The best way to get ahead in your career is to start doing the work that’s above and beyond what you’re currently being asked to do. It’s not that your bosses aren’t noticing your hard work; it’s that they can only reward you with promotions, raises, or new responsibilities based on your current role—not the extra things you do on top of it.
Here are 10 ways you can do to level up in your career now so that one day soon, you’ll get those big rewards.
1. Get A Mentor.
Finding a mentor is one of the best ways to level up your career. Mentors are people who know more than you and have been through what you’re going through.
They have a lot of experience and knowledge that can help guide you down the right path. Through a career coaching session with a mentor, you’ll learn things like how to network, what skills are important, and how to make the best use of your time. Plus, they’re always available for advice or guidance when you need it!
Check out some resources below to find mentors in your area:
- The Find A Mentor site has an extensive database with listings from around the world.
- Google searches might turn up results to help you find mentors near you.
- Entrepreneur lists mentors on their website under Get Advice.
- Facebook pages usually provide information about finding a mentor at their school and other places in the city where you live or work.
2. Join A Professional Association.
No matter your industry, there’s a professional association for you. Join your local chapter, or reach out to professionals in your field online.
Meetup is a great resource for finding local professional associations. Associations are often regional, so do some research and find one that makes the most sense for you and your career goals. There are even national organizations with members all over the world!
If you’re unsure where to start, head to Google to find an extensive list of associations by industry.
3. Get Certified In Your Field.
One way you can level up your career is by taking a certification course in your field. For example, if you are a graphic designer, take a course in Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. This will help you learn new skills and build your resume.
You might also want to consider getting certified in something that is related but not completely related. For example, consider getting certified as a project manager if you are in the technology field.
A common thing people do when they get their certifications is to show them off on their social media profiles with a link for others to find out more about them. So, when someone searches for your name, they see some kind of proof of what you have done professionally.
If you don’t have any work experience or accomplishments in the past, then certifications will be one way for employers to see what kind of value you could bring to their company.
And while it’s always good to keep learning and growing, certifications alone won’t necessarily get you hired over other candidates who don’t have them, especially when there are so many qualified professionals out there vying for jobs in our tough economy-but having one can make all the difference!
When you need to build a professional resume highlighting these certifications to land you that dream job, it helps to use a professional resume builder like ResumeKit.
4. Teach Or Present.
Teaching and presenting are two ways to level up your career. You can apply these techniques in any industry and at any level of your career. It’s a great way to add value and get exposure to your skills.
Here are a few tips on how you can start teaching and presenting today:
Create your own course: If you have knowledge that is valuable, then create a course around it and sell it on a platform like Udemy or Skillshare. Teaching courses are also a great way to market yourself as an expert in the field.
Start with small audiences: Don’t be afraid of public speaking! Even if you feel nervous about standing in front of people, it will help you improve your confidence over time.
Volunteer to speak at events: Offer to volunteer at conferences or meetups in your area by offering to speak on a topic related to what you do. We will talk more about volunteering in the next section.
Volunteer your time. Volunteering is a great way to work on your skills and make connections in the industry. Plus, it’s a good way to find out what you want from your career.
If you’re more interested in working for nonprofits or if you’re passionate about sustainability, then volunteering is a good way for you to get involved and make those connections with like-minded people.
To volunteer, there are many different organizations that are looking for help. Check out social media pages to find an organization that might be a good fit for you!
Networking is a great way to level up your career. Networking gives you the opportunity to meet new people and learn more about their experience in your field. It’s also a chance for you to share your experiences with others, so they can better understand what it’s like working in your profession.
You never know when an opportunity will arise, but by being intentional about networking, you’re increasing your chances of success in the long run.
There are lots of ways to network, such as attending conferences or events, joining LinkedIn or other professional networks, etc.
One easy thing you can do is follow influencers on social media (even if you don’t work in their industry) because this helps broaden your knowledge on topics that may be helpful down the line.
7. Write for a publication.
Become an authority in the field and contribute to a publication. If you are interested in becoming an authority in your field, you should start by contributing to publications or speaking at conferences.
You can also write a book or start a blog where you share your expertise with the world. As long as you have something to say, there is always an opportunity for additional exposure, which will lead to more potential career opportunities.
A popular way to become an expert on a topic is through blogging. By writing about what you know best, your content becomes increasingly valuable to other bloggers and readers who need it the most!
Blogging creates connections between influencers in the industry and yourself. Once you’ve written a few articles that rank well on search engines, organizations will reach out with guest blogger requests that may offer monetary compensation or other types of benefits.
A benefit of writing guest posts for others is building relationships and creating connections with influencers in other industries that might lead to collaborations down the line.
Internships are a great way to level up your career. If you have the opportunity, intern at a company that is related to your desired field. You’ll be able to observe the daily operations and gain valuable experience while still in school. This will give you an edge during interviews because you’ll already have done what they’re looking for!
For example, if you’re interested in banking or accounting, consider doing an internship with a big accounting firm. A typical day may include taking notes on a meeting’s proceedings, analyzing data or organizing documents before sharing them with colleagues.
Or if you want to break into publishing or journalism? Consider working as an intern at a magazine where you can see how all aspects of the process work, from researching articles and assigning stories to designing layouts and managing social media accounts.
With both options, interns also get their foot in the door without having any work experience- meaning it’s easier for them to make connections when it comes time for job searching!
9. Advance Your Education.
Levelling up your career starts with advancing your education. Investing in yourself is a worthwhile investment that will pay off in the future. Plus, you’ll have more opportunities and be more marketable to employers.
So, what are some ways you can advance your education? You can enroll in continuing-education programs, sign up for an online course, or read self-help books on how to become a better leader or employee.
You don’t want to invest your time and energy into something that’s not going anywhere – so take charge of your future and level up today! There’s no perfect time like the present to get started.
10. Create A professional Development Plan.
Developing your skills and talents can help you stand out in a crowded field and advance further in your career than if you don’t do this work. While many people know they should work on their skills, many others find it easier to make excuses about why they can’t or won’t do this work than actually getting started on it.
But no matter how much time you have or how much money you make, everyone can benefit from investing in their personal development plan – if done right.
Creating a professional development plan that supports your goals and needs is important if you want to develop as an employee. But it’s not going to be a walk in the park. You will need support from your peers, manager, and employer to succeed.
For a detailed guide on creating a professional development plan, follow these steps:
Step 1: Define your goals.
Having a professional development plan is essential to your career development. To have a successful plan, you need to define your goals and figure out what will help you achieve them.
It’s important to set achievable goals and create a timeline so you can work toward them.
For example, if you are looking to get promoted at work, one of your goals might be completing an online course on leadership. You’d want to complete this goal in the next six months or years, depending on how fast you want to be promoted.
Professional development plans also help us grow outside of our comfort zone. A coach may offer more insight if you’re seeking feedback but not getting it from your supervisor. If you don’t have time to complete coursework because of family commitments, webinars might be more accessible.
Working together with mentors helps you gain valuable insights into the field and learn from professionals who share their expertise with those eager to learn. Remember that nobody has all the answers when building your professional development plan. Make sure there are opportunities for different types of learning experiences available in order for you to reach your potential as a learner.
Step 2: Do your research.
A professional development plan is an important part of achieving your goals. It helps you identify the areas in which you need improvement and provides you with the resources needed to make it happen. The key is to create one that works for YOU, not just something that someone else has done.
It’s okay if it changes as time goes by, but having a general idea of what you want to achieve will help you be successful in your career.
- What information do I need?
- What are my current skills?
- What are my desired skills?
- What knowledge do I lack?
- How can I gain that knowledge?
- Do I have the time to complete this process?
- What are the risks associated with pursuing this goal?
- What other people or organizations can support me?
- Who is accountable for seeing these results through to completion?
- When do I hope to see progress from my efforts?
- How much time am I willing to devote per week or month towards these efforts?
- How much money am I willing to spend on these efforts (taking into account budget)?
- Which platform(s), tools, and technology should I use to meet these needs (considering cost)?
Use these questions to guide you in your research work.
Step 3: Make the draft.
If you want to make the most of your time and increase your chances of success, then a detailed plan is necessary. When making a plan, it’s important to understand what you need to do to succeed.
One way to create this plan is by understanding what you’re already doing well, which can help you figure out where you need improvement. Once you have a list of all of your strengths, weaknesses, and goals, it will be much easier to create a detailed plan.
Your next step would be to divide these into manageable categories or buckets so you can achieve them with greater efficiency. It’s also helpful to set deadlines, so each task has an ending date and timeline.
The best part about writing down your plans? Knowing what needs to get done, when it needs to get done, and how it needs to get done–all in one place!
Step 4: Set realistic milestones.
Setting realistic milestones for your career is an important part of professional development. Setting clear milestones will help you create the plan and stay on track, and it is also helpful for your boss or company as they can see what you are working towards.
It’s easier to have milestones when you know where you want to go with your career, which is why it’s important to figure out what you want before moving forward. Here are some milestones examples:
- Acquire new skills.
- Learn more about a specific topic.
- Find something new in the industry.
- Move into another position in the company.
These are just some examples of career milestones you could use. The possibilities are endless, but any milestones should be realistic and meet your needs at every stage of your career.
But at times, it can be difficult to set realistic milestones for yourself. Here are three questions you can ask yourself when determining what your milestones will be:
- What would success look like?
- What do I need in order to reach this milestone?
- Who has done this before, and what advice have they given me?
The first question is all about setting your expectations. What does success look like in terms of this goal? What are the benefits of achieving it? How long do you think it will take you to get there?
The second question is about identifying what skills or information you need to reach your next milestone. What does success look like on the path to this one? Think about things you already know how to do but might need more practice and things you don’t know how to do at all but want help with.
Finally, identify someone who’s been where you are now so they can provide some guidance and encouragement. Then use these answers to create a timeline or map out your coursework over the next few months.
Revisit this map periodically and make adjustments as needed. Remember that even if you’re working full-time, you still need to carve out time each week for professional development. If there’s no time during the week, try scheduling an hour or two on weekends or after work.
Step 5: Find a support network.
The next step to building a development plan is to find support. Whether it’s a mentor, teacher, friend or family member, you’ll need someone to help you develop your ideas and keep you accountable. It’s best if this person is someone with experience in your field of work so they can provide more feedback and better advice on how to grow.
If you’re unsure who would be the best match, try talking to your supervisors at work about possible mentors. Reach out to professionals related to yours, too. They might know people willing to act as a mentor.
Here are some ideas to consider to find a support network:
- Seek out groups: Look into professional associations and groups around your field. They may have programs designed specifically for mentorship. If there are no groups available, reach out and make one yourself! Forming an informal group of peers will allow you to learn from each other and offer insight into problems others are facing in their careers. Joining a formal association also has benefits like discounted access to events and industry resources.
- Stay open-minded: New opportunities can arise unexpectedly when we least expect them. But sometimes, we put ourselves in situations where it’s difficult to take advantage of them because we don’t want to change course from what we originally planned for ourselves. Always be open-minded when exploring new possibilities outside of your current comfort zone so that you’re ready when something interesting comes up (or if nothing does).
Step 6: Find good resources.
Finding the right resources is one of the most important parts of any professional development plan. There are plenty of articles on how to create a development plan, but not as many on what resources work best. In order to save you some time and effort, here are some resources worth checking out:
- Education institutions: This is where we spend hours every day trying to learn new things about our subject.
- Publishers: They may have created books and other materials that can help us improve our practice.
- Websites: Authority sites like those from different professional associations and government agencies, research centers, libraries, and colleges/universities make good resources.
- Professional associations: Membership in these groups can offer additional benefits such as discounts on conferences or access to members-only resources.
- Public libraries: These places provide free access to magazines, newspapers, academic journals, DVDs and Internet-based databases (such as Google Scholar).
- Webinars: Through webinars, it is possible to watch live presentations by experts.
- Blogs: This is where professionals post their thoughts, share experiences and get feedback from colleagues around the world.
- YouTube videos: These are an excellent way to learn techniques for using computers, software programs, and even musical instruments.
- iTunes U: With lectures on topics ranging from design principles to economics offered by leading universities, this site is another rich resource for educators.
- Virtual workshops: These places offer one-on-one instruction with a tutor over email or chat sessions.
Step 7: Hold yourself accountable.
A professional development plan is all about holding yourself accountable to specific goals and objectives, making it easy to track your progress. Plus, it can be adjusted as your needs change over the course of your career.
The key is figuring out how to keep yourself accountable. Start by listing three to five things you want to achieve this year, then create a timeline with achievable deadlines for when each goal should be completed by.
Make sure you’re realistic with your expectations. Don’t make the first goal write my dissertation if you haven’t started working on it yet! Also, include smaller tasks or steps in between bigger ones so that you’re accomplishing small successes along the way.
Consider assigning one task per day so that nothing slips through the cracks, though this may work best if each day has roughly equal hours in order to avoid cramming projects into short windows of time.
It also helps to set up weekly check-ins with colleagues or mentors who can provide feedback and accountability throughout the process.
You’ve spent years developing your skill set and earning the credibility you need to be taken seriously in your field. Now, it’s time to take it to the next level. No one else can give you the confidence boost or valuable advice you need to get there; that responsibility falls squarely on your shoulders.
To get started, check out this list of 10 ways you can level up your career. We’re certain at least one of these tips will spark an idea that will help you reach new heights in your industry!