To most of us, career growth and success are life goals that are right in line with marriage, a mortgage, kids, and two bright and shiny new cars in the driveway. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. In many cases, well-educated people are stuck in jobs that they're overqualified for and they're blocked for promotions by senior team members.
When it comes to career success, if you're not growing, you're dying. Here are five things that you can do to improve your career growth prospects and be happier and successful at work.
Learn New Skills
If you're passed over again and again for promotions, it might be time to start learning new skills in order to make yourself more valuable to the company. Going back to school or getting professional certifications can go a long way to help you advance with your current company or look more attractive to another company should you decide to leave.
Stop Schmoozing Co-Workers
It's great to have friends at work but your job isn't a country club aimed at enhancing your social status. Being friendly and courteous is important in the office, but being friends with everyone is not. This is not to say that you shouldn't attend social events or engage in some water cooler talk from time to time, but remember that your peers may one day be your subordinates.
This often leads to workplace hostility. Sometimes, it's hard to remember that you have friends outside of work and that remaining friendly, but not too friendly, is the best course of action.
Set Personal Goals
When it comes time for a promotion or a raise, you're ultimately going to be judged on what you do to provide additional value to the company.
Corporate goals are great, but setting personal goals to push the envelope a bit further is great for overall career growth and gives you great talking points when you're met with a review for a raise or promotion.
Build A Network
Networking is no longer an option, it's the norm. Attending these events puts you in contact with people that not only could provide opportunities later, but could also help you at your current job. Need a new HR person? You probably know someone. The IT department is looking for a new lead—great, you can call the guy you met at happy hour.
These contacts allow you to not only be on the lookout for future opportunities, but to also be the person in your current position who has the contacts they need to get things done.
Be The Solution
If there's one thing that bosses hate, it's the person that brings problems to them to solve. Problems happen, and sometimes you don't have any other choice but to bring it to your boss, but you'll be looked at in a far more favorable light if you bring solutions when you present the problems. "This is a potential problem, but I've done some research and it appears that this would fix it"—sounds a lot better to your management team than just being the guy who is constantly complaining.
If these tips don't help and you can't seem to get ahead no matter what you try, it might be time to look for new opportunities. There's no shame in trying something and then moving on to something else when it doesn't work. No matter what position you're in, there are always ways to keep moving up the corporate latter, you just can't give up and must always remember to move forward.
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