Many professionals have seen their careers stall due to the pandemic. Many companies had to tighten their belts during the early days of COVID-19 and invest in areas like remote work technology to keep operations stable. As a result, promotion delays, pay freezes, and even layoffs became fairly commonplace.
However, even with the pandemic still being a factor, that doesn’t mean you can’t grow your career this year. With the right approach, you can make progress. If you aren’t sure where to begin, here are some tips that can help.
Take Control of Your Professional Development
Today, it isn’t wise to rely on your employer when it comes to professional development. Training budgets may have been slashed to help navigate the financial challenges related to the pandemic, and they may remain limited for the first half of the year or longer. But that doesn’t mean you can grow your skills; you have to take that on yourself.
Luckily, there is a slew of options for advancing your own professional development. Digital trade publications and virtual conferences can be a great source of new information. You can find out about something new and take deep dives into unfamiliar but relevant topics.
Online classes are another stellar option. There are plenty of websites that make finding courses easy. Plus, some of them are completely free to use.
You can also try books, blogs, or podcasts. Following thought leaders on social media can also be a wise move, particularly for identifying emerging trends in your field.
Reflect on your career, both where it is and where you’d like it to go. Then, identify subjects where growing your knowledge would be beneficial and make that a priority.
Extend Yourself at Work
If you’re currently employed and want to snag a promotion with your current employer, find ways to extend yourself. An easy way to begin is to speak with your manager about your career progression goals and see if there are any opportunities to take on more responsibility or get involved in career-boosting projects.
You can also volunteer for special projects, committees, or stretch assignments. If those aren’t available, examine your current workflows and duties to see if there is space for potential improvement, and see if you can make changes to increase efficiency, lower costs, or both.
In some cases, offering to assist your colleagues can work, as well. Not only does this make you look like a team player, but it may expose you to tasks or skills that are new to you, giving you a chance to grow. Additionally, it can help you build stronger connections with people who may assist you in advancing your career. Plus, it will boost your reputation, and that practically always works in your favor.
Keep Networking by Going Virtual
As mentioned above, virtual networking events can be great resources for new information, particularly in emerging trends in your field. But these conferences also allow you to connect with other professionals, giving you a chance to grow your network.
It’s also wise to dedicate time each week to networking through other online avenues, like social media. Along with forging new connections, it creates a pathway for keeping existing relationships strong. That can be incredibly beneficial to your career, as you may learn about career-advancing opportunities you wouldn’t have discovered otherwise.
Ultimately, pandemic or not, it is possible to grow your career this year. If you’d like to learn more, the team at The Advance Group can help. Contact us today.