The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the typical American worker spends nearly nine hours per day on the job. That equals 9,000 hours per year or approximately ⅓ of your life. It makes sense to select a profession that you enjoy.
However, many Americans do not enjoy their careers for several reasons. The necessities of life can lead you down a job path that does not fulfill you. If you are not working in your dream job today, don’t give up hope. There are some simple steps to follow that can help you enhance your career prospects.
Here are eight of them:
Ask for a Job Evaluation
Asking for your boss to evaluate your performance is a bold act. But asking the boss to gauge your performance can provide great insights into improving your career prospects. True, some of the evaluation could sting, but you will understand how your supervisor views your strengths and weaknesses. You also should be able to build an action plan to enhance your performance in the future.
Many people say they work better under pressure. But let’s be truthful for a moment: This is an excuse for procrastination, which can damage your job performance and career choices. Whether you delay writing important reports or completing some minor administrative tasks, you only are holding yourself back. Co-workers and your boss eventually notice if things are slipping past the due date.
Fix this by writing a daily task list and number them by importance. Now you know what you need to do right away and what you can leave until tomorrow. Then you should check the tasks off as you complete them. Lastly, write at the top of the list when every task must be completed not to delay.
Take a Class
You have a job, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take classes to better yourself. These days, it is easy to take online courses for everything from learning Excel to earning CEUs to learning a new programming language. Consider taking a MOOC (massive open online course), which can expand your knowledge and boost your marketability. You may not get a new degree, but you will improve your resume by having new job skills.
Taking online courses that you don’t have to take also shows initiative to higher-ups. If you work for yourself, you can provide more value to clients and increase your earnings by taking a class every quarter.
Create a Five-Year Plan
Making a five-year career plan can help you see on paper the steps you need to realize your goals. For example, if you want to become a senior manager, write down the path you need to follow to achieve that goal. You may need to talk to your supervisor, ask for management-level responsibilities when possible, taking an accounting class, or just asking for more work.
If you want to leave your job and start your own company, a five-year plan could involve saving startup cash, getting business financing, or locating the right business partner.
If your supervisor wants volunteers for a project outside your skills, don’t be afraid to speak up. You might have a massive opportunity on your hands. Taking on a leadership role in a project outside your scope may allow you to learn new skills. It also shows the boss that you can handle new responsibilities and thrive.
If you do well in the new project, you could get a promotion or at least a commendation from your supervisor. You might even discover that you found a role that you like more than your current one.
Learn About Your Industry
It always pays dividends to stay up-to-date in your industry. Magazines, news sites, blogs, and trade publications can enhance your field knowledge and improve your career trajectory.
Discussing recent findings or trends at work can show people who matter that you are not just there in a job, but that you are knowledgeable about the industry. It also can increase your authority on crucial industry issues, making you a source of information in your department.
Improve Communication Skills
Coming across as passive and meek does not usually give the impression of a confident professional. Learn to be a strong communicator. But how?
For example, review your email correspondence. Do they sound passive? If so, you may want to make them more confident, direct, and straightforward. If you want to improve your verbal communication skills, talk to your coworkers about how you come across when you speak. It can be hard to hear criticism, but you can learn a lot to grow your career.
Change Your Workspace
Making your workspace more clean and organized can help you do your job better. When you’re angling for a promotion and doing a job search, a cluttered desk can make you feel disorganized. Here is what to do:
- Take two hours to go through your desk and everything in and on it.
- Scan documents that are lying about and organize them in folders on your PC. Get rid of hard copies you don’t need.
- Have a reliable filing system for any hard copies you keep.
- Organize your daily workflow based on new projects, works in progress, and completed projects.
- Clean your email box.
Spending two hours on this simple task can boost your productivity as you become more organized. You will have fewer distractions and will more easily find and track essential work items.
The Bottom Line
By taking your career prospects into your own hands and working on your employability and marketability, you will reach your career goals faster. Rethink how you present yourself and apply your skills to new challenges and projects. Don’t look now, but soon you will earn that promotion, get a better job, and take your career to a higher level.