From the days of the agrarian age until now, the way we view careers has changed in that time. What might have worked back then might not work as effectively today, and hence requires a different approach. For some time now, there are certain career development strategies that have proved to work in the present age.
Due to the advancements in technology and social life, the way we approach our careers has also changed. It used to be that there was a limited range of jobs on which to build a great career. Today the opportunities are almost endless.
Here are 5 career development strategies to consider for developing the career of your dreams:
1. Follow the best in your industry
I find that the fastest way to learn a new skill is to study the best in your field. There’s nothing wrong with learning for yourself but it’s much smarter to follow a proven blueprint because it saves time. Time is a precious commodity not just in your career but in all of life; so maximize it as best as you can.
If you’re an industrialist for example, following people like Elon Musk might be a good idea; or if you’re in film making studying the likes of Alex and Stephen Kendrick would certainly teach you a lot. The point is that you can achieve a lot more in less time by following a proven success blueprint. This doesn’t mean you must become exactly like the people you learn from, but grasping the key success principles.
This is one of the most effective career development strategies even if you didn’t focus much on other ones. The same people you admire in your field also learned from other successful people before them. More often than not, people that don’t learn from others have a problem with pride. Don’t let that be you because it will hamper your career development.
2. Network with other professionals
One of the other effective career development strategies that work is networking with other professionals. Attending business functions and seminars gives you the opportunity to meet people from various professions and to build relationships. Some jobs and opportunities you acquire not just because of your expertise, but also through relationships. People naturally like to work with other people that they like and trust.
It’s important to remember that when you’re networking, you mustn’t do it from a place of wanting to get. People are naturally self-centered so a better approach is helping them get what they want instead. It could be as simple as suggesting a tool that can make their job easier or connecting them with someone. When you do that, people naturally reciprocate and want to help you succeed as well.
Who knows, you might end up getting access to development opportunities to enhance your own career. In many cases, these types of opportunities are not public knowledge but are reserved for certain people. And again, such opportunities come when you focus more on helping others than pushing for what you want. If you don’t already network with other people, you can start today.
3. Constant education
Leaders are readers and one of their top priorities is constant development in their various professions. The type of education will differ from others depending on your field. At the basic level, most professionals need some form of qualification in the form of a degree, diploma, or certification. However, the type of qualification a medical doctor might need for their job might differ from that of a plumber.
The best thing you can do is find out the basic educational requirements for your particular field. Beyond that, however, your education shouldn’t stop with formal qualifications. There are many other opportunities to keep learning things related to your particular field. In fact, constant learning should be one of your ongoing career development goals in order to stay relevant.
If you’re not learning, you’re not growing and that means you’re slowly dying in your career. I already mentioned that following industry leaders is one of the ways of constantly learning your profession. Most of them have some form of online presence like a YouTube channel where they share their knowledge. Others do podcasts but whichever way, there are various opportunities to add to your knowledge and keep growing.
Another strategy that works well is volunteering your skills and time and not getting paid for it. This often is the case when you’re struggling to find paid work but it does add to your profile. More often than not, opportunities open up where you get paid work after some time. Working for free tells potential employers that you’re faithful, more so if you do a good job.
It’s also a godly principle that you can be sure will pay off big time in the end. If you’re faithful with a little, God will entrust you with much. Volunteering also teaches humility and makes you appreciate the simple things and how to build from scratch. People that start at this level have the potential to lead successful enterprises because of that unique viewpoint.
Some of the best places to volunteer your skills and time include churches and charity organizations. Even though you don’t get paid, most will provide some form of allowance to enable you to do your work. It also gives you exposure and the opportunity to connect with people who could help you land a permanent job.
5. Share your expertise on various platforms
I’ve noticed that people who share their industry knowledge tend to be seen as industry leaders or influencers. This includes people that have a solid social media following, run a blog, or post on LinkedIn. These aren’t the only platforms but some of the common ones that are the most popular. Sharing your knowledge is a form of servant leadership and people are drawn to that.
YouTube is another such platform where relative unknowns create names for themselves through their areas of interest. The area of interest could be as simple as cooking and sharing recipes with your audience. What I’ve seen happen for some people is how they grow a community of followers that leads to bigger opportunities.
Some of them earn a decent amount of money from YouTube advertisements on their channels, and others create partnerships with big brands that advertise on their YouTube channels. How amazing is that? I hope you realize that having a great career isn’t only about having formal employment. You can use your skills to create one.