Many people often neglect to work toward professional growth despite its benefits. It’s a frequent practice that once you find a good job, you just settle and stop looking for anything more. Very few individuals strive to achieve bigger and better things, and these are the ones who succeed in their careers.
Due to the unstable economy, sticking with whatever job you can land may seem wise. However, this shouldn’t keep you from trying to accomplish more things in your career. It’s due to the instability of today’s economy that you must keep working to achieve professional growth. And since management positions often enjoy better job security, it may be wise to climb the corporate ladder and reach the top levels.
Moreover, it’s helpful to know that some U.S. states offer better opportunities for professional growth than others. For example, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the metropolitan area of Washington alone had a 4.6 percent increase in jobs. The rest of the nation only saw a 4.3 percent rise. Additionally, being the capital state, Washington offers qualified employees high-paying jobs across various industries.
So, if you’re interested in achieving professional growth but don’t know where to start, follow these six tips for a step in the right direction.
- Increase your knowledge
Your willingness to learn and commitment to furthering your knowledge is an excellent step towards achieving professional growth. And while plenty of programs you can consider pursuing, certain degrees offer greater benefits than others. For example, if relocating to Washington for better job opportunities speaks to you, it may help to enroll in colleges offering Washington online MBA degrees.
The versatility of an MBA program allows you to gain experience and knowledge in various areas. This comprehensive education will open doors for you across several industries, letting you make a career switch when and if you want to. Furthermore, many employers look for MBA-qualified individuals when recruiting for management positions. Thus, earning this degree is an excellent source of professional growth worldwide and throughout many industries.
- Leverage your network
Workplace acquaintances and any potential connections you make in a social gathering are among your most valuable assets for professional growth. Firstly, networking can provide you with incredible insights and varying perspectives regarding the profession you plan on building your career in. Secondly, listening to the experiences of industry professionals and experts can help you navigate challenges better and keep you from making the same mistakes they did. Most importantly, your professional network is an exceptional gateway to newer and more lucrative career opportunities. This is because when hiring CEOs, managers, or directors, companies rely more on word of mouth than anything else. And so, if you don’t leverage your networks correctly, you may miss out on opportunities that could easily come knocking at your door.
- Develop transferable skills
It’s important to remember that whatever theoretical knowledge you gain about a profession, hundreds and thousands of other students learn the same thing. Therefore, you must set yourself apart from other potential candidates who may also want to grow professionally.
One way to do this is by developing transferable or soft skills that aim to nurture your core competencies. Unlike technical skills, these are more generic and can benefit any industry you work in. For example, good communication skills are often the most sought-after among corporate and leadership positions. By building these, you can convince potential employers to hire you and instill their confidence in you to perform well at your job.
Adaptability and flexibility are other transferable skills that can help you grow professionally. With industries and workplaces rapidly evolving each day, professionals must be able to keep up with the changing pace. These skills help you quickly learn and adapt to new technologies, environments, and processes, which can prove excellent tools for top-level positions.
- Ask for feedback
Seeking feedback from your superiors or other industry professionals allows you to understand your strengths and limitations better when performing a particular job. By seeing things from an outsider’s perspective, you’re more accurately able to highlight areas of improvement. This self-awareness allows you to work towards professional development continuously and keeps you from stagnating your growth.
Moreover, when you ask employers or managers for feedback, it shows them your willingness and commitment to learning and enhancing your skills. Bosses greatly appreciate this proactive mindset and ability to take on constructive criticism, which may put you in the spotlight for the next big promotion.
- Step out of your comfort zone
While playing to your strengths can offer you familiarity and a sense of security, it keeps you from unlocking your true potential. But by intentionally pushing yourself to go beyond what you know well, you may be surprised to learn how far you can go. Taking on unfamiliar tasks or roles exposes you to different perspectives, methodologies, and ways of thinking. This exposure fosters adaptability, innovation, and the ability to tackle diverse challenges, enhancing professional competence.
This approach also helps you become more adaptable to new environments and problems. And developing these skills makes you a suitable candidate for managerial positions where you’ll often have to think on your feet quickly.
- Set short- and long-term goals
Without a sense of direction, a goal, or being unaware of your intended destination—all yield the same result: stagnation. If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you’re there? And so when you don’t have any predefined goals, it hinders your ability to take a suitable path to help you achieve that desired point.
Therefore, setting short- and long-term goals is crucial for achieving professional growth in your career. Depending on how far you want to go, these can vary from person to person. For example, if you want to work towards a leadership role in the company, your short-term goals may include gaining the necessary experience and training. On the other hand, your long-term goal may be to get a promotion or an advanced degree that gets you highlighted among other potential candidates in the company.
Whatever your goals are, make sure they follow the SMART criteria. Additionally, keep track of each little step you achieve, no matter how trivial it may seem.
Achieving professional growth in your career can be a long process that requires plenty of patience and resilience. Sometimes, you may feel like giving up, but this moment is when you must push through the most. Because once you make it to the other side, the benefits you reap from years of hard work will be worth the effort.