Feeling stuck at work? The usual tips like “Find a mentor” or “Expand your html skills” do work — but if you need some fresh ideas, here are some other steps you can take to turn your career around this year.
Design a “To-Do” Plan
You know what you want to achieve. And why. Instead of just writing down general goals, now it’s time to determine what actions you need to take to reach your objectives.
Create a list of these actions. For each one, be specific about what you want to do and how you’ll execute it. Include in your plan realistic timeframes to complete each step. When you give yourself a time limit on a task, you’re more likely to accomplish it.
Network With a Purpose
Networking is more than the exchange of chit-chat and business cards. Or it can be, if you go into every meeting, event, etc. knowing what you want to accomplish. Most people try to get as many industry contacts as possible, which can be helpful, depending on your profession. But consider narrowing your focus to one person or a few people you can form a meaningful connection with.
In addition, civic and volunteer organizations are great places to network. These will expose you to other professions and other ways of approaching work you may be able to apply to you job. Also, you can expand your opportunities with new clients, new associates or new career possibilities.
Follow Through With Follow-Up
“Let’s keep in touch.” That declaration has been made many times. But what separates those who get ahead from those who don’t is they actually do it. If someone you just met invites you to “Call me. We’ll do lunch,” call them! If they give you their business card with their email address, email them!
Don’t wait too long to do it, either. Immediate follow-up shows that you are truly interested in them. Business, like life, is about relationships.
Use Technology to Make Your Resume Stand Out
Gone are the days of submitting your resume by snail mail. Since you will either email it or display it on your career website, why not use links within the document to extend it?
You can use links to photo and/or short video posts of your activities. A photo of you with a Meals on Wheels client that you just delivered a plate to. A YouTube video of you tutoring kids in an after-school program. Both have more impact than just listing “Meals on Wheels Volunteer” or “Voluntary After-School Tutor” at the bottom of your resume.
Show That You’re Management Material
Just don’t sit in meetings and smile and nod. If you have thoughts on how to improve workflow, speak up. Tell your supervisor if you have an idea to increase client retention. You may ruffle a few feathers by making an impression. Your suggestions, your initiative — demonstrate your commitment to the company. You have more to offer than just being a worker-bee.
Join Industry Organizations and Participate
First, you should join industry organizations if you haven’t done so already. Once you’re a member, get involved. Join a committee. Become a board member.
Don’t just attend their conventions and events — offer your services. Give a speech or sit on a panel. Again, it’s an excellent opportunity to network. Remember, recruiters and employers attend these events, too. Your next job could come from the exposure.
Don’t Shy Away From Challenges
Feel like your job constantly throws you into the deep-end of the pool? And you’re just learning how to swim? Relax and embrace it — you’ll float.
You have to teach yourself the new software program. You need to learn a new language. A client screams at you for a mistake that isn’t even your fault. Your supervisor spreads gossip about you. Others have survived these things, and so will you.
Instead of having it thrust upon you, sometimes your boss will ask for volunteers to work on a difficult task. Step up! Accept each challenge as an opportunity to grow — as an employee and as a person.
Check off the boxes after completing each of these tips, and transform your career in 2017.