How to Continually Invest in Your Career
Think of your career as a living, breathing thing. In order to keep it alive, you need to continually feed it so it can thrive. But how do you do that?
In order for you and your career to grow, for you to be challenged and for you to land that promotion, you need to push yourself to gain new skills and experiences outside of your day job.
It’s all too easy to land a job and once you’ve mastered it, start to coast. The learning curve is over, you’re settled into your position and team and you have a routine. But that’s exactly the time when you need to think “What’s next?”.
Yes, you will still learn new things at your job without having to seek it out (we hope!), but to make the big jumps you need to challenge yourself. So, how do you seek new career heights and push the limits? Here’s how to keep investing in your career.
Ask For More
Once you’ve been in a position for a while, it makes sense that you fall into a pattern. You know how to successfully complete the recurring tasks and do them well, you know the answers to most questions and you just generally do your job well. That’s to be expected when you’ve been somewhere for any significant length of time. But you're also out of the growth zone.
Keep challenging yourself by asking your manager for more responsibility. It could be in the form of a new project, increased task volume, an intern or whatever will help you take the next step.
If you’re met with resistance assure them that your current workload will still get done. You’re a master, so we doubt your tasks are taking your full workday. Show them how you can take on more and still do your current responsibilities well.
Seek Out Learning Opportunities
You likely won’t be able to learn everything you want or need to grow your career on the job. If you feel you’re missing a certain skill or qualification, look into how you can start learning it so you’re prepared for the next time you’re in a situation that requires it.
First, research what courses in your chosen industry or skill set are available online. An online class through a site like Udemy or Coursera is a good way to get your feet wet and gain basic knowledge. Then if it’s something that requires more extensive study you can look into what other courses or classes are available.
Another great tool for learning (and networking, too!) is conferences. In just a few days or hours you can get a crash course from experts in your industry or niche. And oftentimes companies will cover the cost as it’s a learning and development opportunity.
Find a Mentor
If you know you’re in a rut or plateau in your position but don’t know what the next step is, consider finding a mentor. A mentor is someone with experience in your industry who can provide help, insight, and recommendations for your career path. It’s likely they will have experienced something similar and can help you figure out what the next step is.
Think about past managers or colleagues and consider who you either feel the most comfortable with or admire their career path. Then reach out and ask if you can meet for 30 minutes to discuss the industry and your own career aspirations. A quick conversation can go a long way.
So, whether it’s taking on more in your current position, seeking outside knowledge, or asking for advice, it’s important to be proactive about your career growth. It’s up to you to continually push yourself and your skills forward so your career can follow suit.