How to Progress Your Career: A Guide
Careers are very rarely straightforward. Being so lucky and so driven to know what you want and to take very obvious, simple steps to get to be not a reality most people have. Fact is, most don’t know what they want to do. There is a very small overlap between doing what you are good at, what pays well, and what interests you. The job role that fits that perfect center is not often what you imagined for yourself when you are young. For example, some kids dream of being a firefighter or a UFC fighter, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re fit for the job. Instead, it is what you build for yourself as you continue on throughout your career.
Progressing your career isn’t a straight shot to the top. It’s about adapting and realizing where your interests and opportunities are. It’s about making those opportunities become a reality. This can mean progressing horizontally for years before you finally end up in the industry that interests you the most. It could mean going back to school to further the formal qualifications that will make you eligible for a new career path, such as undertaking a business analytics degree.
Though your exact journey will be very, very unique to you and you alone, this guide can help you stay positive and give you direction to build on your career throughout your life.
Learn: The Gift for Your Future
Learning is essential regardless of whether you know exactly what you want to do with your life, or you are just taking it day by day and building as you go. There are many different types of learning, yes. To start, you are going to want to keep things simple, and to then progress your efforts so that what you learn can help you progress your career in more ways than just knowledge.
First things first, try to get into the habit of reading. Though you will still gain benefits from reading fiction (grammar, vocabulary, and communication skills to be specific) if you want to help progress your career, you will want to subscribe to industry news, magazines, and even read academic journals. As academic journals can be expensive – especially scientific journals – it is a good idea to use your alumni access if you have one or get in touch with the authors for a copy. Most will be happy to help you, as they don’t see most of the money you would pay towards that academic journal themselves.
Even non-fiction books are useful, especially if you want to expand your general knowledge into a subject. Don’t restrict yourself to just information about your industry, either. Learning and satisfying that thirst for knowledge will do wonders towards your career and goals in more ways than you will ever fully appreciate.
2. Online Short Courses
Another way to expand your general knowledge is through short online courses. These can be in general subjects, or it can be to help certify you to use a new digital tool. Both are great and can help you with your career.
Again, you don’t need to keep things strictly within your job description. Learning SEO, google analytics, and other similar tools can help almost any job position. Just knowing and understanding the basics is useful, and can make you a better, more rounded employee that has the power to customize their career as they see fit.
You can prove your proficiency with these short courses with a certification, and as they are very budget-friendly, you can continue to learn in this way throughout your life and progress day after day.
3. Workshops and Events
Workshops and events teach you a lot, but more importantly, they are excellent opportunities to network. This can be done even in digital settings, though it won’t feel as organic as talking to people at the meet and greet after the workshop or event.
The double-benefit of attending these workshops makes them very worthwhile for those in any industry and can-do wonders for your career prospects if you put yourself out there.
4. A Masters’ Degree
Online degrees, however, will always be the ultimate source of information. Not only can you customize or change the direction of your career into a field that is of more interest to you, but you will also gain career insight, be able to network, and have a very prestigious formal qualification to your name that you can use to secure new job positions in the future.
The only issue is that by waiting, you put yourself in a tough position. You don’t want to take time off from your career to complete a Masters’ degree, but at the same time, your Masters’ degree will enable you to progress to new heights in your career.
The solution? Find the right online degree. A great one will teach you all that you need to learn on an online, part-time basis. Choosing the right degree will make a world of difference, so use these tips to help you pick the perfect option.
1. Choose the Right Degree
First things first, the degree. It can be very hard to choose which specialty works for you. For example, you may know you want to earn a business degree. MBA degrees are highly regarded and can help prepare you to take an executive-level position or start your own business. There are also dozens of sub-types.
You can make a splash with your career by specializing with a business degree. Instead of a standard MBA, for example, you can make yourself invaluable to your employer or your own future business by completing a business analytics degree.
In a business analytics degree, you don’t learn management; you learn data management. In a world, as interconnected as ours is, that business analytics degree is by far one of the most valuable options on the market today. You will be able to build a baseline knowledge of statistics, programming, and data in relation to your business. You will be able to collect large batches of data and use that data for the betterment of your company as a whole.
There are so many problems that can only be solved with the expertise you learn in a business analytics degree – and employers take note of this. Those with a business analytics degree and working in financial analysis, for example, earn over $110,000 per year, and big data is the #1 priority of tech companies and big businesses around the world.
In short, if you already deal in research and analytics, that business analytics degree can make your career take off.
This, of course, is just an example. Anyone with a BA or BSc can earn a business analytics degree, but it might not be right for you. Finding the right degree that will teach you more than what you already know is essential. You can learn so much on your job, so don’t make the mistake of paying for someone to teach you what you already know. Expand beyond your skillset and knowledge to specialize in a highly relevant skill that will help you further your own individual goals.
2. 100% Online
It isn’t just a matter of choosing the right degree. That business analytics degree would be just as useless to you if you couldn’t continue working and pushing your career forward from multiple angles. That is why you need to make sure that the degree hasn’t just been transitioned to be taken online but designed for online. This means that you can log on anywhere, and at any time, allowing you to work as fast or as slowly as you need to through your degree while still staying on target.
There are a lot of new, and smaller institutions that are doing incredible things with their online degrees – and there are also a lot of fake institutions. Thankfully making sure that the degree you are looking at enrolling in offers a high standard of learning is easy. You need to check for accreditation. For that business analytics degree, for example, an international accreditation through AACSB is a great accreditation to have.
4. Student Support
Student support is the cherry on top. Career counseling services, online library services, and alumni benefits are all great to have and will mean that your degree continues to benefit you long throughout your career.
Progressing Your Career
Regardless of where your career takes you, those tips on how to learn and progress your skills on a day-to-day basis, all the way up to choosing the right Masters’ degree will serve you well. Having a rounded knowledge and a specific skillset will help you appeal to the widest number of employers as well and work to open more doors.
Progressing Your Career: The Corporate Ladder
Further tips to help you take what you know, as well as your drive to succeed, and to bring forward progress, include:
1.Volunteer for Opportunities
Volunteer for opportunities. Work for a different team, for a different department, to work on a new project, and so on. These are learning opportunities. You will learn more about the company as a whole (a must for managers) as well as show your interest and ambition to your supervisors.
2. Make Suggestions and be Vocal
Don’t be afraid to make suggestions. You don‘t want to work in a company that does not value opinion or imitative, so if they shut you down, that is just indicative that you are not in the right company culture. A good employer – one who will help you realize your dreams – will be thrilled with your imitative and work with your ambition.
3. Ask for Raises and Promotions
If you don’t ask or push for a raise or promotion, then chances are you aren’t going to get them. This applies to raises particularly but do be aware there are many employers are happy to give you the new responsibilities without a promotion or pay raise. You need to know what you are worth and to demand what you are owed.
4. Be Prepared to Enter the Job Market
You may work for an employer who can’t give you anymore. They may not be interested. In either case, it is important to accept when you have reached the roof at that certain company, and when it is a good idea to start looking for your “promotion” at a new company.
Not only is this the best time to advance your career, but you also have more power to negotiate the salary that you believe compensates you for your work and expertise.
Progressing Your Career: The Influencer
You should never solely rely only on your employer to dictate whether you move forward with your career or not. You need to have a firm hand on your own future, and a great way to do that is by working to become an influencer or influential figure in your industry:
- Start a website and blog
- Guest post on industry magazines and news
- Talk to other authors and speakers
- Attend meet and greets
- Apply to talking panels
- Build a social media following
Your efforts here don’t even necessarily have to bring you a massive following. Being frequently published online will do wonders to help you get hired. If you do manage to become something of an influential figure, however, then you have many great networking opportunities and the chance to launch a new business of your own.
Progressing Your Career: The Business Owner
Finally, if you are interested in starting your own business, remember to plan and prepare. You have time to work out the kinks and details before you break away from your day job. First, understand the market. Try to figure out how you can stand out as a business, and where you fit into the current market.
Your unique selling point could be as simple as your expertise, or it could be a truly unique or disruptive new idea that will completely change the framework of your industry. Work on the idea, create a great business plan and leverage your current connections so that you can launch with a bang.