How many of us have stayed in a job or waited for a promotion far longer than we should have, simply because we “didn’t have time” to do anything about it? I know I have, and it’s far from uncommon. To say that modern lifestyles are demanding is an understatement.
So, how do we develop our careers with the little time we have? Career management doesn’t have to tack hours onto your day. Here are some quick ways to start building career momentum in just minutes.
- Collect data
This is by far the most important thing you can do to get to the next step in your career, yet so many people don’t do it! Then, when it’s time to write a resume or go for a promotion, they wish they had.
What do I mean by collecting data on your career? It’s super easy. First, set up a folder in your PERSONAL email (personal in case you change employers unexpectedly) called “Atta-girl” or “Atta-boy.” Then, whenever you get a compliment or have a success at work, you can forward the email to your personal account and store it in this file for easy retrieval. When you need accomplishments to write about in your resume, there they will be.
You can use this file to store metrics related to your work. Quantifying your accomplishments is a MUST and many people don’t remember them. Whenever you get numerical evidence for an accomplishment, send yourself the data in an email and store it in your special file. You’ll never have to worry about forgetting again!
- Create your personal brand
Watch for words that people use when they describe you. This will help you to know what others appreciate in your work. You can use those words to develop a personal brand to help you promote your value.
The flipside of this is constructive criticism. You can use that, too. Maybe you’ve been told to delegate more in order to avoid being stretched too thin. Maybe you thought you were pretty good at writing but then got feedback to the contrary. Hearing these things can be hard, but then you can decide if you want to try and improve on them, or focus on what you are good at already.
- Online presence
You need to know what people see when they Google you. Is there information out there that supports the brand you’d like to portray? Or, is there something that could hurt you in a job search? Do you even exist on Google?
If you don’t like what you see, start by beefing up your social media accounts. This can produce results quickly for your online presence. Then, you can look into whether you’d like to blog, podcast, or showcase your expertise to the world in some other way. For more tips on boosting your online identity, read my recent blog post here .
Even if it’s just five minutes, build your professional network every day. Connect with others on social media, comment on what they do, ask them for their opinion. Every so often, make extra time for in-person meetings. People who know you are more likely to help you in your career.
Exposing yourself to new ideas will help you connect with those that are in a position to help you get ahead. If you want a position in management, read about effective techniques. Then, when you go for an interview, you’ll be able to have an insightful conversation.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but I have to ask. Do you sacrifice sleep? You might be hurting your career. You’ll be sharper on the job, have higher productivity, and be more pleasant to deal with each day. Might just be the easiest way to get ahead!
- Professional development
Earning extra certifications, attending workshops, and belonging to associations can work wonders for managing your career. Many of these things require a minimal time commitment for a monthly meeting or online coursework and look fabulous on your resume.
One of the best organizations for professional development is Toastmasters. Improving your speaking skills can help in many areas of your life, but especially with interviews and giving presentations at work.
- Be a voyeur
What are your superiors doing for their careers that you can emulate? Watch those you admire and do what they do (without being an annoying stalker, of course). Why wrack your brain trying to reinvent the career wheel when you can get ideas from those who have gone before you?
Either getting a mentor, being a mentor, or both can do amazing things for your career. Your mentor can help you make connections, prevent you from making mistakes, and give you inside information. When you pay it forward by becoming a mentor yourself, you develop teaching and management skills, and are looked on favorably by upper management.
For quick career development, pick one of these items each day, and focus on it for just 10 minutes. You’ll be amazed at how your career takes off!