You work so hard.
But it doesn’t seem enough to move up the corporate ladder? Is it possible that you are fixated on a job instead of looking at the bigger picture – your career? You’d say ‘That’s not true. I work so hard, even after everyone else has left the office, I am still at my desk. I have no time for anything. Actually, I don’t even remember the last time I met my friends for a drink or even went for a nice dinner with my family, because I am always… either replying client emails or on the phone trying to sort out other logistics. I am definitely doing everything I can, to boost my career.’
See, the difference is this…You are a hard worker and you give your hundred percent to fulfil the assigned job responsibilities at the current workplace. Good for you! You might eventually land a promotion or at least an increment… but it’s a new year… and if you have not been focusing on personal development… darling, it’s time!
We leave college, having so many hopes and dreams for the future… and suffering through a nine to five job you don’t enjoy, surely wasn’t on the list.
So, here’s how to get out of the rut and be more employable.
READ! READ! READ!
I just cannot stress enough on the importance of reading. In one of my previous workplaces, something interesting used to take place. My colleagues and I were in charge of doing up a newsletter for the agents and staff, which had all sorts of new product details, hotel reviews, industry happenings and etc. Every month, we would take about two or three weeks, doing research, putting the content together, sorting out images and so on. Then when we sent it out, hardly any staff member read it.
They clearly thought it was only for the agents. Plus, they were always very busy with work, they didn’t have a few minutes to read something that might have enhanced their knowledge of the industry they are in. This was on repeat!
What you don’t realise is…sometimes, doing the same things, again and again, makes the process very mechanical. And guess what? Everyone is doing what they have got to do! The thing is, today’s’ job market is saturated with people who are good at their job and on top of that, almost everyone is getting diplomas and degrees. So, the question is…
What could make you stand out? What are your USPs?
If you were an employer, having to decide between someone experienced and someone who also seem to understand what is happening in the marketplace, the local and global industry, economy and how it is affecting the business today and so on, who would you be inclined to hire? My guess is, it would be the latter. The reason being, this day and age information is very crucial. The marketplace is very competitive and hiring someone who is more equipped with information seems the most logical thing to do. In fact, most companies encourage this culture.
Unfortunately, some companies still have some catching up to do. So, if you are in such a workplace, you must understand that to them, you are replaceable. Simply because there are so many who could just do the job. If you are someone who would like to excel in your career, go ahead…read your news, subscribe to newsletters or bookmark some helpful articles. Do whatever it takes to gain as much knowledge as you could…Then you would definitely have an extra something you can offer when compared with others. Improving your knowledge will allow you to meet higher industry standards. Making the right career choice is fundamental and if you are someone always up-to-date with information, it will be easy to see new career opportunities and market trends. Reading will help you with career development while providing substantial information to choose a career pathway that best fits you. You will always be ahead of the game…
LEARN OR TRY SOMETHING NEW
If you have not yet thought of taking up a new hobby or learning a new skill, think again!
We easily get dragged into a boring routine and confine ourselves to our comfort zones. But when you really think about it, you get one life; don’t you want to find out what you might be good at…or how you could add value to your career portfolio? I mean even if you are done with your academics (or not) there are so many options out there.
Maybe you like to learn a new language because it could help you communicate with some of your stakeholders better…
Things we learn and skills we acquire over time will always contribute to who we become as individuals. Sometimes, it may not seem to connect with or contribute to your current job but could come in handy in the foreseen future.
Have you ever thought of a side hustle? I see this becoming a trend, locally and internationally. There are so many opportunities, and some are wise enough to take advantage of them. You don’t have to just do a routine day job, maybe you could start and run your own business over the weekend. Be your own boss on the sidelines (as long as it doesn’t conflict with the contract you have with your current employer – we can’t ignore ethics!)
Explore your interests and evaluate, where you would like to start. There are plenty of courses and material out there that could be of immense help in advancing in one’s career. UDEMY is one of my personal favourites. Then there are also experts in the niche/s we are interested in…So, follow some bloggers, get on YouTube, download apps or take up lessons…Just start somewhere and your future-self will thank you for it!
Building up your personal brand is key in this competitive labour market if you are considering serious career growth. A good CV is important but look around. Times are changing and we must adapt. Employers receive thousands of applications for advertised positions and in most cases, they just mirror each other. Have you sometimes wondered, why did he/she get the job? We have been here for so long and we have worked so hard and so on? So here is your answer. Maybe all of that is true but if you have not built a strong brand image, you are at a disadvantage. Maybe there are employers out there looking for someone like you but poor personal branding is probably pulling you down.
A well-structured online career portfolio might be able to finally help you achieve that breakthrough you have been waiting for. In the beginning, it might take some time to put it all together but once you’ve done it, it becomes so much easier. You will see so many new career opportunities opening up for you, even across borders.
Another way to establish your identity is to voice your opinion, share your experiences and interests. Join in meaningful conversations on social media or blogs. When someone is sharing their views if there is anything you would like to add, do it, respectfully. Maybe even considered starting your own blog. You don’t have to be a great writer or have a thousand followers, just take the initiative and put yourself out there and eventually you could even be a thought leader in that space.
Establishing your identity and showcasing what you have to offer as an individual can be impressive to potential employers and will greatly increase your career prospects.
Sometimes, we don’t understand how big of a weapon this could be in strengthening our careers. I don’t mean make connections and use it to land a job. But the truth is the competitive job market we are in, requires us to be seen and heard. Connections can give you leads, that you could follow through. Referrals are always a great place to start.
In order to be visible in the industry, you must strive to be a part of it.
For example, exhibitions, talks, product launches, social gatherings and so on. This not only shows that you are interested in knowing and being a part of what’s happening in the industry but you can also connect with influential people, strike up interesting conversations…make a good impression.
If you have some free time every now and then, volunteer in some community work. Foster good relationships inside and outside your workplace. Professional networking built on trust and credibility can certainly come in handy if you are working on your career progression.
REACH OUT TO A MENTOR
This doesn’t have to be your first step, but when it comes to boosting your career (or looking for a new job), a mentorship program can contribute immensely to the cause. Some companies/schools have their own mentorship program to help their staff or students make wise career decisions and so on. That could be a place to start and then later maybe you could reach out to someone you really look up to and respect, outside of this framework.
The understanding between a mentor and his/her mentee is that the latter acknowledges the professional success his/her mentor has achieved and therefore would seek his guidance in navigating through the corporate world. A mentor, unlike any other person you would share bits and pieces of your work-life with, would be invested in your future and would commit to helping you, long-term.
Avoid making the mistake of choosing your immediate supervisor as your mentor no matter how good he or she is. Not being able to freely discuss your work issues and career goals might make this whole process a futile one.
So, when you are looking out for a mentor, consider these factors…
- What are my career goals?
- What do I intend to achieve by seeking out a mentor?
- Does he/she come from a similar professional background or functional area?
- Are we compatible? (this is important because you must be comfortable spending time with your mentor)
Lots of people will be willing to give your advice, but what you are after is someone who would take time off their schedule to coach you, help you see from a different perspective at what’s going on in your professional world and succumb the challenges in order to achieve your career goals.
So, these are a few steps I believe you could take to give your career a boost. As always, if you find them useful, feel free to share with your friends and family. I would also love to hear your thoughts on why personal development is important and how we could be more employable… 💕
Disclaimer: This was not sponsored by UDEMY. I just love using the platform to learn new things and thought of sharing with you, hoping you too might find it useful.