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Via Life Advancer : Boost Your Career Development with These 5 Self-Improvement Tips

If you seek to boost your career development, first of all, ask yourself the question: Can you distinguish the difference between a job and a career?

If your answer is yes, then you know that the latter requires constant development and dedication.

Those who see themselves as simply working a job are likely going to have no real passion for what they’re doing, and will simply endure it to make ends meet.

If you want to turn your job into a career and elevate your chances of success, you must pay attention to self-improvement.

The following are just a few ways to boost your career development through this:

1. Develop a Timeline and Plan to Achieve Goals

One of the largest mistakes that many make is that once they get into their job, they get too comfortable with their accomplishments and don’t plan their next step. If you are truly career-focused, you know that there is no top to the ladder you are climbing. Complacency does not facilitate growth. So, how can you keep yourself on the right track?

The first thing that you have to determine is the next step. Once you decide what it is you want to achieve next, it’s time to create a plan to meet that goal. A very large part of that plan is developing a timeline for each thing that you need to do to achieve the goals created.

When developing your timeline, you are going to need to make sure that you outline specific steps and put dates on them.

2. Volunteer Your Time

A key quality that a leader can possess is the dedication to the service of others. Not only does volunteering help your favorite cause, but it is also a chance to create some networking possibilities.

This is your opportunity to do something great for your community, whilst simultaneously learning new things about yourself that may not be prevalent in regular workday activities.

While volunteering is not about self-service, there are some definite benefits when it comes to self-improvement and career development. This is also a great way to meet people that you may not have the opportunity to meet otherwise. This tip is a very effective strategy to build your network.

3. Don’t Stop Being a Student

Depending on your career path, there may be several opportunities to expand your knowledge. There are also many skills that translate well across a variety of roles and businesses.

For example, if you are looking to make new connections and convince your peers that you’re worthy of your position, your communication skills need to be of the highest standard.

This includes writing, speaking and presenting and you’ll only get better with practice. If you think this is your area of weakness, get yourself enrolled in a public speaking course and overcome any issues or anxiety that you may be dealing with.

4. Expand Your Network

You’ve probably heard the cliché, “it’s not what you know, but who you know”. When it comes to crushing career goals, you want to make sure that you know the right people and the right people know you. Networking can be accomplished in several ways.

A huge and common mistake many people make is believing that networking in their own circles is sufficient. That couldn’t be further from the truth. You want to create a network of people that are both inside and outside of your company.

You also want to make sure that you include people that you are not competing within your network. That means rubbing shoulders with people that have nothing to gain by keeping potentially career-changing information away from you.

A great way to expand your network is to get a mentor. Your mentor can be anyone whose ethics you admire. They don’t necessarily have to be in the same business industry as you. This is also a way to get that additional knowledge in other areas of life. You can also expand your network by becoming a mentor.

5. Develop Trust Through Action

No one wants to simply hear what you can do; they want to see you in action. Therefore, it’s about time you stopped telling and start selling! When you are considering career development, talk is cheap. You want to develop a positive reputation for being a person that stands behind your word.

Your word is the most powerful thing that you have. You need to create a golden standard that will be synonymous with your name. People have the natural desire to surround themselves with trustworthy people.

It is also incredibly important to develop and maintain a trust for other people that are in and outside of your network. Having a mutual respect for those in your network is a must.

Overall, there are many different ways to ensure that you are successful and meet all of your career goals. It is important to understand that growing as a person is vital to your career development. This is just one of the reasons that many people feel stunted when it comes down to what they do for a living.

A goal without a plan is simply a dream. With the proper tools, you can turn all of your dreams into a reality.

You shouldn’t be afraid to take risks when it comes to your happiness and success.

Via Management Study Guide : Role of Personal Development in Career Growth

Who do you think is a valuable employee? An individual becomes a burden on his/her organization when he fails to perform additional tasks beyond his/her regular key responsibility areas. Multitalented employees definitely have an edge over those who restrict themselves only to a particular task and fail to contribute in other departments and areas. Organizations tend to retain those who show active interest in attending various training programs, seminars or relevant workshops in order to constantly upgrade their knowledge and acquire additional skills.

Gone are the days when employees could afford to just stick to what they have been doing for ages. In today’s scenario, individuals are expected to actively participate and contribute in other departments as well and also overall productivity of the organization. A front office executive is no longer expected to attend only phone calls throughout the day. He/she needs to constantly upgrade his/her skills and take active interest in other related departments as well such as administration, logistics, office transportation and so on. As a marketing employee if you call ten clients a day, brief them about your organization’s offerings and feel that your work is over, you are sadly mistaken. You need to find out and implement innovative marketing strategies and techniques to not only sell your organization’s products and services but also attract potential clients. Retaining customers is also one of the most challenging aspects of marketing. Trust me; you need to read a lot, and keep your eyes and ears open to reach to various unique marketing solutions. Constant up gradation of knowledge is the need of the hour.

Personal development plays a crucial role in one’s career growth. An individual who can contribute not only in his area of expertise but other domains as well are bound to get quick promotions and lucrative incentives and rewards. Trust me, personal development is imperative not only for career growth but also for mere survival in the organization. No organization would like to retain an individual who is resistant to changes and fails to perform in unpredictable and unforeseen situations.

Personal development helps you set goals and expectations for yourself. Any individual without a vision in life not only fails to deliver but also gets easily lost in the crowd. It is important to set expectations for yourself. There is a scope of improvement always. Never ever feel that you are the best and you know everything. Believe me, that there are many things under the sky which we still do not know and need to find.

Tom joined Organization A as a management trainee in the marketing department. Within two years he was promoted and was asked to lead a team of five sales representatives. Five years down the line, Tom was heading the entire marketing division of Organization A and had a major say in company’s policies and strategies. A management trainee was made the head of a particular department in just seven years. What do you think could be the reason? Being extremely nice to your Boss does not help always. It was Tom’s determination to constantly upgrade his knowledge, analyze and find out where all he needs to improve, acquire new skills which eventually helped him not only appear in the good books of the management but also climb the ladder of success within the shortest possible time frame.

Personal development makes you a confident and mature professional, two extremely important qualities for career growth. It helps you smile even in the worst circumstances. Upgrading oneself with time is extremely important as it not only prepares you for the present but also for the future.

Via Top Resume : How to Apply the Self-Improvement Movement to Your Career Success

Daily progress in your career development is more important than any big singular breakthrough. What you need to know.

The self-improvement genre is exploding these days. That’s good news for the masses, and it’s good news for everybody thinking about advancing or switching their careers.

Why? You don’t need to be a reader of Success magazine (or the website’s career section) to know the world of self-improvement has so much to teach us about career growth. From employment searches and interview skills to goal-setting and purposeful advancement, the on-the-job applications from this industry/movement are endless and there are lessons for everyone.

Goal-setting.

Let’s start with goals. The first thing every self-help guru will tell you is you need to know where you’re going. Then you need to write it down. So, determine your current goal(s) for career success. Is it to start working for Company X? Learn a role in a certain field? Study under a specific type of professional? Increase your responsibilities (along with the chances for a promotion)? Whatever the aim, write it down, then tell at least 5 other people about it. The very acts of documenting and sharing your career goal will help to solidify your resolve to achieve it.

If you want to go bigger with 3-, 5- and 10-year plans, you can try, although some experts think with today’s rates of change those distant timeframes should best be left vague so you can adapt goals when the world inevitably tilts another direction. The key is to think big and long-term, then write down the steps to getting there.

Job searching.

Job searching is a ‘numbers game.’ What do I mean? It’s all about volume. Just as a salesperson obsesses over keeping their pipeline full and working all the leads, you too need to be applying for multiple jobs and talking to even more people as you network and potentially shadow role models on the job.

Also like a salesperson, you can’t take rejection personally because you know that some people are just not the right buyer … or just aren’t ready to buy. Either way, you believe each rejection is getting you closer to the right job, and you appreciate the opportunity to practice your skills (e.g., skills used in the application process, interview presentation, job researching) along the way.

Ultimately, looking at the job search as a numbers game means you won’t dwell too long on any particular opening. It means you take your ego out of it when an employer rejects you because you know it’s their loss. It means you have several options going at once, always setting up the next interview, sending out the next application, or going to the next job fair. Keeping up with regular, job-search activity increases your odds and keeps yourself balanced if any one of them doesn’t work out.

Interviewing.

The old cliché ‘practice makes perfect’ is well, perfect, for emphasizing how to ace job interviews. You need to sell yourself, and the best sales presentation starts with diligent preparation. By working on your ‘sales pitch’ every day, you hone your interview skills the same way Jeff Olson of The Slight Edge would recommend: One step at a time, consistently. Over the long haul this consistency accumulates into a critical mass of momentum, what Olson calls ‘the edge.’

Even if you don’t have an interview on any given day, you can still strengthen your skills by role-playing with a friend or former colleague, practicing alone in front of a mirror, or writing down and memorizing your best answers to common questions (e.g., “Describe one of your weaknesses,” “Tell me how you responded to one of your biggest challenges,” “Tell me about yourself”). Continuous improvement is the name of the game here.

An often-forgotten part of interviewing is that it provides an opportunity for you the candidate to say no to an employer. So many of us fear rejection going into the process, thinking that the evaluation is only one-way; remember, it’s a two-way street! Rejecting the wrong company is as important as finding the right one, and there’s power in holding the ‘rejection’ card.

In fact, when you determine a company is not the right fit for you during the preliminary hiring stages, it’s your obligation to reject it. You owe it to yourself. On the first date that is a job interview, you have every right to walk away afterwards with no obligation if you don’t like what you see. This is also a skill: Identifying the right fit for your talents and conversely, avoiding the bad fits.

Purposeful advancement.

What self-help coaches invariably preach is the power of being well-read. Being well-read gives you a more grounded life (and keener intelligence), which also applies directly to your career. Whether cultivating a reading habit means keeping up with industry news/opinions, world events, or trade publications, or letting your imagination roam with novels or subjects you ordinarily wouldn’t encounter in your work life, the goal is to be reading frequently.

A steady diet of reading broadens your perspective, gives you a more sophisticated world view, and keeps your mind sharp by allowing you to get at the heart of what matters to your employer and the people you serve. It’s hard to think of a better selling point for somebody wanting to advance in their current organization or general professional role.

Having great ideas and being savvy in your ability to think outside the box often starts with being a voracious reader and self-educator. Plus, the better you educate yourself by feeding your mind useful information, the more you add value to every project you undertake, group you join or meeting you attend.

Take small steps, not massive leaps.

To borrow again from The Slight Edge (or Darren Hardy’s The Compound Effect, which carries a similar message), I’d argue making daily incremental progress in your career plans is way more important than any big singular breakthrough. Following this logic, you want to look to the future while gradually improving yourself every day … taking one step at a time to bring you closer to your current career goal, whatever it is.

I’ll leave you with this: An old saying tells us, The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

What’s your first step to career success?

Via Forbes : Time Management Techniques For Work-Life Integration

Despite all the talk and best efforts, work-life balance remains elusive for many professionals. The generic advice about how to structure our time fails to account for each individual’s income requirements, career goals and personal values. When you fall short of “having it all” — the successful career, the storybook family life, the active gym membership, the eight hours of sleep — the outcome is guilt, stress and shame. In a nutshell, these emotions only hinder growth.

No one can be in two places at once. Expending effort in one area of life causes guilt in another. Long hours at work, for example, can result in a cycle of negative self-talk: “I’m letting my family down by staying at the office so late.” Conversely, leaving work early to join a child’s field trip can cause thoughts like, “I have so much to do at work. I really shouldn’t be here.” These statements only add more guilt and shame, and the vicious cycle continues.

Fortunately, it is possible to have a successful career and live in accordance with your values. The key is to understand what works for you. You can also shift your approach, maybe embracing the term “work-life integration.” Just making that subtle pivot in language will help.

The Tool

Start this integration by identifying where you would really like to focus your energy.

You can use an energy chart, similar to the one below, to provide a fantastic visual representation of where you are now and where you want to be. The energy chart allocates how much energy you spend in each of your “essential roles.” Create your own chart by first calculating your total daily waking hours.

Next, over the course of a week, record how much time you spend on each intrinsically fulfilling activity daily, both as time and a percentage. For example, if you spend 10% of your time exercising, you would assign “10” as your energy allocation for that activity. You can also include activities that you’d like to incorporate into your life. If you would like to start meditating, for example, assign it “0” since you currently spend 0% of your energy on meditation.

Typically, clients will include eight to 10 activities, but there is no right number. For your chart key, create color-coded rectangles for each activity.

Now map out how you wish to spend your time. Being a visual creature, having a chart of what you value makes it far easier to stay accountable to your goals. Having your current and future life charts side-by-side will show you whether you are living in alignment with your core. This may just be the motivation you need to kickstart your journey.

Taking Action

With a mechanism in place, it’s now time to start acting toward your goals. Begin by figuring out how you might be able to get back more time for yourself. Some, for example, choose to wake up 30 minutes earlier to fit in something they love, whether meditating, walking the dog or journaling.

Next, look at how you are “wasting” your waking hours. How much time do you spend scrolling social media or browsing the internet? In front of the TV or shopping? You might be surprised at how quickly these numbers add up. Twenty minutes per day on social media is 2.3 hours per week. Ask yourself if this time would be better spent on any of the essential roles in your future energy chart.

Next, evaluate how you can strategically shift your schedule. Say, for example, you currently do laundry after your kids go to bed. Could you do laundry when they are doing homework instead and use the time after they’re in bed to treat yourself to an at-home yoga session or a nice bath? Of course, routines are powerful. Be determined to approach this from a flexible perspective.

Then identify the barriers preventing you from doing what you love. If you find yourself overloaded with work, for example, delegate more. If you find that housework falls entirely on you, talk to your family and provide specific ways they can help. Ultimately, if you spot an unfair “time-suck” in any aspect of your life, don’t be afraid to speak up about it.

Now ensure you are allocating your newfound time toward the activities you identified in your future energy chart. If you’ve made time to exercise, for example, set a goal, whether that’s running a 5K or going to the gym three times per week. Think about ways to help you stay accountable to that goal. Maybe find a gym buddy or track your progress in a notebook or in an app. Think creatively about how you can optimize every second of the time you find for yourself. After all, time is finite — it’s truly your most precious resource.

Lastly, treat your energy chart as a living document. Make a note to come back to it periodically to ensure you’re on track. As you make progress, your current energy chart will evolve, and the preferences on your future chart will likely change, too. Alas, all change requires some type of tool or method. In this case, a little rigor will create much happiness, lower stress and maybe even increase longevity. Go forth and see how worthwhile it really is.

Via Oxbridge Academy : LEARN HOW TO NAVIGATE THE WORKPLACE

Have you ever felt like you aren’t fitting in at a new job? Or that you’re struggling to adapt to your work environment? Don’t worry; even people who have been employed for a long time may battle to adjust to changes at work. Read on to learn how to become a pro at navigating the workplace.

WHAT WILL YOU NEED TO DEAL WITH IN THE WORKPLACE?

The workplace can present a number of challenges. If you’ve just started a job, then you’ll need to adapt to the workplace culture, your new responsibilities, and the people you’ll be working with on a daily basis.

Even when you’ve been in a position for several years, there are still various challenges that you’ll be faced with. You may be involved in an office conflict that becomes awkward and difficult to resolve. A team member may be dragging their feet in assisting you to complete a project. Or new policies may have been introduced that you’re struggling to adapt to. These are just a handful of examples – the workplace can be a complex place at times!

SKILLS YOU NEED TO NAVIGATE THE WORKPLACE

So how should you act, behave, and deal with challenges when you’re in the workplace? Start by working on some skills that will help you. These are the top skills to pay attention to:

COMMUNICATION

Communication is strongly linked to all of the skills listed here. Good communication is the key to preventing and solving the majority of problems in the workplace. For example, if you’re uncertain about something at work, but bottle it up, then it will continue to eat away at you. Speak to someone who will be able to answer your questions and provide some clarity – usually this will give you peace of mind. Obviously, it’s also important to communicate with your colleagues to build healthy relationships and mutual respect.

CONFLICT RESOLUTION

After an argument with a colleague, there’s nothing worse than allowing the negative atmosphere to linger between you and affect the rest of the office. It is important to resolve conflicts as quickly and amicably as possible. When you find yourself in a conflict situation, try to step back and see things from the other person’s point of view. By understanding where they are coming from, you are better able to control your own emotions. Communication is vital here – you need to be able to voice your own concerns and listen to the other person’s too. If you still can’t resolve the conflict, then try to agree to a joint meeting with your manager or someone else who can offer a possible solution.

ADAPTABILITY

Being adaptable will make settling into a new workplace a much easier process. With the pace of technological development, and increased levels of competition, the workplace also evolves at a faster pace than ever before. You need to be adaptable to successfully navigate your way through this ever-changing environment. If you adopt an adaptable mindset, then you will be able to adjust to any changes that take place within your company, such as a change of policy or a shifting of your job roles.

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY…

Do everything to the best of your ability!

Any successful person will tell you that hard work helped them to overcome obstacles and to get to where they wanted to be. Strive to be a hard-working employee, someone who people regard as dependable. Don’t just go through the motions at work. Show some initiative by seeking out extra work; decide to improve yourself by learning new skills; work on the soft skills we’ve listed above. When you’ve become used to working hard, then the challenge of navigating the workplace won’t seem so difficult after all!

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