Is 2020 the year to take your career to the next level? If so, these four ideas could help boost your career and take you closer to your goals. Whatever career stage you’re at, I suggest trying at least one of these this year. I’ve personally benefitted from each of these ideas and I hope you will find them valuable as you plan the year ahead.
Get a mentor
Working with a mentor can be a fantastic way of gaining insight on your strengths and developing your skill set. Mentoring can be an ongoing arrangement or just for a specified period or purpose. Either way, it’s important to choose a mentor who you can communicate with openly. A mentor can be older or younger than you, but the key thing is that they have skills or experience in an area you want to grow in. Mentors also need the ability to communicate well and share their wisdom. Just like finding someone who’s a good fit for a role, make sure you find a mentor who’s a good fit for you and your objectives.
Develop your professional network
It’s always a good time to develop your network, so what will you do to develop yours this year? Try choosing a combination of activities that can help you with nurturing your current network as well as providing opportunities to expand it. One option is to commit to regular networking events. Many professional organisations offer a calendar of events, so choosing one organisation that aligns with your career goals and professional interests is a good starting point. Depending on your schedule, you could also try setting aside a regular lunch or coffee spot in your calendar and making it a priority to catch up with people throughout the year. Making networking a regular activity means that over time you’ll develop a strong network that can be a source of opportunities and support throughout your career.
Plan some professional development
What new skills would you like to learn in 2020? Are there areas where you would like to develop your existing skills? Do you want to achieve a certification or qualification? Taking some time to look at what opportunities or courses are available and planning a few to attend could be a good way to ensure you’re getting the professional development you want this year. It might also be worth finding out what is offered or supported by your employer. Some employers offer financial support for short and long courses as well as study leave. You might also find in-house training that meets your needs. Or you could try looking into conferences and seminars coming up this year in your industry. As well as developing your skills, professional development activities are also a great way of growing your professional network.
As well as being a great way to give back, volunteering on boards and committees can be a fantastic way to develop and demonstrate executive level skills. From organisational leadership to managing budgets to running meetings and events or even fundraising, these are all valuable skills. When considering volunteering opportunities, thinking about what you can offer is a good place to start. However, evaluating opportunities in terms of what you could gain is also important. Will you be able to demonstrate your skills and experience? Will you be learning new skills? Where could your volunteer experience take you professionally? Not all volunteering opportunities are the same, so it’s worth taking the time to work out whether the role and organisation are a good fit for you and your goals.
How will you be taking your career further this year? Have you tried any of these ideas? If not, I encourage you to give them a go. You might be surprised by the results. I’ll also be discussing these ideas and more in the January edition of Talking Recruitment on radio station FIVEaa. Be sure to tune in to 1395AM on Friday 31 January 2020 at 2pm to hear more.