From the very first moment you step your foot out of college, with a graduation diploma under your arm, you’re focused on your career. Whether it’s just the beginning or you’ve advanced to a certain point already, the career path is a never-ending one. In order to move further you have to improve and advance constantly. So how do you move forward in your career journey during the holidays, when it’s the season to be jolly? Here are five ways you can advance your career (but we promise, you won’t lose your Christmas spirit).
LinkedIn is the extended online version of your resume, so it should be in tip-top shape. Create an online portfolio that stands out and use this professional social network to connect with the people in your desired industry. It’s beneficial for several reasons, such as getting your experience and skills out there for recruiters to see and connecting with like-minded individuals from your niche.
It’s the perfect platform to present your skills and knowledge, get endorsements from professional contacts (which work like online references) and constantly present your achievements and projects online. It’s practically a world of endless possibilities that can only benefit your career.
Although it seems irrelevant, it’s actually quite essential for your career. Most people think about what kind of a job they would love the most or the ideal salary, but they don’t set clear goals. Take some time to simply think about what you would love to achieve this year, in the next five years or even in the next ten.
Once you outline your goals you’ll do everything to get on that path, as your work and improvements will be channeled towards achieving the goals. Make a clear timeline of what you need to do and when you will do it. Create little milestones that are going to help you improve gradually and reach your end goal, without causing too much pressure or frustration along the way.
Sometimes you need advice from someone who is one step ahead of you. Hiring a career coach is a great option, as they can be your accountability partner and have experience in helping others advance their careers. A career coach can help you with various aspects of your career, whether it’s your resume, your interview skills or developing a career plan.
There are plenty of other online resources and individuals that can provide meaningful professional advice. If you’re already working in your field, you can talk to your manager about your current role and what you would like to achieve in the future. You can get an insight into exactly what you need to do and which path to take in order to advance in the desired way. If you haven’t yet broken into your desired field, conducting informational interviews is a great way to gain insight from a professional working in the industry.
It’s crucial to build a professional network and stay connected to people that are going to be helpful along the career road. Make a professional profile on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook and search for groups that are related to your career. You can connect with people, share ideas, exchange contacts or even do projects together that are going to push you one step further.
Networking is especially important in the beginning of your career, so, if you’re unable to attend work-related events, your laptop and favorite social media is a great alternative.
Even if you don’t actually own a company, you still want to have your own personal brand. As you develop, both personally and professionally, you should constantly evolve, polish your image and work on new and fresh ways to present yourself.
What does this mean? It means that if you want to advance in your career you should have a specific business personality, that’s both warm and friendly and strong and takes initiative. This isn’t just for managers and directors. Even if you’re at the very bottom of the barrel at the moment, if you work on behaving like you’re at the top, you’re going to end up on the top. So, think about what’s missing in your professional character and work on it. It’s not going to happen overnight, but the process of evolving takes some time.
In the end, it all comes down being able to see what you want from your career in the present, and how it’s going to evolve in the future. What does the future executive you look like? Create your future by thinking and planning it out today.
Eva Wislow is a career coach at CareersBooster.com. Eva has a degree in Psychology and she is focusing on helping people discover their true calling. She loves to help people challenge themselves and achieve their career goals. Follow her on Twitter.