The Career Fast Track: 8 Ways to Drive Your Career Forward

career fast trackGetting stuck in a rut or falling asleep at the wheel are hazards drivers face, but they are also a danger to your career. If you’re spinning your wheels on the career fast track, you’re not going anywhere.

What rut is your career stuck in? Do you feel stuck in a job you despise? Or have you become complacent or unaware of current trends impacting your company or job?

Driving your career forward means you need to set your personal GPS on goals most important to you.

When you’re ready to begin taking steps to achieve those goals, here are eight ways to keep moving along the career fast track.

Reassess Values and Priorities

Reassess what’s important to you now and create a list. Aligning your priorities and values helps you find work that is meaningful and keeps you on the career fast track. If a flexible work schedule is most important at this point in your career, then don’t compromise.

You can ask your boss what options are available for you- flexible, virtual or remote work might be an option. If not, you may have to look for a new job that offers a more flexible schedule. But a small warning. Not all job postings clearly identify a flexible, remote or virtual work arrangement. Apply anyway if the job looks good. You might be able to negotiate after you’ve been extended a job offer.

When you know what is most important to you, it helps prevent you from worrying about the trivial things at work you can’t control.

Update Skills and Knowledge

LinkedIn released their Top Skills of 2016 list, which includes skills employers are likely to need most based on the analysis of LinkedIn job postings and user profiles. Almost every skill involves technology. This is a good time for you to do some research and see if you have gaps in your technology knowledge based on job postings.

Moving forward, find time to read current industry news and set job alerts so you can keep up with what employers are looking for. If you need to fill a skills gap, look for online training or ask people with those skills how they acquired them, and make sure you update your list of skills on LinkedIn.

Try Something New

Whatever routine you find comfortable, switch it up and do it differently. Take a new route home, try out a new app or use the phone instead of email. Doing something new may seem difficult, but the initial struggle will keep you on your toes and help you stay agile and resilient.

Keep Your Network Alive

Networking is the best way to find out about a new job before it actually gets announced and posted. Referrals are the tops source companies use to fill jobs. Networking your way onto the career fast track has to be on your to-do list.

In order for you to secure your next role, either internally or externally, you will need an ally to help your application rise to the top. If you are planning an internal move, be sure you are visible at company events and among the managers of the group you want to join. Externally, network strategically with people who work inside companies you want to work for and attend industry networking events for greater visibility.

Build networking time into your schedule. Your network is too important to ignore and you’ll need it when it is time to make a move.

Know When to Say “No”

If you are like many people, you probably have a tendency to over-commit. Start saying no and see what happens. Maybe other people will step forward. Maybe your manager will find someone else to do the work.

Saying no can be liberating and empowering, and it isn’t as hard as you may think. Maybe you will actually feel less stressed and enjoy your work life more! And with your newfound time, you can work on projects that really interest you.

Unplug

When was the last time you took a vacation? If it’s been awhile, you may need a mental holiday. Unplugging from work while you’re out of the office will make it more relaxing. This requires planning well in advance. Start by talking with your manager and set the expectation that you will not be available to check email or respond to calls during your vacation. In most cases, this is possible as long as you have someone you can delegate your work to.

Next, make sure everyone knows who will be handling your work while you are out of the office. Finally, in case of a true emergency, make sure you provide contact information to your manager.

Get Physical

Why wait until January to start your new exercise regime? Begin today. Walking, running or even yoga gets the blood moving and can make you feel better almost immediately. Whether you make changes to the food you eat or the amount of exercise you get, starting sooner rather than later will make you feel better.

Stick With It

In order for new behaviors to stick and become habit, you must keep working at them for 30 days. That’s how long it’s supposed to take for a new habit to become routine.

Are you planning a job change in 2017? What are your concerns? Most important, what is holding you back from the career fast track? 

 

For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Career Sherpa.

 

career sherpa

 

Hannah Morgan hiring prosAbout the Author: Hannah Morgan is a career sherpa, guiding new job seekers through the treacherous terrain of job search. If you are looking for no-nonsense advice, check out her site Career Sherpa. And follow Hannah on Twitter for the latest job search news and trends!

 

 

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