Six keys to career development

During this lifetime, many of us embark on a series of key journeys as we get older. Growing up, you go through an education system, learning the skills and knowledge to help you succeed in the future. It is then likely that you will enter employment, start a family, retire, etc.

One of these journeys that may become the most important one for you, is your employment and career. As we spend so much time working, a career doing something fulfilling and rewarding with good financial recompense is highly valued. However, how do we define such a career? And, once defined, how do we find the career that suits us? Read on to hear our key tips; intended to help you find the career to suit you.

Realise that your career path is unique to you

When considering a new career, you might find that your network of friends, family members and colleagues are there to offer you various pieces of advice. Not all of these will be helpful! Only you know what works for you. Listen to advice, but, more importantly, listen to yourself. Is there a career that you could do based around your strengths, interests and life goals? Doing a SWOT analysis is a useful tool for self-reflection and helping to work out the best path for you. Remember that a successful career can only be defined by you.

Careers no longer have to be a ‘vertical journey’

Cast your mind back a generation or two, and you will notice that many workers left school, joined a company, and stayed there for the remainder of their working days. Success to them, meant internal promotion, measured against the competition of fellow colleagues. Nowadays, many workers leave companies regularly; finding their path after working at three or four different firms. Rather than staying at the same place, look at how much money other companies are advertising for similar roles. This will help you earn the best salary for the job that you do.

What makes you unique?

When applying for a job, you may be thinking about the skills you have in comparison with a job description with a set criteria for the skills you need to have. However, you might have experiences, skills and knowledge from elsewhere, that helps you to stand out from the crowd. Of course, you will need to prove that you have the skills to do the job. However, with a little creativity, you can show potential employers that you are the only one who does what you do – impressing them with your individuality.

Promote yourself during every possible opportunity

Get work experience, volunteer and work hard. Basically, do everything that you can to promote your ‘brand.’ This will help you to get noticed by a range of different companies – one of which may lead to your dream job. Never say no (within limits!), take every opportunity that you can and impress people.

Self-reflect

We’ve already mentioned doing a SWOT analysis, but it can be useful to get into the habit of reflecting every day, or week, as to how you are performing. Could you have done something better, perhaps in an interview or presentation? What are you doing well? Do you need to change your goals? Keep asking yourself, and responding to these questions, to constantly improve.

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