, you seek to build on your existing skillset and enjoy the idea of increased autonomy to take your career to the next level. In such circumstances, your career path research may indicate that becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner is the next big step. From here, your research could lead you to understand how to become an FNP and the courses you will need to complete to reach this goal.
Speak to Your HR Department
It is well worth proactively seeking out your HR team and gaining some of their advice and resources that they will have available to you. Remember that the HR department will have a wealth of knowledge that is linked directly to your current role, and they may be able to signpost you in the direction of training courses or upcoming job opportunities.
Creating effective communication links with staff in HR is an integral way to keep abreast of what openings and new roles are emerging in your organization. There may be upcoming courses they offer that can build your skillset and make you the ideal candidate for future roles. In addition, it may be the case that your career plan involves leaving your current company at some point in the future.
If the company you plan to move to does not have a dedicated HR department, it makes it all the wiser to take advantage of the expertise and knowledge offered to you in your current organization to help you plan.
Make a Five-Year Plan
A common question heard during interviews is “where do you see yourself in five years’ time.” There is a reason that potential employers often use this question. Your response to this question helps the employer understand if you have given a significant amount of thought to your career trajectory and are actively planning progression into your role. It also gives the employer an insight into if the role advertised is a good fit for you.
Start mapping out your five-year plan with a brainstorming session to help you understand where you are now and where you want to be. By having your current position and future ambitions written down, you can begin to fill in the gaps between these two points with the extra knowledge, skills, qualifications, and experience that will lead you to your goal. It is imperative to break down your five-year plan into several steps.
Five years is a long time, and having multiple smaller goals set out that will lead you to your overarching goal will help you keep focused on your overall path. It is also wise to give yourself rewards for reaching specific milestones in your ultimate career plan. If you have just completed a course or training program that takes you one step closer to being a top candidate for your next role, celebrate the fact and take pleasure in marking it off on your five-year plan.
Be Open to Taking on New Tasks
In a lot of roles, regardless of the industry, your manager may ask you to take on other tasks from time to time. These may be outside your current scope of duties, but they offer opportunities to broaden your skillset and build on your knowledge and experience. Bosses want to see employees rise to new challenges and completely new tasks. It shows them that you are dedicated to the organization and open to the idea of personal growth.
Taking on a new project or leading on a task will look impressive on your resumé and tap into the philosophy of lifelong learning, which is a much sought-after trait in employees. Remember that actions speak louder than words and a varied workload offers scope for advancement and specialization in future roles.
Consider being proactive and speaking to your boss if you spot an upcoming task that needs to be led on. Put yourself forward for key tasks and roles to demonstrate that you are a team player who is not afraid of new challenges.
The importance of networking to improve your career prospects cannot be underestimated. Building meaningful working relationships and contacts with other managers and employees in your chosen industry has numerous benefits for you and is linked to career success.
Effective networking allows you to keep your finger on the pulse of the latest developments in your industry and may even highlight upcoming career progression opportunities before they are advertised. If you become more “visible” as an employee and stay up to date with developments in your field, you may even find career advancement opportunities to come to you.
While networking is often thought of as something for more extroverted individuals, any person can effectively network with practice and build meaningful relationships within their sphere of business.
As well as building connections within your industry, you will also improve your communication skills. Meetings and event days are great networking opportunities. The key is to “put yourself out there” and be approachable and friendly. If you are quite an introverted individual, choose smaller gatherings to network or build meaningful one-on-one conversations with other colleagues.