When it comes to choosing your career, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. With so many different industries and thousands of possible career opportunities, knowing which direction is best for you, let alone how to boost your chances within a particular industry, can seem a bit impossible.
Whether you’ve already joined the workforce or you’re a soon-to-be graduate who wants to improve their odds at landing their dream job, there are a few things that you can do to boost your career prospects. Here are just some of them:
#1. Plan Ahead with a Five Year Plan
A lot of people joke about making a five year plan and imagining how their future will go, but there’s a lot to be said about how helpful five year plans can actually be. While everything may not pan out exactly how you want it to or plan for it to, creating a five year plan gives you a solid starting base and helps you keep your eyes on your longer term goal.
When you write up your five year plan, make sure you research what skills, experience, or education is necessary between where you are now and where you want to be in five years. Do you need to earn your master’s? Is there an online course that may help expand your current knowledge? Write it all down and then write out how you plan to get there.
Working with a career coach can help you with deciding your long term goals and providing a clear way to achieve these golas. Your five year plan doesn’t need to have one big goal and that’s it. Add in several smaller milestones so that you feel like you’re making progress along the way. This will help keep you motivated and make you feel like your goal is within reach.
#2. Be Ambitious and Take on Challenges
Do you currently have a job? Are you a university student? Wherever you’re at in life, look for ways to challenge yourself and improve your work ethic and skills. If your boss has a project to complete that’s a little out of your scope, don’t be afraid to speak up and offer to do it. You’ll earn valuable skills and experience while also proving that you can handle bigger things.
Employers appreciate employees that take initiative, so even if something is a little out of your skillset, ask if you can take on the challenge. This being said, it’s also important that you ask for help when you need it rather than floundering and failing to come through.
Taking initiative and being honest are two skills that employers want to see, so start improving your employee soft skills by being ambitious and taking on an extra challenge that may arise.
#3. Speak with Human Resources
Human resources does so much more than just deal with complaints and concerns. Their office is truly a well of knowledge for all things related to your job and visiting can help give you a better idea of how to advance and improve your career.
No matter what industry you work in, speak with your human resources department about ways you can boost your career through them. Your current employer may offer tuition reimbursement for any courses you may decide to take, or there may be certain benefits that your company offers to those that know where to look.
There are a lot of benefits and advantages that the human resources department may offer, but you’ll never know they exist if you don’t go looking. Even if your employer doesn’t offer that much, it can still be helpful to know about when planning your five year plan or when looking to boost and improve your career.
#4. Network Everywhere
Networking does wonders at boosting career prospects and opening up doors to new opportunities. Whether you work in tech, journalism, education, or healthcare, networking can help you find ways to land careers and positions that you would have otherwise never thought of or had the opportunity to pursue.
You can start networking even before you join the workforce. Talk with your teachers, attend events, and take extra courses to meet new people that are also in your industry. You never know who you might meet and what type of connections they might have.
Professional networking has been made easier through social media and the internet, so take advantage of networking sites like LinkedIn to expand your network and improve your career options. You may even choose to network through social media to further expand your reach and increase your chances of meeting someone who can help you boost your career even further.
#5. Work on Time Management and Communication Skills
Two major skills that every employer wants to see in their employees are time management and communication. You might be surprised at how many people simply can’t manage their project time or have trouble communicating in a clear, concise manner. If this is you, it’s important to start working on improving these skills sooner rather than later.
Both of these skills are learned, not necessarily inherited. This is good news for those who particularly struggle with these two skills, but it can still seem difficult.
Learning time management skills will take more than a single day, but if you get started now, you’ll slowly start to improve over the next several months. Similarly, learning how to communicate well is going to take some time. Fortunately for you, the internet is a source of knowledge and there are many helpful guides on how to improve both skills.
Never Stop Improving
Even once you land your dream job and decide that you don’t want to keep moving up, you should never stop working to improve your work ethic and career skills. There is always some aspect of your professional life that you can continue improving and working on, whether it’s a soft skill such as communication or a technical skill that you can take a class on.
Part of boosting your career options means always looking at ways to improve and get better at what you do.