Advice for Improving Your Career Success Today While Preparing for the Future
For some professionals, the past year has been a time of change and growth, yet for others, it’s been a year of setback and uncertainty about what the future holds. Wherever you fall, it’s important to recognize the strength and fortitude you’ve held onto this year, no matter your circumstances. As the world continues to adapt to a new normal way of living and working, try to keep an open mind and take this opportunity to grow yourself personally and professionally. By setting intentions and holding yourself accountable in the coming months, you can create a career plan that you are not only satisfied with but find value and purpose in each day.
Set Small, Attainable Goals
A major change can be overwhelming, and you might have set the expectation that you must quickly reach your overall goals. The reality is when it comes to personal or professional goals, setting smaller yet achievable ambitions often set you up for the most success. Smaller goals feel like less of a lifestyle overhaul and allow you to make simple changes without much sacrifice.
Take some time to clearly define your goals, even if they might change in the coming months or years, and remember you have to start somewhere. If you’re unsure of how to begin, try to identify a few major pain points in your current career or job search. Once you’ve taken that initial step you can find a few ways to get closer to resolving any potential roadblocks. For example, if you want to move into a new department at your current workplace, you can set up a few virtual meetups or set aside an hour a day to read up on that specific job you are interested in. Additionally, if you want to run your own business someday, consider what leadership courses you can take that might help you get moving in that direction.
Combat Uncertainty with Financial Preparation
If this year has provided clarity on anything, it’s the importance of having an action plan in place for unexpected circumstances that can severely impact your life. Whether it’s job uncertainty, loss of a person you love, or facing a challenging business situation, it’s important to be financially equipped to handle these difficult times to allow you to focus on what matters most.
Making financial preparations such as creating an emergency fund and obtaining proper insurance policies can provide you with a sense of security during a tough time. If you purchase a term life insurance policy early on, you can protect your loved ones, your business, or secure any large financial investments or assets down the road. Although it might seem like a daunting topic, it can allow you to fully embrace the now, without fear and anxiety about the future, should you not be there to support those who depend on you. If you are a young professional just starting out, it’s also beneficial to have an emergency fund available in case you face a sudden job loss or issue that requires a large financial commitment. By putting aside, a portion of your paycheck each week or month, you can quickly protect yourself from a financial crisis and feel good knowing you have some time to figure out a plan.
Chase Leaders Who Inspire You
If you admire the work or leadership skills of someone in your workplace or even in your personal life, don’t be afraid to ask to talk to them about their journey and learn about how they got to the place they’re at today. Forming personal relationships and connections with those you look up to can not only be inspirational but also a learning opportunity for you. Take note of their actions, daily habits, and inquire about their processes. Ask them advice about staying organized, motivated, and focused when it comes to their career progression and what tips they’d give to someone interested in doing the same thing.
If you are not yet back in the office full time, there are still plenty of opportunities to utilize available coworking spaces, or virtual offices to continue to form connections in a safe way. In addition, technology has allowed us to connect even in a remote setting using video conferencing and messaging applications. This can actually give you a leg-up opportunity to meet up virtually with someone you might not otherwise be able to chat with.
Ask for Feedback
When it comes to career growth and professional development, it’s always a good idea to check in with peers or superiors and ask for their feedback. Although you should be prepared to get some critical feedback, this analysis will benefit you in the long run when it comes to growth. Putting yourself in a vulnerable place might not be easy at first, but it’s necessary to uncover some areas that might be holding you back at this time. Asking for feedback also shows that you are open to improvement and willing to put in the necessary work to get you where you desire. Taking that initiative will be a valued quality and something others in your workplace will recognize as a positive characteristic. There should truly never be an end to learning in your career and it’s important to recognize that you can take valuable personal and professional lessons from others—no matter your age or experience level.
Improve Employee Communication
Although this time has impacted the way professionals are able to work, run a business, and collaborate with coworkers, it has forced us to communicate in new ways. If you work in a fully remote or hybrid setting, you understand the way that teamwork has changed during the pandemic. With that being said, if you desire to grow your business without a major financial commitment or full office responsibility, you can consider virtual offices for your team. This allows for flexibility when it comes to your ability to work from anywhere, especially during these times.
Oftentimes, being in an office with the proper technology helps make for an efficient day, while other days you might be able to fully operate remotely. With so much change happening, the convenience of virtual offices equipped with a live receptionist, meeting spaces, and coworking rooms, can provide safe options to meet the needs and desires of employees. Whether they want to remotely, travel, or be in an office setting, they can make the best decision for their situation. Communication is truly key when it comes to adjusting to a new way of working and collaborating if you desire to be successful.
Get Involved and Interested in Your Industry
If you really want to make a mark in your career, you need to understand the industry that you are working in. Having a full picture scope helps to keep you aligned with your goals, stay on top of trends, provide value to your career and organization, and allow you to measure impact. If you feel as though you are not an expert in your field, you are not alone. By subscribing to social media, online newsletters, or respected industry blogs, you can remain informed while giving yourself an edge up to speak more eloquently to industry professionals.
While it might take some time and experience to find your place in the industry, you can become more confident and master the skills that set you apart from your peers. Whether you are exceptionally organized, a math whiz, or a natural leader, you can quickly build on these unique qualities that might not come as easily to someone else. Rather than put yourself in a box and try to be the best at everything, remain focused on a few specific areas to improve on and really master your skills there.
While this year has been a time of change, it has given opportunities for self-reflection when it comes to your professional career and future. If you feel stuck, unmotivated, or unclear, focus on taking the next best step that might give you enough traction to get you on the right path. Even if you don’t have a clear direction at this moment, by taking the time to identify your natural strengths, passions, and opportunities to grow, there is a great chance that you can lead yourself to professional success.