By Abby Forman, Assistant Account Executive, R&J Public Relations
It’s easy to find articles full of advice for job seekers, but what about career advancement for those who are already employed? Many companies have cut back staff, lots of employees are stuck doing the work of two or three people these days. And many of you are probably thinking, “How can I possibly focus on advancing myself professionally when my mind is already in a thousand different places?”
After my recent promotion at R&J, I began to wonder how I can concentrate on further advancing my career, while still focusing on and completing the everyday task at hand. Moreover, how can I show my employer that I am worthy of additional advancement and promotion? After some research and deep thinking, I came up with several key personal and professional strategies that if followed will help to take my mind off everyday stress and allow me to focus on advancing my career.
- Know your career mission and pursue it with vigor
Knowing what you want and where you want to be in your professional career challenges you to discover the unique role best suited to your talents, interests and values and serves as a driving force to propel you toward success.
On a more practical level, your career mission is represented by your job description. The happiest professionals are those who understand their work, and what it takes to do a good job. This comes from a combination of not only having concrete and varied skill set, but also knowing exactly what management or clients expect from you.
- Take some career development risks
Seize the responsibility for your own career advancement. Don’t waste valuable time hoping for the best, or waiting for your company to notice that you’re doing high-quality work and shower you with riches and promotions. Chart a career path, and make your management your partners in working to advance your career.
- Find a mentor
Having a mentor within your company is particularly valuable—they can identify opportunities for advancement you might overlook, guide you through challenging projects, and help you build relationships with higher-ups. A great mentor can also help you figure out which new areas you can explore within your field and which skills you should be expanding upon. It doesn’t have to be formal, either—look around and see who you feel would give you the best advice and guidance, and ask them out to coffee or a drink.
- Network– even when you don’t want a new job
A well-developed professional network can be a source of friendships, mentors, and referrals. Your network can also provide objective insights for evaluating opportunities and problems. Trade organizations, alumni associations, friends of friends, and continuing education classes all offer excellent sources for cultivating relationships with colleagues who can help advance your career. Remember: job security comes and goes, but a solid network of valuable contacts is valuable no matter the circumstances.
- Understand and implement the saying “Find something you love to do, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
The best and most obvious way to further your professional development is to make sure you’re doing what you love to do. If you like what you do, more than likely you’re good at it, and if you’re good at it and implement the above strategies, you’re well on your way to CEO status!
Have any additional career suggestions? Let me know if I missed anything and feel free to post your comments in the section below.