How to Invest in Your Career?
The world of work is now much more fluid than it was. Gone are the days of jobs for life where you did your time and left with a secure pension to see out your days.
You now need to take responsibility for your job security and career management, make sure you discover and utilize your innermost resources and take a self directing approach.
Career management requires quality networking, being in the right place at the right time, earning a voice at the table, knowing your unique value proposition and how to use it.
Managing your personal brand, being influential. But in the end, all of these factors require one important thing: a personal commitment to manage and invest in your career the right way.
Making an investment in your career
When you invest in your career and personal development, you must do it with the end game in mind. For example, what performance improvements and career advancement outcomes do you expect, and when will you be able to see favorable financial results and lifestyle changes as a result of your investment?
I have seen too many people waste time and money on making career investments that don’t align with their passionate pursuits and ultimate career ambitions. They can’t see the opportunities around them that they can effectively seize for their own advancement and personal satisfaction.
For example, I have seen many invest in learning about the real estate market because their friends made a lot of money in it. However, after spending thousands of euro and hundreds of hours, nothing tangible resulted from their investment. This is a common occurrence with people who are so influenced by what others believe they should do in their careers that they become disconnected from themselves.
To invest properly in your career, you must know yourself extremely well. Knowing yourself requires you to understand the factors that positively inspire you to achieve something substantive and relevant – with passion – every day. For some people this takes a long time to discover. For others, they know themselves well enough to make good career investment decisions. What do you believe are the most important areas for your career investment? What areas have you already invested in and what were the outcomes? What areas are you currently focusing on now?
You must know yourself and your career ambitions well enough to recognize the necessary career investments you must make and determine your wisest career investment path.
Here are the most effective ways to invest in your career:
1. Invest in Your Strengths: Use them more frequently
Become increasingly aware of your natural strengths that allow your skill sets and capabilities to thrive and make the commitment to invest in them. For example, if you are a good negotiator, never assume that your technique doesn’t require fine tuning. Take a negotiations class, enhance your abilities and then put them to work more frequently.
The ultimate prize is to find happiness in your career and in your work by fueling your strengths and passion.
2. Invest in competencies and Know-How: Apply it more actively
Never stop learning. This begins by investing your time to acquire the right competencies and know-how that will accelerate your career advancement. For example, most people want to build their personal brand – yet don’t invest in the process of developing one and thus miss opportunities along the way.
Never assume that you don’t need to get smarter, wiser and more strategic about how to better manage your career. Be proactive. Get to know the goals the industry you are serving desires to achieve and how you can contribute. Build relationships with key thought leaders. Identify the best executive search firms that can support the career path you seek – and get to know what your direct competitors are doing to secure the position(s) you may be targeting.
3. Invest in Setting and Communicating clear goals
The key to getting what you want to know what you want. You must know what you want out of your career and you should be clear about these goals with your manager and your mentor. These goals are also great ways to measure your progress through the year and years in your regular performance reviews.
How can you reach your objectives if they are not clear to you and clear to those who can support you to reach them.
Today communicating with others your expectations sounds very easy because of the social media tools. Nevertheless your communication should reach people who might be of interest for you. You have to be creative and focus on the appropriate target.
4. Invest in the Right Relationships: Give them time and attention
Build a personal advisory board who can properly guide your career goals. Identify your circle of influence. Who are they today? Are they guiding you rightly? Are you truly investing in these relationships in ways that are continually helping you move your career in the direction you want it to go?
Invest in how to network the right way. Your networking should be viewed as a professional development boot camp and how to connect with the right people. Nurture the relationships that matter most. Give them proper time and attention and keep the most meaningful relationships active at all times.
5. Invest in a Career Coach: sustain your momentum
Staying focused can be difficult with so many different responsibilities to manage. This is why most people lose momentum when attempting to advance their careers. Most people start and stop the career management process – finding it difficult to manage their time.
Make career management a new best practice; a process that becomes an embedded part of your daily activities, goals and objectives. If possible, invest in a career coach to increase your commitment levels and hold yourself accountable. Today’s competitive landscape requires you to stay on track by investing in someone that can provide you with the tools and perspective to keep you focused.
6. Invest in Your Family and Personal Life: Create balance and strengthen your career
Balance is the key to success – in both business and in life. Contribute to the success of your career by investing in work/life balance and dedicating more time and attention to your personal and family life.
My family and personal friends are an essential component to my career success.
They help clear my mind and enrich my points of view.
Engaging in activities separate from your career allows you to broaden your observations through a different lens and appreciate new types of ideas and ideals that can help shape your thinking and contribute to your professional growth.
Invest the right way and more effectively manage your career. Think of your investment as a personal enrichment process: an investment that is always working for you because it focuses on making you a better person both in and outside of the workplace.