You can make “New Years’ resolutions” whenever you want. It can be halfway through the year, a day after your birthday, or at 4 pm on a random Thursday in July. The truth is, you can make any day the beginning of the year when you decide to dedicate yourself and develop your career.
Now, making lists brings a great peace and solitude to a lot of people. When there seems to be an endless amount of tasks on your plate, you make a list. Then you draw a little circle or a box next to each task. Believe me, nothing is better than that. Well, nothing besides checking those little boxes, of course.
If you really want to develop your career, you have to be ready to put good, introspective work into your career progression. Only then you’ll catapult to success. Yes, that means making lists and checking some boxes along the way. We mapped out 5 tools to help you get going.
#1: Create A Website/Portfolio
The importance of websites for businesses can be understood as the difference between thriving and getting left behind. There are many ways, as you have learned, to let a website work for your marketing efforts. But hardly any of these efforts can be maximized if there’s no site available.
Don’t make the mistake of doing everything from a social media platform. Your identity and content are ultimately in someone else’s hands, and those hands could one day vanish, taking all of your hard work with them. Use social media, but build a website from which you can advertise your presence to the whole world.
Your personal website is an instant portfolio. It gives you the creative freedom to express your personality in ways that are not possible through your resume. Having your own website allows you to control what people will find when they search for you. We all know that employers and prospective clients will turn to google to learn more about you. One of the benefits of having a website is it gives you a platform to share your story, including how you got started, what you’re doing now and what you see for the future of the company.
Even if you’re just starting out, there’s still a lot you can say about the road that led you to your current position within your chosen niche. Mention longterm goals for you and your brand/business. This approach shows confidence and ambition, and it lets customers know that you plan to be around for a long time.
#2: Focus On Your Strengths
Many people ask if it’s more worth their time to just focus on strengths or work on improving weaknesses? Generally, it would be better to focus more on your strengths. These are things you are already good at doing, so you won’t need to invest too much of your time and effort in it.
Your biggest personal strength is something that comes very easily for you. Take some time and think about what it is. It could be anything. It should come naturally for you. For example, perhaps you have no problems having conversations with people you meet for the first time. Or maybe being able to think of quick solutions in a tense environment.
Remember, don’t choose attributes that you want to have. Choose those which really represent you. Make a list. Now that you have it, you know what your biggest strengths are. Leverage them.
Focusing on your strengths is about seeking opportunities instead of problems. Instead of focusing on the negatives, focus your energy on the things you are good at. Focusing on things you are weak at decreases your self-confidence, enthusiasm and overall performance. Usually, not much is achieved by trying to fix one’s weakness.
Having said that, working on your weaknesses is still important as it contributes to personal growth.
#3: (Always) Acquire New Skills
Learning never stops in human life, so why should it in your professional life? Keep learning new skills as it will help in your work-life. Adapting new skills in professional life gives you a sense of accomplishment. Along with you, know your worth and the works you can do.
In today’s highly competitive business environment, we all need to be in constant learning mode. To develop a career, to work on it, means you cannot afford to take a vacation from developing new skills. Life is all about learning new things. In addition to that, professional life’s success also depends on learning new skills. Adapting new skills in professional life gives you a sense of accomplishment. You should always know your worth and the works you can do.
Experiences come along when you try new things. Sticking to the same thing won’t bring you new experiences. Hence, it is necessary to learn new skills at work to get new experiences. As you are adapting new skills, you are on everyone’s priority list. They will also want to adopt new skills. They will discuss your skills and process of adapting skills. Along with that, they will show interest in your work.
#4: Expand your Network And Be Curious About Your Industry
Networking is all about opportunities and connections. When you meet new people, you basically get a chance to use their skills to your advantage. Of course, you must also give back something: your services, your knowledge, your money. To develop a career, successful people network a lot so they can create those life-lasting profitable relationships.
Networking remains the most effective way to get promotions, new jobs, or greater responsibilities. Start within your company, particularly if you hope to remain there, and work your way out to other contacts. Learn to strike up conversations and always carry business cards; you never know who might be your next job lead.
If you have not already, sign up for social media profiles on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. These three specific networks are the best choices when it comes to this type of activity. That way you can get your resume and credentials noticed while building a virtual network of colleagues, friends, and contacts. Networking is one of the best ways to become known in the industry. By forming relationships with people in your audience, you can grow your business and your brand long-term.
One important step you must not avoid if you want to develop a career is to always be curious about your industry. Spend time each and every week as a student of your industry or company. Study your industry and company as if you’ll be tested on them. Curiosity is a major stimulus for learning new things, both in and out of our workplace. And curiosity fosters learning and job-related knowledge, which are important requirements for job performance.
#5: Brand Yourself
Last but not least, to successfully develop a career you must first build your reputation. In other words, brand yourself. If you don’t brand yourself, someone else will, and the outcome might not be so favorable.
Branding yourself keeps you current in your field, opens doors for you, and creates a lasting impression on potential and existing clients. By developing your own brand, you’ll have control over the initial perception people have of you.
And how are you gonna do that?
First, define your brand and become an expert. Whether you’re looking to attract new clients or build your business, you should focus on becoming an expert in your field. Avoid establishing an expertise that’s irrelevant to your mission, goals, and vision. You’ll just be wasting your time.
Then, establish a presence. You’re being Googled by friends, colleagues, and potential customers. Make sure your branded content is what people find when they Google your name.
And don’t forget the 3 Cs of branding. Clarity, consistency, constancy. Be clear in who you are and are not. Don’t sugar-coat your qualifications. To develop a career you must first determine where you want to fit in (industry and niche area of expertise) and then remain visible to your target audience.
Your branding is your image in the marketplace. Professional employees should brand their names and services and constantly improve it. And to be honest, what’s better than using a .ME domain?
To Sum Up
Each person has a unique situation, skill set, and career objectives. So, logically, their career paths vary widely and there’s no set formula for professional development. These 5 tools should provide a framework for your next steps and help you get where you want in your career. Don’t forget, employees who take responsibility for planning career development and actively seek growth opportunities are the most successful in achieving their goals.
Alright then, until next time.