You don’t stop learning new skills just because you leave school. Savvy professionals are always discovering new ways to stay competitive, like the fifty-something accountant who learns how to find and communicate with younger clients via mobile apps, or the former executive assistant who takes an interest in web design, then turns her passion into a career.
No matter what job you currently have, always be on the lookout for how your skillset compares with your colleagues and superiors. What do managers and executives know that you don’t? Find out, and emulate them! Take on additional projects that help build your skillset and constantly ask for feedback. If you’re not staying current with your peers, you can expect them to pass you on the way up the ladder.
Become a subject matter expert. Learn as much as you can about your field; read articles, blogs, books, and attend conferences to keep up with the most cutting-edge information. Then share what you’ve learned with your colleagues, and show how you can apply that knowledge to benefit the company. You soon find yourself labeled a “subject matter expert”!
Find a mentor. A mentor can have a huge impact on your career. Mentors are NOT your boss, but rather someone who has already achieved what you would like to be doing a few years down the road. Find someone at your company or in your industry whom you get along well with and wants to “pay it forward” to the next generation of professionals.
Join industry and professional organizations. Industry and professional organizations are a great way to keep your knowledge up to date and to meet other professionals with similar interests. You can also find potential mentors and even network with future employers, while also learning about new career options in your industry.
No matter where you are in your career, you should be happy and healthy. If your current job is making you miserable, that’s a good sign you need to go back to the drawing board and look for a new direction to take.