We are a reader-supported education publication. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission to help us keep providing content.
Finding a career you enjoy is something many people strive for. Once you find your passions, it’s essential to continue to further your career. This can help lead to promotions or new job opportunities. So, here are a few career development strategies to consider.
1. Build Your Network
In today’s job world, it’s all about who you know. You want to connect with the right people to land those new roles. That’s why it’s essential to have a wide network. In fact, 85% of jobs are filled by networking. Start by reaching out to connections from friends and family. You can also create a LinkedIn profile to reach more people in your field. Attend an industry event or join professional organizations to expand your network.
When networking, remember to stay in touch with the people you meet. Maintaining these relationships is essential since they could be helpful down the line. So, get to know the contact on a personal level. Also, offer to do a favor for them. For example, you could promote their work on your social media. This will make them more open to helping you out.
2. Get a Mentor
Finding a mentor is one of the most useful career development strategies. It allows you to learn new skills and advance your job. It can give you someone to help guide you during the ups and downs of your career journey. Plus, the person can even offer you insider tips about the industry based on their experience. Start by asking your employer if they have a mentorship program through the company.
Here are a few more ideas for potential mentors:
- College professors
- Trained family members
- Professional organizations
You want your advisor to have experience with your current or future job. That way, they can give you specific advice. If your field is specialized, look for someone within the industry. Once you find someone, ask them useful questions, such as “What is your greatest strength?” Being able to self-evaluate is an important skill, and it might also help you discover your strengths.
3. Take On More Responsibility
Sometimes you need to be more direct about asking for promotions. Being an advocate for yourself can impress your boss. So, find projects where you can show and develop your leadership skills.
In addition, look for assignments that impact the company most. For example, will a specific project help raise profits? To find these assignments ask your boss or offer to help stressed-out coworkers. Plus, you want to come in with a plan of how you will juggle the added tasks. Having more responsibilities is also an excellent way to gain a new title or work on interesting jobs.
4. Use Performance Reviews as a Tool
Performance reviews aren’t just for employers. They are also one of the critical career development strategies. So, taking yours seriously is essential. These meetings help you see where you’re succeeding and what you can improve upon. You should use this information to develop new habitats that help you reach your goals. Plus, it’s the perfect time for you to discuss your professional development. For example, you can ask about taking on new projects or promotions.
Then, your employer could help you develop a plan for learning new skills. If there is no formal review process in place, ask for one and put your best foot forward.
5. Become an Expert in Your Field
Some industries, such as construction, have more specialized skills. So, learn the jargon, everyday processes and current trends. This will help you better communicate with higher-up professionals and advance your career. Plus, showing your experience can lead to promotions or more responsibilities.
Read business publications, join professional organizations and attend trade shows to learn more about your industry. It’s also essential to set specific goals and look for feedback from others. Use the information you learn to leverage new opportunities as you continue your education.
6. Advance Your Education
Showing you an ongoing learner is attractive to employers. It demonstrates you can adapt to changing trends and have the right skills. Plus, it shows how much you value self-improvement, which is critical for any new job. One way to further your education is to get a higher degree, such as a master’s degree.
A higher degree will open more doors and lead to an increased salary. In fact, the median wage for these employees is about 30% higher than for people with a bachelor’s degree. You can also take a few skill classes online to give you more experience. This is useful for those with a busier schedule and a tight budget.
7. Keep Track of Your Progress
You want to have quantifiable data to show your employer or potential ones. Keep track of all the tasks you’ve completed that saved the company time or increased their profits. Keep a note of times when you came up with innovative solutions to solve problems. Plus, note examples of when you showed unwavering commitment, such as working overtime.
Safely store this information in a spreadsheet or document on your computer. Then you can reference it during your annual review or a job interview. This shows managers how much of a team player you are and why you deserve to move up in the organization.
Top Career Development Strategies
Advancing your career is a fun and slightly stressful experience. There are a lot of different steps you can take to get ahead. So, follow these career development strategies for a successful journey.