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Looking for the next step in your career? Here are five ways to find it.

Updated: Sep 28, 2021

How did you get here?

One study found that, when measured by wealth, the most successful people are those with moderate talent and remarkable luck. But ask five different people and you’ll get five different answers. It was hard work that got them where they are today. It was a well-timed email. Or it was just plain luck. There are plenty of influences on our careers – and plenty of factors in a successful one.

So, how do you go from where you are now to where you want to be next? Although some careers have clear paths of progression, it’s most likely that it’s up to you to progress yourself to the next level. It may be worth talking about your career progression with your line manager or another leader in the business, especially if you’re not sure what’s open to you in your current job – talk through training that’s available and what the people who came before you did next.

Of course, if you already have an idea of where you want to go, your steps along the way may have to be a bit more self-motivated. In this blog post, we’ve suggested some ways you might be able to get yourself closer to finding – and taking – that next step.

Get a mentor

If you know someone in a similar role to the one you’d like, consider asking them to mentor you. A mentor can show you the skills you need to develop for the next step of your career – but might also be able to provide support while you improve some of your existing skills.

Beyond that, they might be able to introduce you to new opportunities and expose you to some of the day-to-day. You might even expand your network along the way – which means you may well have plenty of support when it’s time to make the case for your next move.

Go one step further by seeking out a life coach – after all, personal and professional success go hand in hand. You could say a life coach is a kind of wellness professional who will do for your personal life what a mentor is doing for your professional one – supporting you as you look for the next steps. These professionals will help you by analysing obstacles holding you back and creating strategies for overcoming those obstacles. They will focus on your uniqueness and show you how to make the most out of your strengths in order to bring about lasting change.

With professional and personal mentors, you’ll be well-supported on your journey.

Gather feedback

If you find performance reviews unhelpful and dull, you’re not alone. But the idea behind them isn’t without its value. Sometimes, moving forward means reflecting on where you’ve come from. You can use this information as an insight into your range of skills and what specifically needs adjustment or improvement. As we all know, feedback is the best way to learn about what works and what doesn’t work – it’s also reassuring to know that other people want to see us succeed, even if it means some tough love every now and then.

Peer reviews are a great way to gather feedback on your performance in your current role, not least because you’ll get a broad range of opinions. Of course, they tend to be most effective when properly constructed and your peer doesn’t just criticise. You could run your own peer reviews but it’s important that they are clear, constructive and consistent to set you up for improvement.

Make a career progression plan

Also known as a career development plan, a career progression plan helps you identify some goals, find what you want and how to go about achieving them. From there, you can start to take the steps to make it happen. Ask yourself what scares you about your career and what excites you. What gives you a sense of purpose and fulfilment? Writing it down helps make it clear. Just be sure to set “SMART” goals. These are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.

If you find this difficult at first, then talk through it with someone you trust or discuss it with your mentor to determine exactly what you desire. There are also a variety of career progression plan templates available online to get you started and get your thoughts flowing.

Know your sector

You don’t know what you don’t know. The perfect opportunity might not even be on your radar, which is why it’s a great idea to stay on top of industry news and insights. Keep up to date with news media in your industry, make use of journals provided by other businesses within your space, listen to podcasts, webinars and attend conferences to make sure your next step is the right one.

This is also useful for establishing credibility in your industry – if you can become the go-to person when others are seeking knowledge or assistance, you’re already putting yourself ahead.

Grow your network

A professional network is key to career growth and development – you never know where (or who) your next step will come from. Having a deep network allows a greater understanding of what exactly is going on both within and outside of your organisation, it can help you to gain new clients and even help you to land that dream job through recommendations and referrals.

Hopefully by now we are all familiar with LinkedIn, which is an incredibly powerful professional networking tool – but that’s only the start of it. If you’re looking for the next step in your organisation, internal networking makes you more recognisable. Should a new role come up, a strong network will make you a good candidate for the promotion. If you’re looking to move outside your organisation, networking with recruiters puts a face to your name and will keep you front of mind when the right opportunity comes along.

Having professional contacts in the right places can give rise to opportunities you wouldn’t have heard about if you weren’t looking to continually expand your network and grow your career. And it’s something we can help with here at Industrious Code. If you’re looking to build your network and find your next career move, we can help. Just get in touch to learn more.

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