career development
Career development

10 step guide to a thriving career development

Is your career stuck? These 10 tips will teach you how to launch your career and...

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.

Career development goals

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
  • forgetfulness

Oversleeping causes:

  • drowsiness
  • headaches
  • demotivation

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

Work smarter

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
  • Adaptability
  • Teamwork
  • Problem solving
  • Critical observation
  • Conflict resolution
  • Leadership

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 career development

“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.

Conclusion

Let’s review what you’ve learned so far:

Career development tips

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.

References:

  1. Goal setting study, and the results.
  2. Meta-analysis on sleep disorder related mortality.
  3. The hard truth about soft skills.

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33 comments on “10 step guide to a thriving career development

  1. I agree, I think it’s important to plan where you want to go career wise. You can’t really achieve something if you don’t know what it is you’re trying to do.I like your focus on soft skills. So often, people overlook these because they’re focused on more technical skills, more qualifications etc. But these things are important as part of working as a team and being successful working with other people.

    • Great takeaways Angela. A good career plan is like a road map to success. Many people neglect soft skills but they truly carry the biggest impact to your career development.

  2. You just put my brain to work… I should adopt this strategy for my career advancement! I will follow the suggestions you gave in the blog, this is some powerful stuff.

  3. I definitely need to bookmark this post for easy reference. I have to say that I operate at my best with 9 hours of sleep though. LOL! And boy does my skin ever look great then. But I usually get around 7. So I’ll have to work on that.

    • 7 hours of sleep is just fine, as long as you schedule some extra slouching for the weekend. It’s important to maintain your energy on the daily basis and avoid sleeping habits that disrupt your health in the long term

  4. Sania Ahmed

    I appreciate you putting all these points for a successful career… however I have noticed there are certain toxic work cultures where no matter how much effort you put in. All that is in vein and in the end your efforts are put to waste, biased decisions demotivate you.

    • You’re right Sania, working on your career development in a toxic work environment is like running in quicksand. In these situations, it’s time to consider other methods. Check out my related articles that focus on handling workplace problems and planning your career change.

  5. Indeed, career development rests solely on our hands. We have to make an active stance and not just put it in the hands of other people.

    • Great point Ivan, taking your career into your own hands is the only way to ensure career success. Thanks for the feedback!

  6. jeannette9712gmailcom

    Thank you for this quote. “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

    I just started doing what I love, after 40 years on this earth.

  7. Gervin Khan

    Wow, it was a nice and informative article to read. I agree with you that planning is important when you are pursuing a career and I think you will be successful from it if you also have vision and passion from what your doing.

    • That’s very well put Gervin. Having a vision and passion for your future are the foundations of successful career development.

  8. Great advice on career development goals. Many people are failing to achieve their career goals because they have a lack of focus. This is such a great post and it really helps!

    • You’re completely right, it’s important to maintain focus on your long term goals in order to ensure you’re moving along the right path to achieving your dreams.

  9. This is really a great guide for creating a successful career path! If you’re eager to succeed, you can make it!

    • Right on Jessa, where there is a will, there is a way! To me, being eager to make it is in the very core of a success mindset.

  10. The Lesson i’ve learned so far working in a workplace is to be competitive and not to be too chilled without developing your skills at work. take the opportunity to step up your game and most important is, take credits for all the projects that you worked on. Make your self visible as much as possible.

    • I couldn’t agree more. Competition is a hallmark of career building. Acknowledging your worth while humbly building skills is a winning combination for career development.

  11. xclusivefashionmeetslifestyle

    I believe focus is the first thing to be successful anything. and for career too it is the most important.

  12. I think focus is so important, and I appreciate all these step. Will pin this post so others can find help as well.

    • Thanks for the support Krysten! The ability to remain focused on your long term goals and your daily grind is a recipe for a successful career.

  13. Great tips for those new to the workforce. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, consistency is key.

  14. So glad I saw this especially as I am launching a career and I might be struggling with a few things. Thanks for the useful tips

    • Glad you found us Nelly, helping you make it is what this blog is all about. Good luck with your new career launch!

  15. Making the mental maps does matter. Then I write it down. I heard once that a thought goal is only a wish. A written one is a plan.

  16. To expand on your mental map part, I would recommend that you go ahead and put that to paper. It’ll seem so much more real if you can actually see your goals

    • Mental mapping is more about creating a vision for a long term goal. With that said, putting pen to paper is always a good idea, as it will make your goals more actionable. Thanks for the feedback Riana!

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