When times are tough and many are thankful to simply have a job, it can be hard to work up the courage to think about your next career steps. However, holding the same job position for a long period can be taxing; you may start to question whether this is all you were meant to do.
Do you feel like you have the potential to do more? Persons who have more recently come into the workforce may feel particularly challenged as to how to make their job more meaningful. Beyond wishing for a greater sense of purpose, many also hope to advance to a more rewarding position, whether that involves an increase in pay, schedule flexibility, or both. Peruse some of the tips below to increase your chances of taking your career to the next level.
1. Figure Out Your Goals
You don’t need to map out the next five to ten years of your life, but you do need to conceive of a general place you wish to end up down the road. Do you want to stay in your current company? Could you, one day, conceivably advance to your bosses’ position, or one even higher with your current organization? In the future, do you want to be able to work part-time—or even work for yourself—so that you can spend more time with family? These are all things to seriously consider. During this process, be sure to actually map out your goals in physical form. Keep a spreadsheet, a road map, or detailed word document available for reference.
2. Find a Mentor
One thing you can do to better realize your professional goals is find a real-life example of the kind of success you wish to achieve. Selecting a mentor who faced similar challenges to you and who possesses a career trajectory similar to your own (or to the one you wish for) will allow you a leg up on marketing yourself as an asset and how to cope with disappointment. Meeting with your mentor on a regular schedule (say, every six months) will help motivate you to embark on a similar, progressive path to workplace and personal achievement.
3. Join an Association
Yes, you probably hear it all the time: where you get often has to do with who you know. While networking can be frustrating to those who don’t have immediate “ins” there is a certain power in knowing people who do work that you wish to do. To break into a useful network, think about joining a professional organization in your field (like, for instance, the American Association of Museums, or the American Bankers Association). When taken advantage of, membership in these communities can lead you to meet persons who will help you realize your career goals, and can even lead to board positions that could further your eligibility for work promotion.
4. Consider Going Back to School
Although it is not the right decision for everyone, advanced degrees can really help get you in the door as far as job upgrades go—be it a better title, a larger salary, or greater responsibilities. Remember that going back to school to complete your degree will give you a boost of authority in the eyes of employers. Plus, nowadays, non-traditional learns have the option to complete their degree online, which is a flexible modality for busy students.
About the Author: This article was written by Tamryn Hennessy, National Director of career development at Rasmussen College, which has 22 campus locationsin across the Midwest and Florida.