Posted on | August 19, 2012
Whether you have a job or are looking for one, these 10 career development tips can be helpful to your career. While some of these tips may be quite basic, they are important reminders to us all on how to keep ourselves competitive in the job market. This is a guest post.
Career development isn’t hard, it just takes some careful planning. Follow these ten tips to boost your career development efforts.
- Learn some secondary skills - Maybe you specialize in IT or perhaps you’re a copywriter in the advertising industry. Being a specialist is great, after all it means that you’re a pro at what you do. But it’s important to be good at other things as well as your main specialization. Make the effort to learn secondary skills. If you’re a copywriter, for example, versing yourself in desktop publishing and layout design can make you even more competitive in your field. Also versing yourself in soft skills like people skills can boost your resume and they are portable to any career.
- Overhaul your resume - When was the last time you edited your resume? If it was any more than a year ago, it’s time to dust it off and update it. Also far too many people make the mistake of making one resume and then barely changing it when they apply for new jobs. The fact is that your resume should be 100% tailored to each and every job you apply for. And don’t forget that your resume should be well designed. This doesn’t mean that you have to go crazy with fonts and colors, all it means is that it should be simple, clean, and easy to read. You can easily find good, free resume templates like this one online
- Manage your online presence - Applying for better jobs? Trying to move up in your company? Know that HR people and your new-boss-to-be are checking out your Twitter, your Facebook, and anything else about you online. It takes an employer one second to Google your name and find all your dirty secrets so be sure to have your online life locked down. Go into your privacy settings for each account and make sure no outside parties can see your profile. If you’d rather not do that, take the time to go back at least a few years and remove any photos or post that look incriminating. Keep it clean online. Also definitely create a full LinkedIn profile that explains exactly who you are, what you do, and why you’re good at it. That way, employers can stumble across that instead of your photos where you dressed up as a pimp for Halloween.
- Engage in a little professional development - This is when you attend various conferences to improve your professional skills. Join groups relating to your industry on LinkedIn and find out about professional development opportunities. Some workplaces even offer professional development incentives to their employees so be sure to talk with your office’s HR person as well. Once you’ve engaged in at least two different conferences, you can add a little “Professional Development” section at your resume explaining where you went and what you did.
- While you’re at it, network - As much as you may want to, sitting in a corner by yourself at professional development conferences will do you no good at all. Networking is the best way to find out about great job opportunities. If talking to strangers seems a bit daunting, find someone you get along with well at the conference and make a pact to introduce one another to important people in the industry.
- Build your personal brand - Sure, you work for company XYZ but that’s not who you are. When putting together your resume and LinkedIn profile, don’t forget to brand yourself. The point is to have people remember who you are and what you are good at, so they know either why they should hire you or why they should give you a promotion. Think about the following:
- What sets you apart from the crowd?
- What do you want your boss or potential hiring manager to remember?
- If people could describe you in three words, what would they say?
- Set goals for yourself - If you’re wanting to move ahead in your career but aren’t quite sure how, start by setting some goals. Ask yourself where you want to be in one, five, and ten years from now and why. What motivates you? Money, creative satisfaction, fame? Then create small goals that lead up to each big goal.
- Be vocal about your expertise - You know that you’re the best programmer in the office, but does anyone else know that, particularly your boss? Don’t shy away from showing people what makes you an asset at the company. If someone needs help with coding, don’t be afraid to step in and offer some helpful advice. A word of warning, though. Don’t be “That Guy”. You know, That Guy who loudly boasts about how awesome he is. You’ll just seem annoying. Never be That Guy.
- Keep up with industry trends - A lot of people think that they can go to school, get their degree, land a job and then just focus solely on that job for years on end. Those days don’t exist anymore. Technology is moving faster than ever before and it’s up to you to keep up on trends related to your industry. So read news sources and blogs related to your industry or even contribute to them. And don’t forget that whole part about professional development. Conferences and seminars will often summarize and explain industry trends for you.
- Know when to move on - It used to be that people stayed at their jobs for 10-25 years. The world doesn’t cater to that kind of commitment anymore. Working at your job for a long time is a sure way to pigeonhole yourself into less pay and less creative fulfillment.If you’ve been at your job for a long time and you’re starting to feel the itch to move on or feel like your current employers don’t value your skill and experience, don’t ignore it. That’s your sign to pack up and go. Each new position you take on will make you better at what you do and will add to your already impressive resume.
Best wishes to your career success.
Your comments: How helpful are these tips to your career development? share your comments below
Guest Author: Albertine Watson is an author and blogger who regularly contributes articles on business and career development all over the web. You can learn more about Career Development at People First HR .
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