6 Professional Growth Strategies to Advance Your Career

Professional growth and career advancement offer some obvious (and attractive) benefits: Higher salaries, greater respect, more exciting projects. It’s little wonder, then, that so many workers are motivated to continuously improve in their roles and climb the rungs of the corporate ladder.

Are you looking for professional growth strategies that you can leverage to improve your skills, take on more responsibility at work, and advance in your career? Below, we offer six strategies that can help you do just that. 

Professional Growth Strategies 

1. Embrace your network.

When it comes to advancing your career, sometimes the simplest of steps can carry the greatest impact. For example, building, nurturing, and maintaining your professional network can have a tremendous impact in helping you find a new job or move up in your current organization.

If you’re unsure about the power of networking, consider this statistic: Between 70 and 85 percent of all job openings are ultimately filled through networking, whether online or in person. And because up to 80 percent of jobs are never listed online or made public, networking can sometimes be the only opportunity to learn about openings which might appeal to you. 

If you’re new to networking (or just out of practice) consider these networking tips:

  • Stay connected: Networking isn’t just about meeting new people; it’s also about staying in touch with those people you already know. Do your best to stay connected with former coworkers, supervisors, and professors who can alert you to potential opportunities within their organizations. Depending on your relationship, these connections may also put in a recommendation on your behalf.
  • Attend industry events: Attending lectures, trade shows, meetups, or other events specifically targeted to professionals in your industry is a great way to meet people who might one day help you pivot your career.
  • Be a good contact: People are more likely to do you a favor if you first do a favor for them. If you want to be someone that others in your network promote and help, then you need to make sure you are putting in the work on your end to be a good contact. An act as simple as writing a recommendation or alerting someone to a job posting you thought might interest them could be enough to help you stay top of mind—increasing the likelihood that they will do the same for you when the opportunity presents itself.

2. Find a mentor. 

According to a survey conducted by the American Society for Training and Development, 75 percent of executives say that mentoring has played a critical role in their career development. Even among non-executives, mentoring is often cited as one of the surest ways for an individual to learn new skills, transition into a new role, and advance in their career. 

What makes for a good mentor will, of course, depend on your industry and career goals. Here are a few tips that you can use to find a mentor that can help guide you further into your career:

  • Ask your employer: Many organizations recognize the value that mentoring brings to the workplace, and have put in place formal or informal mentorship programs to help develop their employees. If your organization offers such a program, inquire about how to enroll.
  • Get creative: If your employer does not offer a mentorship program, there are many other options that you can pursue. College professors, experienced family members, and local professional groups may offer opportunities for you to connect with a mentor.
  • Find someone who has been where you are: A great mentor will be someone who has succeeded in the role that you are currently working in (or which you are about to enter) and who has used that success to advance in their career.
  • Look within your industry: While you may be able to find an effective mentor from outside your industry, certain industries are much more insulated and specialized than others. If you work in such an industry (or plan to), then finding a mentor from that industry can be even more impactful.

3. Ask for more responsibility.

Some individuals make the mistake of thinking that their boss or supervisor will simply know when they have earned a promotion or are ready for more responsibility. 

But the truth is that sometimes you must your own advocate if you wish to develop in your career. Instead of waiting for your boss to give you more responsibility, actively seek out opportunities to take on additional tasks—especially projects that will allow you to learn new skills or flex your leadership muscles.  

Even if the experience does not directly lead to a promotion or a title change, it can be instrumental in propelling your career forward and preventing you from stagnating in your current role.

Source: https://www.northeastern.edu/bachelors-completion/news/professional-growth-strategies/