I'm sure that when 2020 began, almost all of us had a much different expectation for how our career plans would play out. It's safe to say 2020 was a challenging year. We need to recognize that today things are not the same as they were 12 months ago. However, things won't stay this way forever. There is a light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccines here. For that reason, we need to be even more strategic in our planning for 2021 so that we are prepared once things begin to return to normal. Have you been wondering what you can do to boost your career in 2021?
There are 7 things you must do, and they can all be summed up like this: Invest in yourself.
Career success usually doesn't just come to us; we have to actively seek it out. With these 7 tips, you'll be well on your way to taking that next step in your career.
#1 Set a larger, time-specific goal
The first tip to boost your career is to determine where you want to be and when you want to be there. Is your goal to move into a senior management position within the next five years? Is it to start your own company within the next three years? Notice how both of those have time-specific deadlines.
When we apply a timetable to our goals, it creates a sense of urgency and helps us with the next tip.
#2 Plan for smaller milestones
How did you end up in your current position? Before you answer, you need to rewind about 10 years first. For example, I know a business owner whose path to entrepreneurship began 8 years ago when they left their well-paying job with a media organization to join a small marketing firm. There, they gained the necessary understanding of their industry, earned a few promotions, moved on to a Director position with another company, got laid off, and then started their own company.
Keep in mind that getting laid off wasn't a part of the plan, but it helped give them the final nudge to step out and do their own thing finally. Step by step, they moved towards self-employment.
In your case, you know what your larger, time-specific goal is. Now, develop smaller, step-by-step goals to get you to your endgame within your established timeframe.
#3 Develop your network connections
The first two things you must do to boost your career involve planning. The next two involve action steps.
First, expand your sphere of influence. This can be online or offline, depending on your current situation. Access great local resource groups via your chamber of commerce. There, you can get involved with your peers through such programs as Young Professionals. If you do not quite feel like you're a "young" professional anymore (which is okay — you're still young!), there are plenty of other opportunities to network offline. See what your community offers and join a group or two.
If health mandates limit your offline interactions, seek out new connections via LinkedIn groups. You can get involved with others in your industry all across the country and beyond.
Finally, consider joining civic or volunteer organizations to position yourself as an active member of your community.
#4 Step outside your comfort zone
The second action step is possibly the scariest of them all, but the results will pay off in the end. It's difficult to boost your career if you never challenge yourself. For example, do you remember that business owner I mentioned earlier? One of those promotions I referenced only happened because they took on a responsibility they had no experience in whatsoever. Instead, they were willing to learn on the job to fill a hole in their company hierarchy. Opportunity knocked and they answered. Today, the decision to step outside their comfort zone paid off as one of the services they offer is a direct result of choosing to push themself in a moment of crisis.
#5 Read more
The next two strategic steps to boost your career involve self-development. Find books on your field and read at least one per month. Positivity breeds positivity, and the more you engross yourself in career-building content, the more you're going to think like a person ready to boost their career.
#6 Grow your skills
If the last step seemed pretty straightforward, then this is the one that is a bit more challenging because it can take on so many forms. As a conscious leader, you need to be able to make the best decisions possible. Perhaps this involves taking a continuing education course through a local university?
For others, it may involve enrolling in online resources like Udemy or contacting a Certified Professional Coach. Don't overlook this step because it's difficult. Rather, revisit your long-term goal and see what additional skills or knowledge you would need to make it happen. Then, once you've identified what you need to determine how you will obtain it.
#7 Find a mentor or an accountability partner
And finally, work with someone else to hold you accountable for your goal. All successful business professionals have a person they trust to bounce ideas off of. Whether it's a direct mentor, business coach, or personal accountability partner, this person can help hold you to your goals and plan.
Make sure they're aware of your long-term plan, short-term milestones, and the steps you're making to achieve them. Communicate with them the skills you think you need so that they can hold you accountable for following through on your continuing education, whether through reading or skill growth or stepping out with your responsibilities and network connections.
I'd love to help boost your career this year!
If you're not sure who can fill the role in that last step, let me help! I'm both a Certified Professional Coach (CPC) and a Certified Energy Leadership™ Index Master Practitioner. My mission is to help career-minded individuals just like you take the next steps in achieving their career goals. I can't wait to talk with you soon!
Ready to get started? Then contact me HERE to learn more about how I can help!