We all want to excel in our careers, but often aren’t sure where to start. The following tips serve as recommendations to get started. As you begin to reap the benefits of your efforts, continue to grow your profession by expanding your Professional Career “To Do” List:
- Ask for a Project. If you find that you have extra time on your hands, rather than helping your coworker with mundane tasks such as filing or running an errand for more coffee to refill the office kitchen supply, ask your boss if she has a burning project she hasn’t been able to get to yet. Offer to jump start it by collecting data, researching experts and statistics pertinent to the project, providing suggestions on designated roles, and creating a checklist of things that should be covered for successful completion. By volunteering to take on added responsibility, you are showing initiative and ingenuity.
- Write an Article. Choose a subject you are knowledgeable on and become a resource for others to learn from your expertise. Submit the article to your local business journal, newspaper or a career blog that you regularly follow. Don’t be discouraged if the first response is, “No, thank you”. Instead, use it as an opportunity to hone your writing skills until you become proficient and are welcomed as a guest voice. You will find the more you write, the easier the ideas will flow and soon you will have others offering you suggestions for topics based on their own professional circumstances. It’s a great way to solidify your capability in your industry.
- Update Your Social Media Profiles. If you’ve been busy building a client base and establishing yourself as a credible executive, you may have let a few important details slide. Take a close look at your LinkedIn bio, your business Facebook account, and all of your profile pictures to make sure they reflect a current summary of your experience and professional image. If you have cut your hair, changed the style or gained or lost a great deal of weight, it should be clearly visible when people visit your accounts. You want to ensure you aren’t promoting an outdated representation of yourself to your clients.
- Learn a New Skill. Taking a class on a new topic will open different doors of opportunity at work, and boost your chances for positive corporate exposure and the possibility of a future promotion. Even if your company budget won’t cover the class, think seriously about personally absorbing the cost as an investment in your future. Look online for local sessions that may be free or are obtainable at a discount if you belong to a professional association.
- Make an effort to eliminate bad habits. It can be as simple as arriving to work 5 minutes early (instead of 5 minutes late), steering clear from office gossip, or staying late to finish a project rather than putting it off another day. Small changes can go a long way in making you feel empowered, positive and focused as an employee, coworker and individual. It feels good to substitute a bad habit for a good one and in the long run, everyone benefits.
For more tips on boosting your career, read Diane’s Huffington Post blog, 7 Tips for a Productive First Week on the Job.