So you’re looking for the next step in your career but you don’t know how to go about it?

When advancing your career it’s important to plot a clear career path and think of yourself as a brand. You need to understand the passion you’ll bring to the job for eight hours a day, every day and how you’ll be perceived by others.

Here are 5 tips to help you stand out of the crowd and advance your career:

1. Know your career mission and pursue it with

The key to advancing your career is to be clear on your
career mission and pursue it with determination. How many times will you be
successful if you’re doing something that you don’t really want to be doing? If
you need help mapping out your career mission, look to utilising a career
service. These organisations often have the experience and expertise to help
you find your way.

2. Take some career development risks

Be responsible for your own career advancement and don’t
waste valuable time waiting for someone else to notice that you’re doing
high-quality work. Become a sponge for knowledge – look to people in your life
that can become your mentor. This could be a manager, a work colleague, a
friend, a family member, the list goes on! If an opportunity arises for you
to further your education or perfect your skills, grab it with both hands
because the ability to continue learning is so valuable!

3. Put yourself first

Gone are the days where organisations guarantee lifetime
employment. The workforce goes through so many changes that you can’t rely on a
company to look out for you. It’s important then, that you put yourself first.
This is not at the detriment of others, but try to think of yourself as a
contractor with a portfolio instead of a long and loyal employee. Your focus
should be on producing excellent work, learning as much as possible from each
position and being ready to jump into a job should the desire or need

4. Network, network, network!

A well-developed professional network can be a source of
friendships, mentors and referrals that provide you with insights for
evaluating opportunities and problems. LinkedIn is a great tool to help you
cultivate relationships with colleagues who can help advance your career. While
job security comes and goes, a solid network of valuable contacts is helpful no
matter what. So the next time you’re at a networking event, move away from the
corner of the room and introduce yourself to someone. You never know, that
person could be your next boss!

5. Get feedback

To see yourself the way others do, it’s important to get
feedback. People love to give you their opinions so why not ask a boss or
colleague this… “I really want to
improve; could you tell me what I do well and what you think I don’t do well?”

While it can be hard to listen to something you don’t do well, take it in your
stride as constructive criticism because as soon as you are aware of something,
you have the power to change it.

It’s important to remember that investing in your career pays off – whether it be a bigger pay check or having a more satisfying job that better suits your personality. The definition of a successful career is different for everyone however, if you are willing to work hard, the results will follow.

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