Work Smarter//

5 Key Ways to Grow Your Career

Step one: Get outside your comfort zone.

Yuji Sakai/ Getty Images
Yuji Sakai/ Getty Images

We all want to expand our knowledge, learn something new, prove our worth and move up the ladder. How do you get started? Knowing the right company that fits your culture, passion, and industry is the first step. But once you find the right company, how do you work your way up? Here are 5 tips on how to cultivate your career.

Build a solid network. 

Relationships are an essential part of your personal and professional life. Whether it’s with your current or former employer, building a solid foundation of professional connections is critical. Clients, peers, and subordinates, in addition to your management team, can all validate the quality of your work. Thoughtfully build your network and continue to learn from every level. 

Make LinkedIn work for you. If you haven’t already, create your LinkedIn profile, add your skills and contributions to beef up your profile.  Endorse your colleagues and request their endorsement. A nod from your peers, or a positive review from a previous client, speaks volumes on LinkedIn.   

Set goals. 

Be proactive. Setting goals for your professional career are critical. Start small and add new goals each year. 

Find your passion and connect with others that share your ambitions. By sharing with others, you’ll have an even greater network to leverage expertise and resources.

Step outside your comfort zone. 

Look for opportunities to try something new and step outside your comfort zone. Are there any classes or trainings available at your company? Does the company offer tuition reimbursements for a class you’re interested in taking? If you don’t know, ask!

When you have a passion for growing your career, take a shot on a “stretch assignment.” Whether it’s contributing to an additional project, or taking on a whole new role, this “stretch assignment” will add to your skillset, give you exposure to other people in your company, and allow you to gain insight into the expectations and daily work associated with a different position. 

Seek out a coach or mentor. 

coach or mentor can be a person that’s in, or outside, of your organization. They should be a trusted advisor that can help guide you to the next stage of your career. Identify who that person is in your life and see if they’re interested in committing to your growth. You can have more than one. Keep in mind; it should be someone that can help you develop your personal and professional skills. Consider a person that is in a current role that you’d aspire to, or a person that can support your professional development, in preparation for the next step.

Be receptive to feedback. Look at any constructive criticism as positive. Remember – your coach or mentor has your best interest at heart. Be open-minded when listening to their suggestions; this can have a lasting, positive effect on your relationship with them and help you identify talents in yourself that you may not have previously realized.

Take the leap. 

Are you ready to grow? Sometimes you need to take the leap and find out.  Before you do, make sure you can land on your feet. Have you excelled in your current role? Have you grown to your full potential? If you answered yes, it’s time to move on to the next stage of your career. Before presenting your interest to your manager, prepare to reference any positive comments from others about your performance to solidify your next move. Include any past performance evaluations to add credibility.  

If you’ve truly mastered your current role, then moving into a larger, or a new position will seem like an obvious next step. In speaking with your manager about your next move, ask what tools you’ll need to succeed.

When looking at the big picture, plan effectively, build relationships and execute a growth strategy with guidance from your manager and mentor to progress to the next stage in your career. By executing strategic goals, a new path to success will unfold. By implementing these steps, you can significantly impact your growth opportunity and challenge yourself to reach the next stage in a successful career.

Originally published on www.glassdoor.com

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