It’s easy to get a job, they said. All you need is a resume, they said. If you’re reading this as a “career professional,” you know that truly isn’t the case. For our rising career stars, it’s important to know that, becoming a career professional takes time, effort, and patience. At least, for starters. Let’s dive into a few best practices that incorporate these three pillars and how you can use them to turn yourself into a bonafide “career professional.”
Initial Key Things To Cover:
Let’s be clear: Developing your career doesn’t happen in a week. It doesn’t even happen within a year, for many people. For most, it takes at least 5 years to fully cultivate oneself as a career pro individual. But how do we get there? What does it take to get to that five year marker as swiftly as possible? Let’s go over some fundamental values to put you on the right track.
When it comes to setting goals, we want them to be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based. There is an entire school of thought behind this specific, goal-setting philosophy that many business professionals swear by. With this frameset in mind, we’re able to prioritize and specify our goals that will help us reach our full workplace potential. In setting these goals, we want to make sure our time-based determinations are broken down into manageable time frames themselves. Typically, it is recommended to have a
One Year Plan
Three Year Plan
Five Year Plan
Seek A Mentor
We can’t overestimate the power of having at least one mentor in life. Mentors help us grow our passions, realize our strengths, and keep us on the right track in moving forward with growth as professionals, and as people in general. Make no mistake, you can absolutely procure a Mentor who serves your needs that exist outside of the workplace. However, we do recommend that if you are starting out with one mentor, make sure, at least for now, that it’s someone who can help you grow as a professional. Find that person, then ask them to lunch or treat them to a coffee. Most people won’t reject a free meal or beverage. Use this opportunity to ask this person questions about how they got into their industry, what steps that took them there, and be sure to take notes of it all. If it feels right, ask about a follow up meeting, then find a way to ask them to be your mentor that you feel is appropriate. This can even be a card, or kind gesture in your own creative way. These mentors will be of great worth to you as you make your first career steps, fueling the fires of other aspects of your life with a bit more clarity and security. If you can get more than one Mentor, go for it. You’ll be relieved when you’re standing at the end of the road, surrounded by people who’ve lifted you up and brought you to this place with a bit more ease and comfort than you would have had in embarking on this journey on your own.
Establish Your Network
As humans, it’s integral to have and participate in our communities. For the modern human, this extends outside of your family and friends and into the workplace. Granted, these groups can cross over (I mean, GSATi is a family business, for one thing) but it’s important to create that environment, or rather that network, that supports you on a day to day basis. This includes your mentors, but we also want to include your coworkers, fellow professionals in your industry, and the people who operate outside of or around your industry. These are the folks you interact with daily in your workplace, at happy hour, or company sponsored events. They’re familiar with you, the work you and your company do, and are genuinely invested in you in some form or fashion. Use these connections to gauge what’s happening in your local industries, how others in your workplace are doing, and in turn, establish yourself as a more in-tuned, connected individual both with your work and the people in it.
Know Your Worth!
In growing yourself as a professional, it’s important to maintain a stake in your own value. No one else, except for your mentors, will do this for you. This goes for anything from project involvement, compensation negotiations, and any individual who asks of your time in a professional manner, whether it be in the workplace, or part of your side hustle.
Maintain Your Resume
Yes, we joked about this earlier in the article, but it’s true - having an updated resume can be pretty handy to have in times of job opportunities. Also having multiple versions, if your skills are varied, that makes it easier for a prospective employer to better understand the skills you have that pertain to their needs.
Maintain Your LinkedIn
Linkedin is like the online version of your resume and work history as both an employee and a colleague. Use this to your advantage! Request for reviews, leave reviews on the pages of others in exchange for reviews on your own page, join groups, and maintain any accolades you receive based on your work. Linkedin is a great place to be discovered by the best people who could, in turn, become your next boss or coworker, or even your client, depending on your line of work.
Have Regular Checkups with your Mentor(s)
This will help keep you on your predetermined goals and career path you’ve established for yourself. This will freshen your focus, and maybe even lead to some changes in the direction of your goals.
Stay Learning, Stay Growing
It’s important for you to grow as a professional in whichever industry you choose to occupy/work in. This can be maintained through attending webinars, conferences, job shadowing at your workplace or at a client location, any opportunity to gain new knowledge that in turn makes you a more valuable employee.
We could truly, go on and on about how to develop a career as a business professional. The fact of the matter though, is that our opinions, though similar to many, are not the end-all-be-all solutions. There are so many practices, exercises, strategies, and tricks of the trade(s) that can help grow you into not just a better business pro, but a better you in general. Take our recommendations with a grain of salt, do your research, and keep planning. It won’t be us or Forbes or your Mentors who will make you into the professional you desire, it will be you. Now “go forth, and do good!”