There are 3 ways in which a career can move. Up, down and sideways.
The trick to turning your career path into a vision of robust growth is easier than you think. All you need is a reliable strategy, and here you will find exactly that.
Let’s start by answering the glaring question: What is career development?
Career development is the way in which you manage your skills and resources in order to advance your lifelong work.
By learning to better manage your personal skills and resources, you can become a rising star in any business.
To accomplish this, you must learn the 10 steps to a thriving career development.
Make clear career goals
A famous study about setting goals revealed that “people who write down their goals are 33% more successful in achieving them than those who formulate outcomes in their heads.” 1
Take a moment to soak this up.
By making the simplest act of commitment to an end goal by writing it down, you have already increased your productivity by one third!
In order to make the most of this hack, you need to dream big! By setting a big goal for yourself, you will challenge yourself that much more to achieve it.
Having a meaningful goal is the crucible of personal success. When you have a clear goal to strive for, then you will start growing toward it.
“If you’re working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.” – Steve Jobs
Your meaningful goals will fuel and direct you, but only if you are committed to achieving it.
Learn how to change your outlook:
3 types of good habits | Success Planner
Sleep 8 hours every day
I simply can’t get enough of sharing this tip. Sleeping habits play a huge role in maintaining peak performance.
Lack of sleep causes:
- reduced psychomotor abilities
- inability to regulate mood
- diminished concentration
Aside from these short-term side effects of sleep deprivation and oversleeping which can clearly affect productivity, the long term consequences are even more alarming. 2
Respect the office etiquette
To ensure a robust career development, you need to be seen as dependable and professional.
“Talent means nothing if you’re not dependable.” – Frank Sonnenberg
In order to become known as reliable, you must display good office etiquette; both in your behavior and in your work. In this way, you will be taken seriously and people will trust you.
Office etiquette tips:
- Be punctual
- Do your job thoroughly
- Keep your working area clean and organized
- Maintain good hygiene
- Greet people with a smile
- Be polite and respectful
The best way to make your boss stand up and take notice is by producing above average results.
Hard work will get you slightly above average results. Working smart, on the other hand, will make you outperform expectations. Therefore, overperformance is your ticket to a booming career development.
Smart work tips:
- Take advice and learn from more experienced colleagues.
- Optimize your workflow by finding little ways to shave time off your routine.
- Always do thorough preparation.
Applying these tips to your daily work will immediately improve your productivity.
Upgrade your hard skills
Hard skills, or vocational skills, are measurable skills which make you qualified to do your job.
Most often, we acquire our vocation through higher education. However, continuing education also counts as a hard skill because it improves your work expertise.
Improving your expertise is directly related to your pay grade. Therefore, consider investing some time and money to upgrade your hard skills.
Continuing education examples:
- online courses
- degree credit courses
- non-degree career training
- college remediation
- workforce training
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” –Henry Ford
Aside from formal education, look for ways to hack your work assignments in order to additionally boost your results.
Take the time outside of your work to learn new tricks of the trade. Find lectures on Youtube, articles on Google, visit forums that are directly related to your improving your hard skills.
Remember, results speak louder than diplomas.
Improve your soft skills
You cannot go wrong by improving hard skills. However, soft skills are proven to be the main contributor to a rapid career development.
A study on soft skills was conducted by the Stanford Research Institute. It reveals that “75% of long-term job success depends on people skills, while only 25% on technical knowledge”. 3
Soft skills examples:
- Time management
- Influencing skills
- Problem solving
- Critical observation
- Conflict resolution
Learn to 10x your soft skills:
Top 10 influencing skills | Top 10 time management skills
Build a business mindset
How to think business?
Strive to make smart strategic decisions for the benefit of the company.
Being a good leader is one of the most important soft skills. However, in business, it’s even more important to be a good manager.
What is the difference between a manager and a leader?
- Leaders have teams, managers have employees.
- Leaders inspire, managers control.
- Leaders take chances, managers mitigate risk.
“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” – Peter F. Drucker
How to manage your career growth
In order to maintain a robust career growth, you need to stick to the 3 rules of career growth:
1st Rule: Look at the big picture.
Building a successful career takes time and effort. Therefore, you need to pace yourself on a daily basis, so that you can avoid burnout and ensure consistent peak performance.
2nd Rule: Focus on results.
Focus on the things that you can do to reduce operational costs and increase efficiency. Also, volunteer for menial tasks that require responsibility. This will move you up in the informal hierarchy which, in turn, will position you for a promotion.
3rd Rule: Never forget rules 1 and 2
Contrary to the common opinion, getting a pay raise, or a promotion, is not about skillful negotiation and sales tactics.
If you are reliable in your work and consistently producing tangible results, but not moving up, then you need to find a job that pays better.
“It’s important to stand up for yourself, otherwise somebody else will step in and say they did it.” – Jerry Bruckheimer
You need to make sure that you are working for someone who sees your potential and who is willing to invest into you.
Learn how to make better decisions:
Improve your decision-making process | Guide to career transition
Win at office politics
Office politics is a deep topic, but I’ll try to keep it short and sweet for you.
We tend to associate office politics with workplace drama, but this is not the whole story.
Every organization is also a social structure with its own workplace culture. We call this social structure the informal hierarchy.
The biggest difference between a formal and informal hierarchy is that the formal implies rank, while the informal implies status.
This is where things get really interesting.
Workplace drama occurs mostly in the lowest levels of the informal hierarchy with new recruits or low level employees. It happens due to competition and serves to single out those who don’t fit in to the company culture.
What this means, in a nutshell, is the following:
If you can fit in to the company culture, and focus on your work, then you will move up fast in the informal hierarchy, as well as the formal hierarchy.
Learn to deal with workplace drama:
Beat anxiety at work
Find a work mentor
We are social and practical learners.
This means that, in order to learn a new skill, you need someone to show you the ropes and you need practice to get better.
When it comes to your career, that someone is your work mentor.
“A great mentor helps you achieve what seems impossible.” – Mariela Dabbah
How to find a career mentor?
In larger companies, your mentor should be someone further up the ladder than your direct supervisor. Otherwise, look up to your supervisor and senior colleagues to learn what you can before you venture out to something bigger.
How does career growth really happen?
Promoting employees is rarely impartial, especially in large companies. Typically, the upper management has meetings to evaluate employees.
During the evaluation meetings, a division manager reports on the members of their work group. Even with a flawless work record, you still need someone to speak up for you and vouch for your value.
Let’s review what you’ve learned so far:
As always, I have a finishing thought to share with you.
Work isn’t everything, of course. However, your life’s work is something that will enrich your life with purpose. Meanwhile, the fruits of your labor will be the legacy you leave behind.
Therefore, don’t neglect your calling. Instead, become eager to make it.
Did you enjoy this article? Leave a comment and let me know!
Also, don’t forget to join EagerToMakeIt community, so that you stay in the loop and win cool gifts.
- Goal setting study, and the results.
- Meta-analysis on sleep disorder related mortality.
- The hard truth about soft skills.