The Complete Guide on How to Advance Your Career

Over 90% of workers think professional development is "important" or "very important." Indeed, those who get these opportunities have 34% higher retention. They're also 15% more engaged at work.

A good enough reason is that career advancement offers more work opportunities. It also helps workers seek higher pay and feel more fulfilled in their professions. Conversely, career stagnation can make them feel bored, unmotivated, and disengaged.

The good news is that you have many ways to further your career and enjoy your chosen profession.

This guide will teach you how to advance your career and make the most of it, so read on.

Decide Where to Take Your Career

A survey found that almost 2 in 5 graduates regret their choice of Bachelor's degree major. Although that didn't make them give up, they still wished they had chosen a different field.

If you regret your current career choice, you don't have to stick to it. Otherwise, advancing your career would likely be the least of your priorities. It may even make you feel so miserable that you can no longer feel engaged at work.

So rather than risking it, consider switching career paths. But before you do, ensure you'll enjoy your new occupation.

When switching or choosing a career path, go for one you love. You should enjoy it and see yourself doing it well into your retirement.

Don't base your choice on what someone else thinks is right for you. An example is your parents, who might tell you to choose a career they think is best for you. While you should consider their advice, remember it's your future, not theirs.

Complete Relevant Training

Many professions, from healthcare to accounting and engineering, require continuing education (CE).

CE is necessary for certain professionals to display their competency and remain licensed. It also allows them to improve their skills to perform at higher levels.

While not all jobs require CE, it's still vital for those in continuously evolving fields. They may not be mandatory to stay employed, but they can help boost job opportunities.

In fields other than healthcare, many CE-like programs are professional development courses.

Take information technology professionals as an example. As fresh graduates, many often land jobs as IT technicians, with a starting average salary of $37,722 per year. However, the most experienced ones make nearly twice, averaging $63,369 annually.

Aside from experience, IT technicians who earn more also have additional certifications. For example, they may be AI-, machine learning-, big data-, or cyber security-certified. They may have also earned certifications as Windows, Apple, or Google specialists.

Certifications are available not just for IT but for all professions. So whether you're an IT pro, a plumber, or a sales agent, consider getting as many of these as possible.

Attend Industry Events

Networking events or conferences let you meet other professionals in your industry. If you meet and connect with them, you could receive offers for unique job opportunities. They could even act as your mentor or references when finding a job.

Many industry events often have keynote speakers, too. These are usually the most successful people in your field. They give educational, motivational speeches and talks, so use these to your advantage.

Stay in the Loop

If you don't stay up-to-date on your industry, you can miss out on opportunities to advance your career. That's another reason to attend industry events.

However, you can also remain in the loop by reading free scholarly articles. Experts from your field write them, so they're a reputable source of information. Usually, their primary goal is to share new research findings about a topic.

Another way to remain updated is to join online and in-mail industry newsletters. Sometimes, these act as classified ads for job postings. In many other cases, they report market trends, such as what's in or out of your field.

One way to use market trends is to determine what's most in demand in your industry. If it's within your capacity, great, as this can mean you have more chances to advance your career. But if it's outside your skills, consider acquiring it through training.

Look for a Mentor

A career mentor is an experienced professional in their industry. They provide advice, guidance, and support to their mentee, which in this case, could be you.

The best mentors are willing to invest time and energy to help their mentees succeed. They look at your weaknesses, not to nitpick, but to help you overcome them. They also praise your strengths and help you reinforce these positive behaviors.

You can think of a mentor as your role model, cheerleader, and accountability partner. And as industry experts, they can help you make the right choices to advance your career.

Choose the Right Employer

A Pew survey published in 2022 found that 63% of polled U.S. workers quit their jobs in 2021 because of low pay. The same percentage said they did the same due to a lack of advancement opportunities. This suggests that professional development is now as vital as a fair salary.

Unfortunately, your qualifications could be useless in a company that doesn't offer advancement.

Prevent that from happening by reviewing each of your protective employers carefully. Fortunately, some employee-centered websites make this easier by giving detailed reviews of companies. Some are from the sites themselves; others are from current and past employees.

Check those reviews to learn about that firm's career advancement opportunities. If there are too many complaints, take that as a red flag.

That's How to Advance Your Career

Now that you know how to advance your career, it's time to step up to the challenge.

Start by choosing the right path from the very start, and get as much relevant training as possible. Then, stay updated on your industry and consider mentorship. Lastly, don't forget to choose an employer who can support your development goals.

If you follow those tips, you can raise your odds of advancing and loving your career.

Ready for more career guides like this? Then check out our recent post on what 2023 looks like for DevOps engineers!

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