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Career development is the things you improve now for long-term growth and success. It’s a process of continuous education to learn more about your potential career paths. Investing in your development will get you there no matter what your future self looks like.
Sometimes it would take a lifetime for an average person to have “overnight success,” while a few can do it in only 10-15 years. So what do these professionals do differently that allows them to progress quickly? You’ll discover the answer as you read along.
However, the real question that you should be asking yourself first is this:
Are you ready and willing enough to make small sacrifices to develop your career growth?
And if your answer is “yes,” this article will provide you with tips to improve your career development.
Benefits of Career development
Career development is choosing a career path and advancing your skills to help you achieve it. It’s not a one-time thing because it’s a never-ending process of making the right decisions to shape your career growth.
Your career development matters because of the impact it creates in your life beyond what money can give you. So keep in mind these benefits of professional development to understand why it’s important:
- It can boost your productivity
- It increases your job satisfaction
- It can improve your overall well being
- You’ll have broader employment possibilities
- You’ll have a greater sense of purpose and meaning
You are the only person who is responsible for your career development. However, some people, such as potential employers, will be interested in your progression. So by making yourself stand out, you welcome new opportunities that will land on your feet.
8 Essential Career Development Tips
Professionals who progress in their career growth at a faster rate have one thing in common; they have consistent habits. Since habits trigger your brain’s flow state, you’re less likely to procrastinate on your goals. As a result of forming healthy habits, you accelerate your professional development more quicker.
If you want to maximize your chances for success in a specific field, follow these 8 essential career development tips:
Find your ideal career
It can be challenging to find your ideal career when you’re in survival mode. Many people stick to a job they don’t like just to put food on the table. However, it doesn’t give them any job satisfaction.
An ideal career should give you meaningful professional life experience. So, when choosing your dream job, it’s important to marry your strengths with your interests.
List the skill sets you’re good at and your passions that could match them. For example, with your love for writing mixed with your content creation and graphic design skills, you may land a job opportunity as a marketing specialist.
Map out your career plan
Planning your career development gives you structure. Without a career plan, everything can overwhelm you, especially if you don’t have anything to measure your progress.
Let’s say one of your career goals is to be the CTO in a specific industry in 12 years. Then you can establish reverse planning by working your way backward from there instead of forwards. If you want to be a CTO, write the job roles required for you to reach your long-term goals. Now you have a career timeline to work towards achieving such leadership roles.
When you map out your career plan, give yourself deadlines and milestones to work on to track your career progression. By monitoring yourself, you can identify certain tricks of your trade to improve on.
Identify strengths and fill in your skill gaps
Chances are you already have a basket of skill sets. But if you have a career goal in mind, you need to take a full inventory of your skills to spot your skill gaps. Knowing what skills you need to work on prompts you to take action in the present moment.
If you find it hard to come up with a list, think of your past experiences and achievements that helped you throughout your current job. These are the skills that you’re good at, which can be transferable as you advance your own career. Then look at the job description of your dream position and pin down the skills you currently need to possess. You can take online courses, attend traditional classes, or do formal training to gain new skills.
Monitor your wins
How will you know if you’ve achieved certain developments in your professional growth if you don’t monitor them? Tracking your professional development keeps you empowered, energizing you to keep pushing yourself toward your professional goals.
Write down your wins regularly. If your team is part of your progress, describe how your contributions were part of the team’s success. As you keep track of your wins for a long time, this progress will accumulate to a specific skill set.
For example, if you were working on challenging projects, jot down the things you did to overcome these challenges. It is also wise to keep a record of such projects to make a portfolio because having one can be helpful in your future career growth.
Expand your professional network
Polishing your networking skills offers two advantages to your career growth:
- It lets you connect with other professionals in your desired industry, as these people can help you carve a clearer career path.
- It allows you to grow your professional brand and build a reputation as someone valuable in your industry.
You can build your professional relationships by attending networking events and conferences to meet other people in various fields. While networking can be intimidating, stepping out of your comfort zone to meet new people brings you a step closer to job opportunities.
Learning from someone else’s career growth lets you make better decisions on yours. You’ll never get any more first-hand experience than by asking for career advice from a mentor. So, find one with the qualities and career success you aspire to have.
Be selective when seeking mentorship. You can’t simply pick the first person you see that seems successful because they might be an inefficient teacher.
Choose a mentor who has relevant expertise in your desired career to help you move forward or revitalize your career development. Make sure that you have something in common to bring the relationship together.
Request for feedback
If you’re unsure how your professional growth is going, don’t hesitate to get feedback from others. Receiving constructive criticisms lets you learn faster only if you welcome them positively.
As you progress into your career, hearing people’s observations about yourself helps you break bad habits. Whether the feedback you receive is favorable or not, it lets you work more effectively towards your career goals. These comments about your career growth can come from your professional relationships, friends, or family.
Learn to take a break
Anyone’s career journey is never without setbacks and challenges. You must learn when and how to take a break, even if rest is the last thing on your mind. Your career plans will still be there after taking a weekend for yourself.
Having self-care can remove any anxiety, frustration, and stress from your shoulders. As a result of putting your personal needs first, you’ll have a stronger grit to face any adversities in your career growth. So be kind to yourself because your career won’t be as fulfilling if you don’t.
Keep a consistent career development
Everyone has their own unique take on success. Others might have a lateral move on their career path, while yours may be on the vertical approach.
The only thing that stands in your way to advance your professional life is the walls you built around yourself. So break out of it because you already have what it takes to become successful.
If you want success in life, find an area where you can make yourself fit perfectly, neither below nor above anyone else in the room. Doing this will give you space to grow and learn new things.