7 Easy Hacks To Help Take Your Career To The Next Level
If you feel like you've been stuck in the same position at work for too long, doing nothing but stapling papers and fetching coffee, it's time to take your career to the next level. While sometimes it's necessary to coast — whether it's to gain experience, learn the ropes of your trade, or give yourself time to figure out what you need to do next — you'll eventually feel the need to move. When you begin to feel that itch between your shoulder blades to start applying yourself, listen to it. That means you've outgrown your position and are ready for bigger challenges, new experiences, and a heavier caseload of learning. And that's super exciting!
So how do you get to that point, though? How do you take your career to the next level while you're still at your old job with all your old responsibilities? Well, it's going to be a lot of hard work. You need to be committed to the fact that coasting is no longer an option, and that it's time to roll up your sleeves and show your bosses that you're here to work and that you can handle challenges. It also has a lot to do with lists and forward thinking, which is just as necessary as those late hours at the office. Below are seven ways to take your career to the next level — get ready for success.
1. Work Hella Hard
Yep, we're going to start this list off on an obvious note, but you know just as well as I do how easy it is to coast. Weeks get hard, inboxes get full of projects, deadlines are barely scraped past, and you begin to work at a lower battery percentage in order not to faceplant on your desk. But if you want to take your career to the next level, this level of enthusiasm and challenge is what it's all about.
Entreprenuer and event consultant Keith Johnston told The Muse, "Work harder than everyone under you or above you. Nothing commands respect more than a good work ethic. This means being the first one at the event in the morning and the last one to leave in the evening." While it might seem like a lot, people respect a hard worker and they take notice when your work ethic is strong. They'll keep that in mind when you try to take your career up to the next level.
2. Be Conscious Of Those That Help Your Career
It takes a village to just about do anything, so if you think that you can jump start your career all on your own you're mistaken. Whether it's a glowing recommendation, a sense of trust in your reliability, or a belief in your work, the people in your office will help you grow and reach the heights you want to. So in order to know who you should keep close and who you can continue to learn from and impress, become conscious of your influencers.
Business writer Brendan Reid from entrepreneur site Fast Company wrote, "Take 10 minutes today and jot down a list of everyone in your company who has an influence over your career. This can include your boss, his or her boss, some key peers, and people from other departments who depend on your work." Then create a plan on how you can get (and stay) on their radar, and how you can take your work up a notch to really impress them.
3. Be The First One To Step Into The Mess
When the office turns frantic over a miffed client or a project that got derailed, rather than joining the riot, be the one that rolls up their sleeves and shows up with a list of solutions. The worker that you can rely on during a crisis is invaluable, so step into that role.
Kristi Hedges, Leadership Coach, told The Muse, "In chaos, there is opportunity. Most major career accelerations happen when someone steps into a mess and makes a difference." While everyone else is freaking out, take this as your chance. Come in with answers and suggestions and be remembered as the person that keeps calm in the eye of the storm.
4. Create A Learning Schedule
When work gets hectic, the idea of developing yourself gets shoved to the back burner. Ain't nobody got time for that. But in reality, you should. Make the time — you can't think of moving upward if you yourself aren't growing. So every month draft a schedule of the skill sets you would like to polish, and a weekly game plan on just how you'll expand in that area.
Reid offered, "Document your learning curriculum at least a month at time. I like to start by selecting three themes for the quarter and focus in on one per month. At least two of the three learning themes will be outside my established area of expertise." If you have it written down and scheduled in your planner, it will be so much easier to stick to.
5. Learn From Criticism
No one likes to hear how they aren't perfect, but you should take critiquing (or straight up criticism) for what it is: A chance to improve! Sometimes we don't notice how a certain part of our job is lagging, and having someone shine some light on it helps you draft a battle plan on how to become a star worker.
Entrepreneur Michelle Bruno told career development site The Muse, "Take criticism or 'feedback' for what it is: a gift given to you to make you better at what you do. Don't concern yourself with the person or the method of delivery. Instead, glean out the teachable nuggets and move on." Always appreciate a suggestion on how you can grow, and work on that improvement.
6. Draft A Plan To Get To Your Dream Job
You won't just aimlessly bounce into your dream job — you need a plan to get there! You have to research what skill sets you need in order to have a chance in applying, what accomplishments will put you above the rest, and what type of experience you need in order to be prepared to take on that role. Which all requires careful and determined planning. So smear on the war paint, you've got a battle to prepare for.
Business writer Nicole Fallon at Business News Daily said, "Create a gap analysis to map a path to your dream job. To do this, research the requirements for your ideal position, identify which of those requirements are missing from your skill set and come up with a plan for filling those gaps." You should always be growing, learning, and moving towards something, so it might as well be your dream.
7. Keep An Eye On Your Quality
Here's a simple fact: If your work is stellar, people won't be able not to take note. But how do you get to creating gold-star-sticker type of work? You have to hustle, and you have to put in the time. That means going above and beyond what you're expected, and not feeling bitter about it. Stay later at the office, take your time on a project, let it cut into your play time, polish up your skill set so you're more experienced, research and learn, and try to top yourself every time.
Lifestyle writer Dustin Wax at Lifehack wrote "Make whatever you make twice as well. Improve the quality of your work until people have no choice but to stop and gape. Create benchmarks for your output, and aim to top them every single time. Take classes, read book, follow a mentor, practice twice as much, commit yourself to doing what it takes to master your craft or profession."
If you keep on moving forward and taking the time to let yourself learn, practice, and grow, you should be on your way to the next level of your career in no time!