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When we are growing up, we all have dreams. We want to be train drivers or shopkeepers or teachers – the kinds of jobs we see people doing all the time. But, once you are ready to enter the job market, it’s likely that you will discover just how varied the job market can be.
As technology progresses at a rapid rate, jobs are changing all the time. Indeed, the kids at school now could well be leaving in 5 years to jobs we haven’t even conceived of yet. This means that entering the job market now is a little more difficult than it was. There are so many more unknowns to job hunting that preparation is almost impossible.
However, the upside to this fluctuating market is that everyone is learning and most people will have several careers in their lifetime. The idea that you have to stay in one job for your whole career is thoroughly out-dated by now. So, whether your aim is to increase your wealth or to get the job of your dreams, here’s how to thrive in a modern workplace.
Keep Learning on the Job
Learning is vital. If you can’t keep up with your industry, you won’t be able to progress, never mind do well in your current position. Keeping an open mind and spotting new opportunities to learn should always be a part of your working week and asking your supervisor for suggestions won’t hurt either.
Studying can be formal – such as a finance qualification from somewhere like Northeastern University – but it can also be informal. A balance of the two is usually best but whatever you do, you should always consider how it will benefit your job prospects. A degree may offer you better positions but you should always make sure that you choose a relevant course, otherwise, it may not be worthwhile.
Doing less formal courses and going on training days will also help to develop your career prospects. For example, you might choose to do a first aid course to complement your other skills. The more you can put on your CV, the better. And, the more varied your interests, the more you will stand out from the crowd by showing your willingness to learn.
Take Additional Responsibilities to Build Your Skills
One of the best ways to gradually build your career is to build your skills through new responsibilities. As you learn your job, it will become easier, giving you more time to consider other projects. Expressing an interest in building your responsibilities to your manager is a good way to show that you are serious about progressing up the ladder.
If you are a junior member of your department, you might also consider asking your senior colleagues if there is anything they would like help with. This might end up being something a bit tedious like inputting data or organizing some documents but taking the stress off someone else can really benefit the team. Plus, the more you help someone, the more likely they are to trust you with more difficult tasks later on.
Another good way to build your skills is to job shadow colleagues or request informal training from them at work. Managers love this because as long as the colleague you choose has the time, it doesn’t cost the business anything but will increase your value as an employee. Shadowing is also a great way to spot new opportunities and figure out what you might like to do next. Swapping to a new department can be a better way to work up the ladder than waiting for senior figures in your own department to move on.
Do Consider New Opportunities
There is no right and wrong to deciding when it’s time to change jobs but you should be aware of a few factors to help you make up your mind. On the one hand, job hopping can make you seem flakey but, on the other hand, staying in a job without making any real progress for a long time can be problematic too. Getting your timing right is essential.
The best thing to do is to keep an eye on your progress all the time and do consider new opportunities when they come up. It might be that you find something worth moving for a bit quicker than you imagined, but equally, keeping an eye on other jobs will give you an idea of what you should be doing with your time now to keep up with the competition. Knowing what another employer might expect gives you the time to achieve so that when you are ready, you can move on quickly.
A good time to take a new opportunity is when you feel you have accomplished all you can in your current job and you are looking for a new challenge. Staying in a job for a year is usually seen in a favorable light as it shows that you are dedicated but you should always leave a job when you have no further prospects of development.
One opportunity many people are now taking is going freelance or setting up a small home business. This can be risky but even if you only work for yourself for a short time, it shows resourcefulness and ambition to any future employer. Plus, as a freelancer, you can pick and choose projects according to what interests you, what pays and what will develop your skills and portfolio. If you’re sick of having a boss and want to start freelancing, check out this article.
Thriving in the modern workplace is all about growth. You need to be able to show your current employers and any future employers that you are willing to continue to learn on the job and add value to your role and the company. In matter whether you work up the ladder through a series of similar roles or you bounce from job to job picking up a wide range of skills. As long as you are always game for the next challenge and can show you are determined to succeed, you should do well.