The day’s urgent tasks can easily sideline your career growth and development. But your career won’t move forward if you don’t work on achieving your long-term career goals. To help you keep your career a priority, here are a few tactics and techniques you can employ.
Set Strategic and Tactical Goals
Take the time you need for job shadowing, informational interviewing, exploration, and research. It’s much easier to create a career roadmap when you understand where you want to go.
Then, move on to tactics that will help you achieve your strategic goals. Create a list of actionable steps you can take each day. The lists should encompass tasks that support your career growth and development.
To make sure you will address the most important items first, prioritize the list. If you don’t complete an item, don’t worry, you can roll it over to the next day.
Give it a Deadline
If there are tasks that you continually defer, consider replacing them with more viable ones. As for the more important ones, give them a deadline. When your action items don’t have deadlines, it’s easy to defer them. Assigning firm, but realistic deadlines is a great way to elevate the importance of the tasks related to your career growth and development.
Determine What You are not Good at
The sooner you address your professional weak points, the closer you will be to achieving your career goals. Identify your skill gaps and put them on the aforementioned list. After you correct one weakness, move on to the next one. If you don’t address your weaknesses, they will gradually become more apparent.
Be Indispensable, but Replaceable
The key to developing a career within a company is to become indispensable, but replaceable at the same time.
If your company can transfer your role to someone else without any issues, you are more likely to get promoted. If you close everything on yourself, your company may have a hard time finding a good successor, so they may decide to keep you where you are.
Do your job well, but demonstrate that you are ready to take on other responsibilities. Instead of focusing solely on your current position, look for skill growth opportunities, and make the most of them.
Make it known to your superiors that you want to grow and climb the ladder. But use actions, not just words. Volunteer for different tasks and show that you can be useful for projects beyond your current role.
This will tell your company that you are psychologically ready to ditch them at any time if a better opportunity presents itself. To stop you from leaving, your superiors will be inclined to think of the best ways to promote you.
Get a Career Coach
Talking things out with someone who understands your specific situation can be eye-opening. You don’t have to solve every problem by yourself. If you feel like you are stuck and don’t know how you can grow your career, consider hiring a career coach.
The average cost of a career coach is $100 to $150 per hour (over €100 in Europe), so some may hesitate to hire one. However, the expertise and perspective a career coach can offer are invaluable.
A career coach will teach you how to invest time and effort in yourself. Their guidance can make you more directed and more focused. They will ensure you tell the right story everywhere—from your LinkedIn profile and bio to job interviews and networking events.
If you want to change companies, they will help you come up with a solid job-search plan. Your coach will help you set career development goals and stay motivated to achieve them. More importantly, they will hold you accountable for your choices and actions.
Build a Network of Contacts
To gather information, you need to gather contacts. How many email addresses or phone numbers of colleagues do you have? For starters, aim for more than a hundred. To develop a network of professional contacts, you should take part in commercial projects, seminars, and conferences.
You can also tap into a career network by joining a professional association in your field. This way, you’ll also gain precious insight into what it’s like to climb the corporate ladder in your prospective field.
Again, career growth and development is not something you can accomplish on your own. You need to actively work on meeting new people with whom you can discuss professional topics.
Share Your Results
Establish metrics to measure your progress as you develop career goals. Do you have solid progress to report? Share it with your coworkers and your network. Your career will benefit more when others are aware of your successes.
But avoid bragging. Instead, make sure to showcase your accomplishments in a way your colleagues will benefit from. For instance, you can share how you used new technology to solve an old problem, relieve a bottleneck, or cut costs.
Learn From Criticism
If a supervisor, colleague, or mentor criticizes your behavior, don’t take it personally. When you receive feedback, focus on the information instead of any “attitude” that may be present.
Criticism is valuable because it gives you a different perspective and offers you an opportunity to grow.