You cannot run before you first learn how to walk, and in the real world example of this you cannot run even if you were taught the theoretical applications of it.
In this case it’s often because those around you – the ones that pay you and are responsible for your progression, don’t trust that you know how to run in the first place.
It is up to you then to showcase your superb walking skills, and then highlight just how great you are at jogging, and then sprinting, until finally others are turning to you for tips on how to be such a great runner.
When it comes to you actual career, however, this analogy just doesn’t quite cut it. There are many different branches of progression for every industry, meaning that while there is never a one-size-fits-all approach, you can improve your strategy to get to the top by following this guide:
Start With Your Everyday Habits
Before you begin setting goals and smashing milestones it is important to first create a healthy lifestyle that will support you. Working hard on progressing your career is great, but without a great night’s sleep, a healthy body, and low stress you won’t be running towards a promotion, you’ll be heading towards total burnout.
Work to create very strict routines in regards to enjoying a healthy diet, your exercise regime, your sleep quality, and your social and emotional health. This is the only way you can consistently put forth the effort that will help you stand out and shine.
Set Realistic and Achievable Goals
Far too often a goal is your dream. This does not help you achieve it. Instead you need to start setting yourself short-term, realistic goals that you can actually reach. This is how you will spur yourself on to reach the next set of goals you make for yourself, and then the next.
To create these realistic and achievable goals start first with a short-term goal you want to achieve, like a promotion. Work through what you believe you will need to achieve it. If you are passed on for that promotion, it is best to work out a contingency plan. You could change companies, for example.
Prove Yourself Invaluable at Work
Having goals will make your efforts more focused and allow you to accurately mark your progress as time goes on. What you do will depend entirely on your current role, industry, and skillset. Generally speaking, however, you will want to prove yourself invaluable at work. This can be done in three main ways:
Offer Creative Solutions
Don’t just do the work you are given. If you notice a flaw in the system, in an account, or any other aspect of your job create a solution. Write up a proposal that contains a solution and email it to your supervisor. Write yourself into part of the problem solving component so that your supervisor is inclined to not just take you up on your advice, but to put you as head of the project.
Don’t Let Yourself Get Walked Over
It is great to help others in your department. It is great to take on extra responsibilities. Letting yourself be the go-to gopher for these tasks however is not in your best interest. You need to be realistic about what you can and should do.
Learn the Art of Negotiating
In order to stand up for yourself and improve your career you are going to want to start negotiating from the start. Try to negotiate your way into being part of the solution, and negotiate for benefits or for raises.
If you help a co-worker out, ask them at a later date to help you out. If you take on more responsibilities, ask for a raise and show evidence of your reasoning. Many employers and supervisors are all too happy to let you work without praise or reward, so you need to ask for it.
Don’t just wait to ask after the job is done, either. If an employer wants you to take on a new job role, inform them that you would like X amount as a pay increase to take on the extra workload.
Unique and Essential Networking Strategies to Follow
Networking, of course, is your golden ticket. The secret to networking, however, is to get to know people organically. There is no fast way to network. It takes a lot of time and relationship building. The more you focus on just a few people, the better your efforts will pay off.
You don’t want to just cold call someone with the intention of putting them down as “acquaintance I can use later”. You want to grow with these people. Networking is a symbiotic relationship, and you can grow these relationships organically in the following situations:
Know Who You Want to Network With
A great place to start is knowing who you want to network with. You can then follow them on social media if their social media is based around their position. This works best if they only have a few thousand followers at the maximum, as you don’t want to be drowned out by the crowds.
Comment on their posts, startup discussions on their stories, and so on. This is an easy, natural, and organic way to start to network. If they advertise an event they will be at, go. It will likely be full of people in the industry you are working in, and it will give you a great opportunity to meet in person.
Visit Industry Events and Talks
Generally speaking attending these events and panel discussions is a great way to network. You will meet like-minded people who have the same drive as you. Get to know people at all levels in their field, and network. You never know when a relationship will come in handy in the future.
Just remember to keep in contact with them in some way, either through LinkedIn or other social media channels. This way you can keep a close eye on what they are doing, and stay up to date with their career and projects with ease.
Take Your Learning Into Your Own Hands
Lifelong learning is great for the soul and critical for the career-driven worker. Though it is indeed best to hold off before committing to a Master’s program, that doesn’t mean that you cannot learn something new every day and have the knowledge to propel your career.
Invest in The Right Subscriptions
From academic journals, to industry magazines, to the news, it is time to find the best resources and subscribe to them.
The in-depth information is worth the money, not to mention you are supporting further in-depth investigations directly.
Free information might be available wildly online, but it won’t carry the same level of clarity or understanding as expert articles will.
Make Learning a Part of Your Career Routine
A great way to prep for a Masters and to, of course, adopt learning as part of your everyday life is to naturally build it into your routine. If you drive or bike to work, listen to an informative podcast or audio-book.
If you take public transport, then read. Over time these commutes will become invaluable to your education, career, and personal happiness.
Choose the Right Masters
The best Masters degrees are the ones that expand on your practical experience and give you expert knowledge and skills. They are best chosen after you have spent five or more years in your industry, specifically because you need to learn about yourself and what you want from your career.
Waiting and learning on the job is also a great way to determine the quality of the Master’s you are looking at. There are infinite options to pursue an MBA, for example, but you need to weed out which ones are going to be a waste of time and which ones are going to help you thrive in your chosen career.
The best part is that in today’s world you can enroll on a part-time basis online. This means you can choose the best universities from around the world without taking time off from work, without worrying about a visa, and without compromising on quality.
How to Juggle an MBA and Your Career
Once you believe that you have found a great MBA or other relevant Master’s to help propel your career to new heights, it’s time to actually apply.
Knowing how to prepare for an MBA in advance, as outlined by James Cook University, is a great way to get into the flow of learning and can help you manage your expectations on what it is going to be like actually juggling a thriving career with higher education.
You might have found a great balance between work and life, for example, but throwing in another huge responsibility can take its toll. You need to be very on top of your health and work to create a new consistent routine so that you can make progress in your degree and retain what you have learned day after day.
Position Yourself as an Industry Leader
Though you likely won’t have the time to start truly focusing on this until after your Master’s, positioning yourself as an industry leader should be done as soon as possible.
Once your name is at the top of the list in your field you can go anywhere and become a highly paid consultant for firms in your industry.
You can start a service that helps other organizations thrive.
You can do anything when people know who you are and trust in your expertise. To help build up this notoriety you will want to:
Manage a Niche Blog
Niche blogs are invaluable online. There are millions of generic sites out there, but when it comes to very specific, very valuable information the pickings are few. That means you can easily reach the top of Google and start a thriving community online right from home. Follow up by investing in money-making strategies to turn your blog into a revenue stream.
Hosting a blog also showcases your work, which can make it much easier to get out there and publish articles on relevant magazines and newspapers.
Better still, you can get paid for your efforts. Being published by credible sources in your industry will further boost your reputation in your field.
Host Talks and Events
There are two ways that you can host talks or events. One is to know organizers and to apply to be in their lineup. At the start this is a great way to get your name out there and to practice your public speaking abilities.
The second is to organize these events on your own. You can do this entirely from scratch, with the backing of TEDx, or through your current company. When doing so, be smart about who you choose. This is not just an opportunity to host a great panel of speakers, but a chance to become invaluable to the community and, most of all, to network.
What to Remember
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your success. Take it day by day, and step by step. So long as you are making a modicum of progress towards your next goals, you’ve won the day.
It is this progress and determination to make tomorrow better than today that will help you succeed. What that end result looks like might be vastly different than you initially pictured, and that’s okay.
In fact, changing your dream as you go down your path is better. Your initial dream is just a thought. It is made before you truly understand your talents, strengths, and desires.
You can and will also change on this journey, and those who find true success know that you need to take the opportunities as they come.
So as long as you are happy with where you are, are making progress towards the next step, and can support yourself emotionally, physically, and mentally, then you are winning at life.