The world is changing rapidly around us and so is the world of work. Employees are continuously challenged to stay relevant and current in their field. This becomes even more critical if you are seeking to make a career change. Maintaining status quo is not a marketable job skill.
Have you been so busy doing your job that you have neglected opportunities to learn new things, to stay current in your field, to build and maintain your network critical, while continuing to learn and grow? Most of us are not guaranteed jobs for life so it is critical to stay relevant in your position and your industry. With a little practice and discipline it is entirely possible.
Even while you are successfully employed, networking it critical to your professional development and learning. Maintain the network you have and continue to build your professional network. Successful networking does not require large blocks of time, a few strategic minutes here and there makes a difference.
- Network within the company – learn what other departments do and how that influences your work, learn what skills enable people to advance in their careers, be interested and interesting, meet someone for coffee or schedule a lunch. Set goals to keep yourself focused on networking
- Leverage Linked In – keep your profile up to date, seek recommendations, post updates, review your skills list, use Linked In to find former managers to stay in touch for future references, find former colleagues and reconnect, identify alumni connections in key companies of interest, keep expanding your network
- Networking beyond your current employer – participate in relevant professional association meetings and conferences, learn best practices from others, build your network in companies of interest, identify people you can learn from
- Mentor – identify a professional mentor, gain insight from someone who will tell you the truth and help you learn and grow in your career. Consider mentoring someone junior in your field.
- Give Back – host informational interviews with people more junior in their careers who wish to learn from your experience, you may learn something too while you are helping them
- Set goals and hold yourself accountable so networking doesn’t fall to the bottom of your growing to do list
You need to be continuously learning to grow professionally. Be creative in identifying different ways to accomplish that.
- Internal Training – identify relevant internal training sessions, build your technical skills, managerial skills, learn something new, work with your manager to identify relevant training and make it a priority
- Professional Organizations – identify at least one relevant professional organization, attend meetings, meet other members, volunteer to work on a committee, get involved, your learn something from those you work with in these groups
- Professional Conferences – if budget allows, take advantage of these opportunities, learn from the sessions but also from other attendees, if budget doesn’t allow, review the presentations online after the conference, follow up with relevant presenters