In a busy career, it can be challenging to find time to develop and take the steps necessary to get you to where you want to go in your career.
Get 7 actionable ways to make sure your career development keeps you on the path towards your dream career.
Let me kick this off by sharing a bit about my career development journey, and how it’s gone from non-exciting to front and center focus. Because even though I’m a career branding specialist, I have to keep fine-tuning and upping my game to stay relevant, just like anyone else having a job.
Back in the early days of my career, I didn’t have as clear a purpose or goal to pursue as I do today. I kind of ended up in the fashion industry by chance and then hung out there in different types of jobs, starting in men’s clothing stores, moving up to be a key account manager at a few agencies. I didn’t have a plan; I just let things happen and followed along.
All of that changed when I went through some personal turmoil after spending years not listening to myself and just getting caught up in the hamster-wheel of life. I had to hit rock bottom to figure out that there’s more to life than just to be following along without having a meaningful plan or purpose in what I was doing.
Over the past seven years, I’ve found different methods to implement personal and professional development into my life by optimizing my time and being more intentional about how I choose to spend my time.
All of the eight ways mentioned below are part of how I make sure to keep my career development moving along. I hope you’ll get inspired and implement, if not all, then some of the ways to invest in your continuous career development.
Listen, Your Way To Career Success
One thing I’m a fan of is listening to podcasts. Whenever I’m out and about, I’ve got my headphones on and try to listen to some of the great podcasts that are out there.
I use podcasts to get inspired, and they help me move in the direction I want my personal or career development to go.
Here are a few of my favorite podcasts:
- The Brendon Show
- Happen To Your Career
- The Go-Giver Podcast
- The Model Health Show
- Zero Lives Left Business and Career Podcast
Take Courses That Will Help Your Development
Today, it’s become so much easier taking courses that will help you develop new skills in almost any field. Site’s like Udemy, Edx, Coursera give you access to some of the best online training ranging from how to become a better public speaker to working with big data and everything in between.
I’ve also found valuable content to help me explore different avenues is by attending webinars.
So, as you see, you don’t have to get an MBA to advance your career development. There are plenty of alternatives you can take while in a full-time job.
Read (Career Related) Books
I’ve got a confession I want to share with you… I used to not seeing the value in reading books. Reading made me soooo sleepy. I couldn’t even read two pages, and the lights would go out.
But, as with many other things in life, it got better as I practiced.
You see, for some time, I had a wish to read more books, but I never got around to it. That was until last year when I set a goal of reading a book a month. It was a stretch for someone like me who only had read one book a year, at most.
Even though I didn’t read 12 books last year, I got through 10 or 11. So if you’re not a bookworm like I used not to be, then what I’m trying to say is that with practice and intention, you can become one too, as I have become.
This year my goal is to read 15 books, and at the time of this writing, I’m on book number 11 and 12. I’ve got a book for commuting and one I read in the morning and before bedtime in the evening.
You can find all my favorite career, branding, leadership, and personal and professional growth books right here. I update the list every time I come across a book that inspires me.
Spend Time Around Positive People
One thing I’ve found to be very important is to surround myself with positive people who support me. Life’s just too short to spend time with those who don’t want to see you develop and shine.
You want to spend time with people that want you to succeed and people that have a drive like you. Not necessarily towards the same things but people who want more than just live a life in the hamster-wheel.
Write Down Your Goals
Did you know studies show, according to research done by Dr. Gail Matthews, that writing down your goals increases the chances of reaching them by staggering 42%?!?!
When writing your goals down, you also want to write why they are essential for you to accomplish as well the impact it will make in your career or life in general. Doing that will trigger your emotions towards your goals and help your brain figure out ways to make them happen.
I do my goal setting in 90-day sprints. That means I have my overall long-term goals, and I break them down into smaller actionable goals that I can focus on within the next three months. That keeps my long-term goals from being overwhelming and too far out in the future when I can take small action steps to reach a milestone towards my bigger goals.
Visualize Your Goals
Another practical thing you can do to activate your brain, and it’s solution-mode, is by visualizing you having achieved your written goals and internalize them as if you already have accomplished them. You want to get your emotions fired up and feel as if you have that big paycheck in hand, have that corner office, or maybe sitting on a beach living the digital nomad lifestyle.
I have a vision board on my desktop that shows what I want to achieve. I have that just to remind me of my overall goals every time I open my laptop.
Review And Adjust
Reviewing and adjusting your progress is probably the most important thing you can do to make sure your career development is going to be successful.
Do either monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly reviews of your progress. Then adjust accordingly to make sure you stay on track and keep momentum as you add new skill sets or whatever your focus might be.
Get A Professional Coach Or Mentor
The best thing you can do to make sure your career development is going to be a continual success is to get a professional coach or mentor to help and guide you to the outcome you want.
Working with a professional will help take some of the overwhelm out of the development because they will help you choose the steps you need to make to get you where you want to go.
You can get a coach to help you get better at delivering effective presentations. Get a sales coach to help you close more deals. You can hire a career transition coach to help you make the right career move, or you can get help building your career brand and attract better career opportunities, that meaning jobs or customers.
Final Thoughts on Career Development
As the job market is becoming more and more competitive, it’s crucial that you stay relevant.
You can do that by having a plan for your career development. Listen to podcasts relevant for your industry, read books written by thought leaders in your field, and develop the skills you need to stay ahead of the game.
If you want more inspiration like this, then drop your name and best email down below, then I’ll make sure you get my best career and personal leadership tips in your inbox.
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