The way we work is changing: these days, jobs are made and found online (and even on Facebook).
If you’re conscious about moving forward in your career but not sure how to make the most of the resources you’ve already got, here are five ways you can take stock of where you are in your workplace journey, according to author and career expert Michelle Gibbings:
1. Plan ahead
Where do you want your career to take you? You won’t get there unless you’ve got a strategy to get there. Set aside time to reflect on your goals and your next steps, said Gibbings.
“This includes elevating your awareness of what is happening around you, in terms of how your role, profession, industry and sector is changing.”
For example, will your sector be impacted by automation and artificial intelligence?
Don’t be caught off-guard.
“Also look at developments in other industries that may impact. This helps to widen your view about what’s possible for your next career steps.”
2. Network and connect
A great way to network is not to make new connections, but to deepen the ones you already have.
What is your area of expertise? It’s a great idea to use your professional social media profiles to build your brand and become a thought leader.
Tap into communities or areas where there’s already a network of people willing to back you up and advocate for you, according to Gibbings.
But rather than thinking about the advantage you can get out of someone, flip that self-interested approach on its head.
“That means you need to spend time thinking more about what you can do for others than what they can do for you. The more you proactively help others, the more they will want to help you.”
According to the career expert, here are some questions you can ask yourself:
How can I help a colleague or connection build their network? Is there someone in my network that I can connect them with?
Have I got new knowledge or an insight that I could easily share with someone who would find it helpful?
Can I help a colleague or friend with their career?
3. Don’t stop learning
No one ever became successful by standing still and doing the same thing over again. If you want to move ahead in your career, you can’t wait for your organisation to invest in you – seek out self-development opportunities yourself.
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“Successful people know that learning is crucial to future career success and are constantly seeking out new ideas and ways to stretch themselves,” Gibbings said.
“This includes taking the time to understand themselves and to develop their emotional intelligence, which in many areas is more important than technical skills.”
Strengthen your skill-set by identifying where your blind spots are. Here are a number of things you can do to get outside your comfort zone:
Buy a book on a topic you’ve been meaning to read about, and isn’t related to the industry you already work in
If you work in an office, attend a course that requires you to use your hands to create or design something
Go to a lecture on a subject that will broaden your field of view
Subscribe to news in topics you want to keep up to date with
Speak to a consultant or coach to help you uncover your career goals and motivations
Invest in learning more about yourself, your emotional intelligence and emotional triggers
Be more proactive about taking on feedback from people such as mentors, colleagues, peers and even clients or sponsors to understand how people see us compared to how we see ourselves
“How you feel both mentally and physically impacts your focus, productivity, decision-making capacity and how you connect and engage with your work colleagues,” said Gibbings.
With one in five Australians taking time off work due to feeling mentally unwell, it’s important to take the edge off and manage stress, she said.
Ask yourself these questions:
Are you getting enough sleep?
Are you eating well and exercising?
Are you finding time to reflect?
Are you setting aside time each day for ‘me’?
Are you finding ways to recharge and maintain your energy levels?
Don’t forget that your career is not your whole life, but just a part of it, Gibbings said.
“This means it’s important to plan and manage your career in the context of your ‘whole of life’ goals.”
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