Work harder and smarter to grow your career, but how?
Once upon a time, career growth opportunities for many noble professions like healthcare, education art, law, etc. were limited. But now things have changed, and the opportunities are ever-growing. Despite concerns about recession, the fact remains that the labor market continues to expand.
And what could be better if your career choice creates meaningful influence on the lives of others. Think you don’t have an impact? Look at the numbers of the teaching profession: According to weareteachers, 88% of people say a teacher had a significant, positive impact on their life.
According to the International Labor Organization report, there are 3.3 billion people employed in the various sectors globally, out of which approximately 52 percent of the workforce have corporate jobs. Regardless of the segment of the workforce, the productivity of the masses is on the rise.
With so many people entering the professional world every day, and many being highly productive, it can get increasingly challenging to stand out and grow as a professional. To make sure your career trajectory is commendable, you need to take the right steps at the right time.
Here is what you must do to grow your career.
- Keep learning
The more educated you are, the lesser the chances are for you to remain unemployed. This is because everyone does not attain tertiary and specialized degrees. The lack of supply of quality graduates makes them highly sought-after. This is illustrated in the chart below.
However, merely getting a graduate degree isn’t enough. What you learned a few years ago may or may not be applicable anymore. The world is ever-changing. This is especially true for the world of today, where new disruptive technologies are introduced in a heartbeat.
Think about it. Now, many marketers rely on data analytics to conduct efficient and effective marketing. Previously, such a concept wasn’t even heard of since big data hadn’t been formulated back then.
Another critical characteristic of today’s time is how quickly skills and education tend to get obsolete. As new discoveries are made every year, it is difficult to get to the top unless you are well-versed on all the changes.
Hence, it is essential to keep learning. Whether it be certifications or short courses, each of them will help you distinguish yourself from your pool of workforce. Look at the available list of trade school programs near you and select one which is best aligned with your needs.
- Be observant of your environment
It is easier to survive in a workplace than it is to thrive in one. This is because the latter requires effort and hard work. Since the core element of your job tends to take up a lot of energy, it can seem hard to make the extra effort of staying alert of opportunities that you come across.
However, if you wish to grow your career, it is essential to be observant of your surroundings, take challenges head-on, and understand the in and out of your company, well beyond your scope of work.
Learn how your company works, what are its best practices, how does it generate revenue, and who are the key stakeholders in the equation. Then, shift the direction of your goals and effort to compliment the vision of your company rather than merely trying to get the job done for the sake of it.
- Take up the right roles
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average number of jobs people do in a lifetime is 12. This includes job-hopping, vertical, and horizontal promotions.
Not every job opportunity that comes your way will help in growing your career. And while most people aspire to jump from junior positions to senior roles with as few hurdles as possible, this is very difficult to achieve.
This doesn’t mean that your career won’t grow. In fact, career growth is not necessarily linked to having a vertical trajectory. Instead, some of the best learning opportunities may come when you expand the scope of your work but remain within the same level of the hierarchy.
This is because expanding and diversifying your job role helps you in learning the various facets of an organization. You can then leverage all the skills and experiences you acquire to land to a senior-level job when the time is right.
Therefore, don’t say no to changes in your roles just because they are not aligned with your initial expectations. Assess your strengths and weaknesses and pivot to opportunities that can help enhance your strengths and reduce your weaknesses.
- Look beyond your department
The easy way out is to only focus on what you are good at, or are paid to do. It is common for people to only focus on their area of domain. But, to grow, it is essential that you look beyond your department for opportunities.
Always be in a lookout for projects outside your area of expertise. Cross-functional projects help in getting experience across various business lines. By doing so, you will end up learning various skills as well as gaining functional knowledge along the way.
Seize any cross-functional assignment that may help you in expanding your skillset. The task may seem daunting at first. But, you will end up learning insights that will help you in grooming and developing your career.
- Focus on strategizing rather than planning
It doesn’t matter if you are an Executive or a Manager. Your career growth doesn’t rely on your job title, but how you approach your job. In a world where everyone focuses on planning and executing, make sure to give enough time to strategize.
While planning calls for understanding the methods of doing a task, strategy asks an even bigger question. It focuses on what you should be doing rather than how you should be doing it. By concentrating on building a strategy, you are much better equipped to know what the challenges are and what approach you should take to solve those challenges.
By focussing on strategy, you will ensure that your plan and task translate into successful outputs. The better results you have, the easier it is to grow.
Each one of you can have great careers. You just need the right ingredients. Don’t just work hard. Work smart, as well. Just because there are a lot of people in the race, doesn’t mean you won’t emerge as a winner.
Learn. Observe. Act. Strategize. That is all you need!
Alma Causey is a passionate writer. She is the University of Tampa alumni. Her love for writing is infinite. To date, she has written various writing pieces related to business, HR, education, Technology, and Health. She is also very fond of travelling, reading, going to the movies, enjoying family gatherings, and horseback riding. Find her on Twitter: @Almacausey.