Monday, March 1, 2021

When Was the Last Time You Invested in Your Career?

Just because you can't travel or meet with a lot of people right now does not mean it's OK to stop investing in your career.

In fact, it's more important than ever that you be proactive in making sure that you're growing your network, keeping your skills up-to-date and understand the trends in your industry and how they will affect you.

It's understandable that you may have grown a bit lax in some of these areas, but you need to change that starting now. With more vaccinations and more businesses ramping up their plans for the future, you can't afford to still be lounging in your pajamas with your laptop.

It's time to start investing in your future. Here's how:

1. Set a career goal. Most career goals went out the window when the pandemic started, but now it's time to reassess. Where do you want to be in one year? In three years? Are you on track to make that goal happen? What do you need to alter to make it a reality? Who do you need to contact? Will it require training or additional education? 

2. Reverse engineer. Once you've identified that goal, then start working backward on how you can make it happen. For example, let's say you want to be a registered nurse. You need to set a target date for when you'd like to graduate. Now, start working backward on how much schooling you will need. When will you need to be admitted for classes? When will you begin pulling together necessary records to meet that admittance deadline? When will you select the school you want to attend? When will you begin your research on schools? You will probably discover along the way that  you need to get moving now to make your dream a reality.

3. Check in with mentors. As the world begins to return to some sort of normalcy this year, you need to be ready to go. Talk to a mentor about where you are in your career, and new goals. Are past goals still realistic? Does your mentor think you need to turn in a new direction? 

4. Shift into a new gear. For many of us, just getting through the last year has been a great achievement. But now it's time to take it up a notch. Are you taking time to brainstorm creative ideas? Are you finding ways to challenge your thinking with new podcasts or books? Are you proposing new ideas to your boss or your team -- or to a job interviewer?

5. Attend industry events. Many professional organizations are doing a great job of moving their events online. This is the time to jump in -- attend seminars, go to training events and meet new people and reconnect with others. This will not only ensure that you're keeping up with industry trends, but that you're investing in your network and your career.

A lot of people have taken a career hit over the last year through no fault of their own. It's been a helpless feeling. But now that there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel, it's time to be proactive and set your own course for what lies ahead in your career.

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