If you feel like you are stuck in your career and would like to boost your promotion prospects, it’s time to start creating a plan. You career is too important to leave it all up to chance.
There might be several reasons why you are unable to advance your career at the moment. You can be in a crowded job market and struggling to stand out from the crowd. There may be a shortage of simply higher-level jobs in your industry. Or, you may need to gain new skills and perspective to start positioning yourself for the next step in your career.
As you start drafting your plan to revive your career, think about these things you can do to move ahead in your career:
1. Gain More Work Experience
To enhance your job prospects, you need to show that you are an experienced and skilled professional. If you’re just out of college, you should list your internships on your resume as your work experience, and be very specific about the tasks and duties you performed as they relate to your career industry. If you’re further in your career, you may need to rework your resume with keywords from the job applications you’re answering.
If you have no work experience that relates to the jobs for which you are applying, you need to take action right now and find internships, externships, volunteer work, or entry-level jobs that will give you the experience you need to show employers you’re ready for the job you want. Yes, this might mean working for free or for a low salary for awhile, but it’s not forever. Even a three-month internship will help you get your foot in the door, and the networking you can do during an internship is invaluable.
2. Be Visible
Even if your work is the best in the business, if you’re hiding in a corner, no one is going to give you a promotion. You have to make yourself visible to your supervisors if you want to move up the corporate ladder.
Visibility in the workplace can mean that you volunteer for extra or challenging projects, offer to arrange a night out or charity event, or simply come up with ideas and approach the management with solutions that solve a problem. Always do more than the minimum asked of you, and show yourself as a creative-thinking problem solver.
No matter where you are in your career journey, you must always be networking. You should be meeting new people in your industry and talking about important issues all the time. You can’t slack on your networking, not even if you have the perfect job right now. You never know when you’re going to need another job, and your network is, by far, the best way to find another job when you need one.
To network, you should attend conferences in your industry, join professional organizations, or at the very least, join online networking communities built around your industry. Don’t just join, though—actually talk to people. Ask questions about the kind of jobs you want, and what employers are wanting. Don’t be afraid to ask someone to recommend you for a job, just remember to return the favor later, when you’re in the position to help someone in your network.
4. Market and Brand Yourself
Crafting your personal brand means more than just having a LinkedIN account. You need to present your work at conferences, enhance your online presence with an online portfolio, published papers, or blog, and collaborate on projects with other people in your industry. You want to brand yourself as an expert in your field, so employers see you as someone they must hire.
Marketing yourself in your career is a lot like playing the dating game. You want to be attractive to potential employers, but human, too. Be proud of your accomplishments, and keep them visible for all to see.
5. Redo Your Resume
One thing that might be holding you back is your resume. If you’re still using a 90’s style, text-only, 2-page resume, no one is reading it. Instead, craft an attractive, one-page story that shows employers that you are the best candidate for the job.
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6. Update Your Skills
Take a long, hard look at your skill set. Is it outdated? Do other people coming into your industry have stronger skill sets? If so, you might want to check out the current courses offered at places like Adelphi University to find out whether it is possible to update your knowledge and get extra credits that your future employers will value.
You should be in a constant state of learning throughout your career. Never stop taking small courses, attending conferences, and studying literature about your career industry. Always be on top of the latest and greatest things happening in your field. If the thought of “studying” for your career feel like a drudgery, you don’t have a career, you have a job. You should feel passionate enough about your career to feel energized by learning new things. If you don’t, start looking for another career.
7. Enter Competitions and Win Awards
If you have been working in your field for a long time, and believe that you are worth much more than you are paid and what it says on your business card, it might be time to push yourself further. Entering competitions and award programs is a great way to show off your skills and make your employer realize your value. Search for opportunities to show off your talent in the charity or government sectors. Those who win awards are more likely to gain promotions.
If none of these actions seem like they will help you in your quest to revive your career, be sure to read our post on the 9 Reasons I’m not Hiring You, where Katie lists, in great detail, the reason hiring managers pass on potential employees.