It is common knowledge that careers are not built overnight, but they are shaped over the course of many years. Whether it is landing your dream job, getting a promotion, or starting your own business – it is vital to invest in your goal. Planning your career and taking steps to advance it demonstrate your commitment to your goals.
And in today’s uncertain economic times, it has become almost a necessity. So, here are a few tips on how to invest in your career!
How to Invest in Your Career
1. Invest in Your Education
Education is one of the main ways in which you can invest in your goal. Classrooms are dynamic places that not only teach us new things but also develop our collaborative and social skills. If you are not sure about what you want to do, and educational programs can help shape your future career choices.
Moreover, most jobs today require an advanced degree. So, complete your bachelor’s education and perhaps pursue postgraduate study subsequently. In many cases, a master’s degree like MBA courses can give you an added advantage of getting a promotion or moving between industries. For example, an MBA can help an experienced worker move to consulting.
2. Gain Additional Training and Certifications
In today’s competitive job market, job-seekers are expected to have the appropriate knowledge and skills to get ahead in the game. They not only have to prove that they are right for the job, but that they are the best ones to do it.
They have to do something extra to distinguish themselves from other applicants who have similar educational backgrounds and work experience. This additional qualification can be in the form of specialized training and technical certification.
Some in-demand examples include certifications in the fields of product management and human resources. These courses are generally less expensive than regular degree programs, both in terms of time and money. So, find out if you can advance your career by completing a professional development program. Besides, learning a new skill or subject is always good for your self-confidence!
3. Build Your Online Brand
As workplaces become more and more digital, personal online profiles have emerged as important professional tools. These days, recruiters look at your online presence. So, update your profiles on platforms like LinkedIn, and keep track of what you share and how it may appear to potential employers.
If you are a freelancer or consultant, social media is a great way to get noticed by prospective clients. You can also create a separate web page or online portfolio to showcase your work. Create a specific message and keep it consistent across different online channels.
It can be along the lines of “An environment consultant with 10+ years of experience working in developing countries” or “A certified digital marketing professional who specializes in SEO management.” Building an online brand requires more of your valuable time than money, so put some strategic thought into it.
4. Get a Career Coach
There are times in your career when you feel stuck or confused about the next steps. An experienced person or career coach can help you navigate the waters when you feel lost. You can get in touch with a mentor, usually someone at a higher position in your field, to seek advice and guidance regarding your career growth.
If possible, you can also pay for the services of a certified career counselor to hold yourself accountable. Career counselors can help in identifying career choices based on your interests and aptitude, and also support you in the job search process.
Whether you choose an informal mentor or a formal coach will depend upon your commitment to invest in your goal and the information you need. You have to decide after considering who will be able to provide you with the right tools and perspective and keep you focused. In the end, you are the director of your career development!
5. Build Professional Relationships
The answer to ‘How to invest in your career’ is incomplete without interpersonal relationships. You can reap immense career benefits from having a robust professional network. Most of us re-activate our contacts only when we are job-hunting.
But, it is a good practice to give proper attention to our professional community at all times. Do not take your co-workers, supervisors, and bosses for granted. Instead, spend time in cultivating meaningful relationships within and outside of your professional circle. You never know who may recommend you for your next job promotion!
Career management is important not just for earning money but also to derive satisfaction and consistent progression. If you think of your career as a personal enrichment process, it is one of the most important investments that you will make in your life. And the above tips on how to invest in your career should hold you in good stead.