Career development tips for professionals are needed at some point in life. They will be different for those embarking on a new career after graduating university to those wanting a career change in the middle of their life, but the fact remains, we are all responsible for carving out the career we want. Below are some career development tips for professionals that will help you take your career to the next level and ensure you have a career you’re proud of.
1. Focus on Your Future
One of the greatest career development tips for professionals is to focus on your future. What do you really want out of your career life, and where do you see yourself in two, five or even ten years? Ask yourself these important, yet basic questions. If you’re someone that can’t see that far ahead, just think about what you want immediately after the job/career you’re currently in. That way, you can start planning and steering your professional life in the direction that you see yourself going.
2. Be Honest about What You Want
During the course of your life, you’ll probably take a job that you just decided to take, whether out of convenience, because of the commute or the money factor. The problem is when you do that, you’re literally missing out on a job/career that you could have really loved. Spend some time being honest with yourself and find out what it is that you really want. Choose a career path that you’re passionate about – that way, you won't be miserable in a job and you won't be taking something just for the money or the commute!
3. Have Courage
Don’t sell yourself short, believe in yourself and most of all, have courage! Work can make us fearful at times and job seeking can bring out the worst kinds of fear. Sometimes when I look at a job posting, I think to myself – I can’t do that or I’m not qualified for that job, so I don’t apply! Then, if I don’t apply, I won’t have a chance of ever getting that job. Take my advice, there is always going to be some sort of learning curve in any job, so find your inner courage and apply; remember those butterflies in the stomach you’re feeling usually symbolize that you’re on the right track.
4. Embrace Criticism and Your Critics
This can be a challenging tip, especially if you have a hard time accepting criticism, however it will help you out a lot. Whether your career ideas and dreams are criticized in some way, or your co-workers say something harsh about you, don’t take things personally and remember laughter and a sense of humor are always the best remedies. After all, it’s your life, so do what makes sense to you, and try not to worry about what others think of you and your career choices!
5. Be a Student and Find a Mentor
If there is ever an opportunity to learn more in your current role or about another career, take it! If your boss suggests you take a course or workshop, seize the opportunity. You will always learn something, even if you think it’s nothing. You might even have a chance to network and meet others that can mentor you and help you with your career goals as you find they've been in a similar situation.
6. Know How to Champion Unpopular Positions
Everyone’s been in a difficult role or found themselves in an unpopular position at some point in their career. It’s about being able to turn those difficult situations around, so that they work in your favor. Maybe you need to learn how to manage your manager better, or that client who is causing you to work around the clock. Whatever it is, hold your own and shore up your allies (the people that will have your back), so that you can make it through the tough times.
7. It’s Okay to Walk Away
Know when it’s the right time to move on. Companies don’t operate in quite the same way they did thirty years ago; nowadays, employees are personally in charge of their own career paths, rather than the other way around. If your interests don’t coincide with that of the company, move on! I’m not telling you to quit tomorrow, I’m saying that if you’re not learning any skills or the company lacks opportunities for you or doesn’t empower your career, figure out an escape route so that you can quit and have something else to go to!
Career development isn’t always simple, but you can make it simpler by setting broad career goals, planning out the steps and then putting that plan into action. A career doesn’t happen overnight without some thought, so make sure you’re thinking about your options wisely. What are some career development tips you have that you can share?