Whether you have your eye on the top of the ladder or are just focusing on the next rung, there are many ways you can grow your career. If you’re not sure what to do, here are four specific areas you can work on.
Image from j_benson.
You won’t be able to focus on all of these areas at once, in addition to your normal workload, so pace yourself. Some of these areas are easier to work on towards the start of your career and some apply later on when you have more autonomy and responsibility.
- Depend less on your boss for guidance and approval. When you’re in an entry level position, you generally get specific direction from your boss. The longer you have a job, the more likely you’ll take on additional responsibility and leadership, including the expectation you’re capable of making some decisions without having to get approval from your boss. Trust your own judgement and keep your boss in the loop when necessary.
- Be able to work on longer timelines. Rather than being heads down on daily tasks, start looking ahead at what your priorities should be for the week or month and work backwards to know what you need to do each day or week to meet your goals.
- Learn to coach others well. When you’re a new manager, it can be tough to balance your increased responsibilities while leading your team. You’ll spend some time reviewing their work, but you should also learn how to give them useful, helpful feedback. You should also consider how the team performs as a whole, not just as individuals.
- Build and maintain a presence outside the office. As your career grows, you’ll have more opportunities to be a leader in your industry. Build an out-of-the-office presence that reflects your professional knowledge and skills. This can be useful when moving jobs, asking for a promotion or even just looking for different opportunities (like speaking engagements).
No matter what industry you’re in, mastering these over time will give you valuable soft skills that you can use throughout your working life.