Everyone at a workplace looks forward to regular career progression and growth. While your performance and demonstrated potential at your workplace are important here are some essentials that can help you build a better career irrespective of where you are employed. They are also relevant if you decide to walk away from your job and start out on your own.
This is one of the most crucial enablers for any working professional and gets conveniently ignored. One needs to keep learning. Learning does not always need to be about attending training, workshops and certification programs. It has to be about one’s effort at assimilating new knowledge, insights, and understanding based on everyday experiences and observations. This probably encompasses almost everything. To keep learning one needs to keep his/her senses active – and also take proactive measures to step up. One can decide to read or research in areas of interest, study using e-learning platforms, work on a new project at the workplace, decide to take up a hobby project or call up a friend for a talk. If the focus of learning is career progression or change and employers love certificates – you have to augment your learnings with relevant certifications. But then the real need is to have a learning orientation – a mindset that is aware of the need to assimilate knowledge and its relevance.
Keep aware – research people, companies, and industries
Train yourself by feeding on information related to industry professionals, companies and industries that catch your interest. Being aware and informed helps you plan your career decisions and industry moves. It helps you learn, appreciate and understand the career trajectory of top professionals, equips you with enough content to get into intelligent conversations, and back your arguments. Knowing about industry happenings, and businesses also keep you updated on opportunities.
These days it’s easy to research almost anything using Google. You have dedicated portals for researching companies – listed companies, start-ups, people. You can find the career history of most working professionals from Linkedin. You can get stories about the career transition of senior professionals from business news websites, magazines, or niche industry or trade focussed news platforms. It’s easy to stay updated and in touch with industry happenings. Knowledge is power, the more informed you are – the more empowered you will be at taking the right decisions about your work, about your career, and you will be trusted by your peers and others in your professional ecosystem.
Nurture your professional network and stay connected
Your professional network is something that helps you at every stage in your career and business. Building your professional network does not need to be a one-way street focussed on delivering value to you – either for business or career. If that’s what you are looking at – you are taking it all in the wrong way. Building your professional network has to be with an orientation of connecting with people and looking at possible value creation for all parties involved. Networking helps when parties involved can see the value of keeping connected, and don’t feel that they are just a provider.
You can nurture your network at industry meets, conferences or you can request personal meetings with those you are interested in connecting. These days most of us are quite active on Linkedin and use it as a platform for professional networking. You may want to try to set up a meeting offline with any contact that interests you by sending a prelim introduction. It’s important that you are able to suitably justify your meeting request and specify the purpose or desired outcome.
Your knowledge and understanding of your work, your technical knowledge, general awareness of business scenarios, and your network not only allows you to do better in your area of work but can also help you to decide your way forward.