Boosting your career is a process that requires constant action. You have to keep strategizing, not only to stay ahead of the competition, but also, to achieve professional satisfaction as well. The last thing anybody wants is to stagnate and feel dissatisfaction in their working life. Boosting your career takes time, though. It is not necessarily a quick process. You have to be willing to do the grunt work. Below are ten ways boost your career over time .
- Change jobs ever so often (don’t get stuck in the same job for too long)
Gone are the days when people stay at the same job for thirty years until they retire. If you want to boost your career, you have to change jobs ever so often. It doesn’t mean you hop from job to job every six months unless you are in an industry where this makes sense. But it does mean that after two or three years, if there are no opportunities for advancement in your company, you should consider moving on, and not to a lateral position, but one that offers you an opportunity to grow a little bit more.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for a promotion and/or a raise
Folks who are shy about asking for a promotion or raise are less likely to advance in their careers than those who are less shy. If you want to boost your career, you need to be willing to ask for a promotion or a raise. Quite often, your boss is waiting to see if you believe in yourself enough to ask, and will never offer unless you ask. Obviously, you have to weigh your personal situation before asking, and you have to make the pitch in the right way. You also have to be able to deal with rejection if the answer is no.
- Take as many professional development courses as possible
If you want to boost your career, you have to invest in yourself. This means, among other things, taking as many professional development courses as possible. If your company offers them—and many companies do—take advantage. But if your company does not, you have to do your own research to see what is out there. Quite often, there are free resources available. If not completely free, a lot of resources are affordable, and you will find that it is within your budget to pay for these courses yourself. You should do what it takes to keep learning as a professional. This will definitely help to boost your career.
- Cozy up to the Boss
Since your boss is often key to your advancement at work, it helps if you and your boss are on good terms. If you antagonize your boss, don’t be surprised if you are not the one picked for raises and promotions. It does not mean you have to be overly obsequious. But it does mean that your career is likely to enjoy a lot more boosts if you and your boss are on good terms.
- Have a head-hunter on fast dial
For a lot of people, boosting their career comes down to which head-hunters they know. Head-hunters are crucial to the average person’s career because they often have first dibs at new openings in key positions. It helps if you build a relationship with a couple of good head-hunters so that when you are ready to move on from one position to the next, you have strong leads for the next position.
- Learn to accept constructive criticism
Most people do not like to be criticized; but this is wrong-headed. Criticism can really make a big difference in boosting your career if you take it for what it is and learn to improve from it. Don’t misunderstand: not all criticism comes from a good place. There is a difference between constructive criticism and destructive criticism, or even abuse. It is not difficult to tell the difference when you are in the situation. Constructive criticism gives you guidance and suggests ways to improve. Destructive criticism leaves you emptied and humiliated. Never let yourself be discouraged by someone else’s destructive criticism.
- Consider specialization rather than being a jack-of-all-trades (in hard to staff jobs)
Sometimes, boosting your career means staying specialized in one area or field. Consider moving from generalization to specialization in your career as early as possible in your working life. Specialization often means less competition and higher salaries throughout your career. It also allows you to develop “expertise” rather than being a jack of all trades and master of none. It is also easier to plan your career path if you are specialized because you can tailor everything, including the types of professional development courses to invest in, the specific head-hunters you should target and the skills you need to develop and refine—without wasting unnecessary time and resources.
- Volunteer to learn new skills
Volunteering might seem counter-intuitive but it is a good way to boost your career. If nothing else, it can strengthen your resume. But it can also help you to build new skills you would not otherwise be able to develop; and it could provide you with networking possibilities as well.
- Dare to take your vacation days (and don’t just sit on the couch)
Many people do not take full advantage of their vacation days because they either think that working 365 days a year will endear them to the boss, or they lack the imagination to actually travel to new places and have new experiences. Traveling is a great way to boost your career because it gives you new perspectives. You also can meet new and interesting people while traveling and this could lead to new job opportunities you would never have had if you had stayed at your desk every day without taking your vacation days.
- Make sure you have good references (so work on developing your professional relationships)
A key component of boosting your career is having good references who are willing to vouch for you. The professional relationships you develop—especially with people in senior positions, will make a big difference in your career. In America, it is almost certain that any new job you have will require you to provide references. You have to constantly work on your professional relationships, even when you are not actively job hunting so that when you need them to say nice things about you, folks will be willing, and it won’t be like you are pulling their teeth.
To conclude, everyone wants to boost their career. Nobody wants to stagnate and stay in the same position with the same salary for their entire working lives. Everyone wants to make progress in their jobs and careers. There are many different things that you have to do to achieve that. It is a constant, evolving process. The key is to not get overwhelmed and to keep things light and easy, while actively taking steps to give your career the boosts its needs, over time. Focus on enjoying the journey to creating the job and career that you want.