Maybe you’ve just entered the working world and you want to plan ahead. Perhaps you’ve been working for a few years now and you feel a little stuck. Whatever your current situation may be, it is never too soon or too late to get on the road to career advancement.
Network with Others
Networking is an excellent tool to meet and establish relationships with others in your current or desired field. According to The Networking Gurus, finding a place to network is as easy as firing up your favourite search engine and typing in “networking events [your city].” Social media is a great place to search as well, so consider using Facebook and Twitter, or event/group finders such as Meetup or Eventbrite, both of which allow you to search for local networking events by location and register for them on the spot.
When you look for events, keep in mind that there are several different networking events to choose from such as traditional networking events, business after hours social events, workshops, seminars, lectures, trade shows, and interest group meetings. All have one thing in common, and that is the opportunity for you to make lasting connections with professionals who may be able to help you advance your career.
CareerWomen suggests that before you attend a networking event, draft a few questions ahead of time to help start up the conversation, such as what inspired them to join his/her company or what experiences and skills they bring to the job. Make sure you get their contact information and bring some business cards of your own so they have yours as well. Follow up with your contacts every few months by email, phone, or a coffee/lunch date so they don’t forget who you are. CareerWomen states, “Nearly all networked affiliates share job leads, business leads or tips that can help you achieve your goals,” so keep in contact to increase your opportunities for career advancement.
Take Part in Professional Development Training
According to Eat Your Career, professional development and career advancement training is one of the most important tools to utilize to advance your career, increase your chances of career success, and meet your professional goals. Defined, it is “any guidance, advice, or instruction that elevates workplace skills and performance, and is provided by a subject-matter expert.”
What are some reasons why professional development and career advancement training are important? For starters, it shows how committed you are to being successful professionally. If an employer sees how dedicated you are to your professional growth, they may be more likely to commit resources to that growth such as training, additional support, or even tuition assistance. It also helps you stand out from the others around you and keeps you at the top of their radar.
Professional development will also help keep you competitive in the job market (and perhaps protect you from discrimination and the pitfalls that come with that). You never know when you may end up searching for another job – maybe from lack of career advancement in your current location or a job opportunity discovered by one of your networking contacts. A job candidate who communicates a longing and commitment to professional growth will likely stand out from the others. Even if you are looking to stay where you are, The Guardian suggests occasionally checking the specifications for roles comparable to yours, as well as ones that are similar to the role you are looking for next. If you lack some of the skills or qualities they seek, look for opportunities to gain them such as:
- Reading professional books, journals, articles, etc.
- Join professional associations
- Apply for apprenticeships or work shadowing
- Enrol in training courses, classes, conferences, or webinars
The opportunities for advancement are out there, you just have to take advantage of them.
Author: Gloria Martinez
Gloria works with WomenLed.org , an organisation that aims to celebrate women’s achievements in the workplace