Everyone’s career is going to be different because we each take distinct paths towards our dreams. For some, those dreams might not even be realized until well into their career. Finding your passion is important, but the specifics can be worried about later. So long as you get into the right industry, you can work your way up and then get to the position that gives you the most meaning (and financial compensation).
The biggest difficulty in all of that, however, is going to be working your way up. There are going to be a lot of barriers to progression that you need to start building solutions for now, which is why you should follow these ten steps to advance your career:
1. Know the Skills that You Need to Succeed
Look at those in roles you admire. Read up about them, learn how they got to their position, and more importantly, what they do in an everyday setting. This information will help you gleam the key skills that helped them get to where they are. These skills are often transferable, so you can work on developing them and keep your options open in the future.
2. Take Advantage of Opportunities at Work
If you want to advance in life you need to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. Even if the opportunity isn’t glamorous, taking advantage of what is available will show you are a go-getter and help you learn invaluable skills and information.
3. Shadow Different Departments to Find Your True Calling
Don’t just take advantage of opportunities that come your way, make opportunities. Ask if you can shadow different departments when you first start out in a low-level job. Learn what different departments do, what roles you like within those departments, and most importantly, who is in charge.
At the very least, you will have a better understanding of how the company works as a whole. At most, you’ll secure yourself a better position in a role you are passionate about.
4. Attend Talks, Workshops and Other Events
Don’t just look within your company for advancement opportunities. Take this task into your own hands. Stay on top of events, workshops, and talks within your industry to learn trending information and tips. Not only will you learn, you’ll meet key people in the entrepreneur space.
Build up your network and become integrated in this community and you can build your career independently from your employer.
5. Maintain a Healthy Network
Social sites like LinkedIn make it easy to maintain a healthy network. If someone has a question, answer it. If they need help on a project or are looking for someone, respond. Do the same and pass on work or advice yourself to maintain a healthy network on a broad scale.
6. Stay Up to Date with Industry News and Competitors
Stay up to date with industry reports, economic news, and most importantly what your competitors are doing. This will help you become the go-to person at your company and help you develop great habits that will take you far if you ever decide to start your own business or become a consultant.
7. Know Your Worth and Fight for Advancement
All these extra steps are worthless unless you fight for your worth. Ask for that raise or put your name in the ring for that promotion. You lose every opportunity you pass by. If your employer won’t bite and you feel stuck, look elsewhere for a new job.
Fighting for your worth and advancement is how you can reach new heights, but eventually you are going to run into a wall. This wall can easily be solved with an MBA.
8. Complete an MBA
Thus far you have been working towards two things: your career, and an MBA. Most MBAs will require you to have real-world experience so that what you learn can be easier to understand and, more importantly, be used right-off-the-bat.
In fact, it is best to choose universities that rely on your experience and references, especially over outdated testing standards like the GMAT. GMAT is a standardized test that cannot capture your passion or talents in the real world. It is limited and takes away from more important testing standards, which is why top universities like Kettering Online do not require GMAT scores for admission. It takes the pressure out of a testing environment and puts your true mettle to the test.
9. Specialize to Further Your Career
When completing your MBA, you won’t want to keep it general. General MBAs are okay, but you will want to specialize your degree further with a certification. There are many to choose from, including Global Leadership, Supply Chain Management, and even Healthcare Management. Specializing with a certification means you effectively get two degrees in one and can break into executive-level management easier and with the tools (and network) to back you up.
10. Set Yourself Up as an Independent Consultant
You don’t ever have to work for yourself, but you do need your name to carry weight. You can do this in many ways. Use what you know both from your MBA and your industry experience to provide in-depth and quality content to top news sites like Forbes. Publish articles, create webinars, and even take on consulting as a side business. If you want to really establish your career, you cannot stand behind the logo of your company. You need to be successfully independent from who you work for and establishing your name by growing your online reputation is a great way to do it. Progressing your career does not mean fighting endlessly for your dream job. Your dream job might not even exist until you make it. It means building your skillset so that you can go for the opportunities you want, or even start making opportunities for yourself. Build your skillset, gain new skills with an MBA, and leverage your network. Your path to success won’t look like anyone else’s, but that is because leaders are trailblazers.