2024 is here. The beginning of a new year is a time of reflection and introspection, a time to set your intentions on what you want to achieve throughout this new season. But, what better intention to set our sight on than accelerating your career?
On average, most Americans spend the majority of their time at work, according to Gettysburg College, “the average person will spend 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime.” With that in mind, it only makes sense that you seek all that you want out of your career since it plays such a huge part in your life. This is why AURN is bringing you nine ways that you can boost your career in 2024. Whether you’re making a career change or seeking to climb the ladder at your current company, you’re going to want to keep reading.
- 1. Identify your career goals
While this may seem insignificant to some, depending on where you’re at in your career journey, now could be the perfect time to reevaluate and identify what your true goals are. Maybe you’ve been an accountant for over five years but realized you’re not as much of an analytical person as you thought, maybe you’ve shifted into your creative side and want to seek out a career that allows your creativity to soar. Now is the time to be honest with yourself and look into an industry change. According to Indeed, you could start by researching potential careers that peak your interest, identify your transferable skills and highlight them as you update your resume, seek training related to the field and most importantly, be prepared to explain why you decided to transition fields.
But, maybe you’re someone looking to stay in the same industry or with the same company, identify your short and long term goals while also developing a roadmap on how to achieve it. Start identifying skills that correspond with your industry and will make you an asset to any company within it.
- 2. Stay atop of trends in your industry
Piggy-backing off the end of tip number one, identifying new skills that correspond with your industry is key and staying on top of new trends in your industry is a necessary skill to have. In an article posted to LinkedIn, “one of the key reasons why staying up-to-date with industry trends and technological advancements is so important is that it can help you to stay ahead of the curve. By being aware of the latest developments in your industry, you can anticipate changes and take proactive steps to adapt to them. This can help you to stay competitive and position yourself for success in the long run,” which again, would make you an asset to any company you work for.
A great way to do this is by joining industry associations like the American Advertising Federation or Public Relations Society of America. In 2009, out of 1.9 million U.S. organizations, 90,908 were classified as 501(c)(6) trade or professional associations, meaning that there are plenty to join. Aside from the knowledge to be learned this is also a great means for networking which is also a key tip that will be presented later down this article.
- 3. Reevaluate your strengths and weaknesses
In The Art of War for Women, Chin-Ning Chu wrote “Our troubles start with the way we define liabilities and assets. Liabilities are established by the majority in any given culture; but the same liability in one culture would be considered an asset in another.” As she continues, she asks readers to imagine they work a creative job but have a more analytical mind. While they may lack in the sense of creativity, they would be perfect in ensuring their team finishes projects in a timely manner. But on the other hand, she adds that your strengths also hold your weaknesses, for example, “if you are very confident, you can come across as arrogant.”
So when we say, “reevaluate your strengths and weaknesses,” it means two things: one, be proud of your strengths but have enough self-awareness to see how your strengths can get the best of you, and two, dive deeper into your weakness to see how you can flip them upside down.
- 4. Focus on your branding
When employers and other industry professionals look at you, what do they see? How you present yourself both online and offline are important. Do you have a LinkedIn profile? Is it up to date? Do you have a website that outlines all that you have accomplished in your respective industry? These are all things to consider when working on your brand as a professional. According to Forbes, branding “is an essential part of building your professional identity, and it can help you establish a strong personal reputation.”
- 5. Study your company
Identify where your company can improve and figure out ways that you can assist. By understanding your company’s inner workings, you become better equipped to identify and solve problems independently, contributing more effectively to team efforts. Studying your company’s industry, products, and processes expands your knowledge base and skillset, making you a more valuable asset. This can lead to career advancement opportunities within the company or open doors for future jobs in the same field.
In addition, study with your colleagues. Pay attention to those who are getting the promotions and the ones who aren’t, you may learn a thing or two.
- 6. Seek Feedback
Feedback often shines a light on areas where you’re excelling and areas where you need growth. This self-awareness allows you to prioritize skill development and target specific areas for improvement, according to LinkedIn. It can highlight blind spots you might miss on your own, revealing weaknesses or habits that hinder your performance. With focused feedback, you can work on specific skills to fill knowledge gaps and strengthen your overall performance. This could involve seeking training, coaching, or simply adjusting your approach based on the feedback received.
Actively seeking feedback demonstrates your willingness to learn and grow, showcasing your proactive and forward-thinking attitude. This can build trust and rapport with colleagues and superiors, opening doors to mentorship opportunities and career advancement. Some tips you can use are to be specific when seeking feedback, go into it with a particular project or skill in mind, be open-minded and know that at the end of the day, the feedback can only make you better, and ask clarifying questions to gauge a deeper understanding if anything is unclear.
- 7. Find opportunities to showcase your leadership skills
By stepping up and showcasing your leadership skills, not only will you stand out from the crowd but you will also catch the attention of superiors and can even lead to positive recognition or promotions. When you tackle challenges and spearhead initiatives, you position yourself as a go-to person with the potential to take on larger roles in the future.
- 8. Find a mentor
Having a mentor can literally be a game changer when it comes to accelerating your career. Having someone to offer invaluable insights and advice based on their experience and knowledge can help you navigate career challenges, make informed decisions, and avoid potential pitfalls, according to LinkedIn.
We talked earlier about identifying career goals and your strengths and weaknesses. Mentors are amazing because they can assist with all of those things, helping you to create a roadmap for achieving them. Their guidance can keep you focused on your long-term career aspirations.
- 9. Network
Last but certainly not least, I know we’ve all heard it before but networking really is the name of the game. “70 percent of people in 2016 were hired at a company where they had a connection,” according to LinkedIn. Developing a strong professional network can have your name dropped in rooms that you’d never imagine. Having those genuine and authentic relationships with other industry professionals can provide you with a sense of community, support, and help with your job search.
It’s important to note, however, that when networking you focus on building real connections, not just collecting business cards. Show genuine interest in others and offer value to your network. Don’t be one-sided, help others in your network whenever possible. Offer expertise, introductions, or resources, creating a mutually beneficial relationship.