Tips for Career Development in 2014

Career Development

What’s your level of career satisfaction? If you’re feeling stuck or unfulfilled, you might be considering a change as you embark on a brand-new year. The good news is that you CAN get a fresh start—without having to switch jobs or careers.

How? By identifying your goals, managing your time more wisely, forming valuable connections within your professional network, challenging yourself with new skills and knowledge, and staying positive. Embrace these best practices to boost your professional career in 2014, and turn the job you have into the career you deserve.

Identify your goals

Any successful career development plan starts with knowing where you are now, and where you want to be. A Guide to Evaluate Your Priorities & Set Goals written by Samantha Smith in Forbes shares an outline for organizing your goals. You should be aware not only of your core priorities and goals, but also your motivations for achieving them—so you can tailor your strategies to the things that motivate you.

One effective way to map out your goals is to work backwards. Decide where you want your career to take you, and then determine the steps you can take to get there until you’ve reached your current position.

Along with your goal map, identify any skills you need to obtain or improve, and work out a self-directed plan to gain those skills.

Take time management seriously

Many professionals regard “time management” as little more than a buzzword. It sounds like a great idea, but who actually puts it into practice?

Actually, most highly successful people utilize effective time management. By mastering this skill, you’ll be able to get more done faster, achieve a healthier work-life balance, and take real breaks and actual vacations to refresh and recharge.

If you’re not sure where to start, there are plenty of free time management tips online. The Entrepreneur provides 10 Time Management Tips That Work. You could also take a time management class, or pick up a few books on the topic.

Connect with more people

The more relationships you have with professionals in your workplace and industry, the better your chances of discovering new opportunities to further your career. Building a robust network is a great way to foster professional development.

Here are a few tips on successful networking:

  • Start with your colleagues and supervisors. Assess your relationships with the people in your organization, and identify ways to improve them.
  • Take time to develop your social presence online, especially for business-centric networks like LinkedIn. Follow industry leaders and participate in conversations.
  • Seek out a mentor and demonstrate your passion for success and advancement.

Challenge yourself

If your career is going nowhere, chances are you need a challenge. You don’t have to settle for a stagnant, dead-end career. Take the initiative to change what you’re doing and how you’re doing it, and you’ll realize big returns.

For instance, if you have ideas for how to improve certain areas of your organization—but you’ve never mentioned them because it’s not part of your job—make this the year you speak up and stand out. A good organization welcomes solid suggestions, and your insight could lead to greater opportunities.

If you’ve settled into a routine, step outside of your comfort zone. Take on extra projects and initiatives at work, and show your motivation to contribute.

Maintain a winning attitude

Have you noticed anyone in your workplace who seems down and unhappy all the time? What kind of shape is their career in? Chances are they’re not as successful as they could be, and unfortunately the negative attitude isn’t helping.

When you put out positive energy, success tends to find and follow you. Positive people have stronger professional relationships, because others are eager to work and partner with them. Even if you don’t feel that things are going well right now, there’s an incredible advantage to persevering with a positive, upbeat attitude.

For 2014, resolve to identify your goals, manage your time wisely, utilize social media to form valuable connections, challenge yourself with continual training and learning, and maintain a winning attitude. Before you know it, you’ll be on the fast track to a fresh start and a fulfilling, rewarding professional career.

 

Melissa R- Sr. Writer

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