One of the worst mistakes in life is falling into a routine where you don’t try to improve your career, life, and relationships.
Feeling content may seem like a good thing, but it ultimately means that you stop trying. You don’t bother to push yourself and look for new opportunities as you’re comfortable with where you are in life. Some of you may be very happy feeling this way, but be wary of the dangers of being too content! You might be happy now, but you could be far happier if you pushed yourself and looked to improve at all times.
This applies to all aspects of your life, but we’re mainly looking at your career. Most people end up settling into a comfortable job where they just sit back and cruise through life. You earn a decent living, but you have so much unlocked potential that you’re wasting. If you pushed yourself a little bit further, then there’s no telling how much more you could achieve.
Below, you’ll find some ideas and tips that will help to challenge you.
Create a career plan
How many of you actually plan out your career? Have you ever sat down and plotted what you will achieve in the next five or ten years? It’s not something most people do, but it is something you should try if you want to improve your career prospects.
A plan gives you a sense of direction and creates lots of goals for you to target. As an example, you may plan to be in a specific role within the next twelve months. Then, you may set incremental targets that help you get to that position. You tick off your targets as you progress, and you will eventually reach your end goal!
It’s a very good idea to have a detailed career plan laid out in front of you. The best approach is to go for a five-year plan. This ensures that you’re looking ahead and are actively looking to keep improving and reaching new heights.
You can make a career plan or plot your path however you like. If you have an iPad or tablet, then there’s a great app called XMind that lets you plan out different mind maps. It’s very useful at creating a visual representation of your career plan and showing a path that you can travel down.
Gain new qualifications
This is the most obvious thing to do when you’re looking to advance your career and unlock new opportunities. Gaining new qualifications means that you’re studying new areas and broadening your horizons.
No matter what career you’re in, there will always be ways to upskill and improve your qualifications. In fact, it’s often impossible to improve your career opportunities if you don’t do this. That’s where most people fail – they don’t want to do any extra learning or training, so they settle for the job they have.
Generally, there are two approaches to look at:
- Getting a degree in a specific subject
- Taking a course
Getting a degree can be beneficial in many careers. For example, careers in business can be enhanced if you get a business management degree. Careers in dentistry can be improved if you get a degree in orthodontics. The list goes on, but it’s a surefire way to get extensive training where you develop new knowledge and learn new skills to make you an expert in a new field.
So, you can either choose to study a degree that’s very specific to your career, or you could choose one that’s broader and touches upon multiple different careers. Something like a degree in psychology fits this category very well. I know what you’re thinking, what can you do with a psychology degree? Surprisingly a lot. Obviously, it opens the door to many types of therapy jobs. But, from a business standpoint, it’s a great degree to have as you gain knowledge on human behavior that you can use to your advantage when marketing or selling products. Regardless of your area of work, be sure to look for online courses that can enhance your position.
Attend networking events
There’s an old saying that finding work isn’t about what you know, but who you know. Of course, the reality is that it’s a combination of the two. You need to know stuff to find good jobs. But, there’s no denying that having some good contacts can definitely unlock new opportunities for you and your career.
Consequently, you have to start creating a network of influential contacts. This should already be done through your current job – if you have one. Let’s say that you work as a sales advisor, you should have relationships with multiple contacts, many of which can help you out if you’re ever looking for work. So, there’s one networking tip for you; develop relationships with contacts through your existing job and keep up communications.
The second tip is to start attending networking events. There are so many events that are held around the country throughout the year. You should attend networking events as they give you a chance to meet new people in your industry.
This is particularly important if you’re thinking about moving to a new industry. Here, you’ll have no contacts at all. So, attending an event can help you get your foot in the door, which sets you up with more potential opportunities.
Ask for a promotion
Believe it or not, many people will never ask for a promotion at work. It’s almost seen as taboo in a way. A promotion isn’t something you have to ask for; if your boss wanted to promote you, then they would, right?
Realistically, there’s no harm in asking for a promotion. Especially if you feel like you deserve one and can do a better job for the company in a different role. Sometimes, managers don’t think about promotions because they either don’t think you’re interested or don’t think they need to do it. But, if you can show them that you will improve the business by taking on a new role, then they will strongly consider it.
Sometimes, you have to be more proactive and take the plunge. What’s the worst that could happen? Your request gets denied, and you stay in your original role. Now, you’re in the manager’s mind if they ever do have opportunities for promotions. So, you will be one of the first people to know about them. The best-case scenario is that you get promoted and take on a new role with better pay and better benefits.
Look for a new job
Similarly, if you can’t advance your career through your existing employers, then turn your attention elsewhere. Start applying for jobs that are better than what you currently have – and that can lead you down a more rewarding career path. Make sure you’re fully prepared for any job interviews so you can show off your talents and get the role of your dreams.
Also, think back to your career plan. What jobs can help you achieve the goals you set for yourself? You may look for one that’s an improvement on your current role, or you might search for an entirely different job in a new industry. It all depends on what your goals are and what opportunities you’re searching for.
At the end of the day, you should always look to improve your career prospects. If there’s an opportunity for you to make more money or take on a more rewarding role, then why don’t you do it? Think about it, you’ll be working full-time from around 21 through to your late 60’s. Some of you might even work beyond the retirement age! You’ve got a lifetime ahead of you, so don’t settle for a comfortable career in your 20’s. Always look ahead.