The arrival of a new year represents a fresh start and a timely opportunity to set new goals in your life. On top of resolutions centered around health, relationships, and self-improvement, it’s also worth thinking about your professional ambitions, and maybe it’s time for you to pursue career advancement opportunities.
Achieving new career goals does not only encourage you to continuously learn and grow in your chosen field or industry. Alongside the need to cope with inflation and turbulent economic times, moving up the career ladder can also translate into increased salary expectations and a better quality of living. Rather than waiting for the opportunity to simply land in your lap, here are three things you can do to take the initiative and improve your career prospects.
1. Conduct research on your field to understand trends and prospects
The value of industry research in your pursuit of improved job prospects cannot be overstated. You can start by scoping out the key players in your own field, as they are more likely to provide more advanced salary gains, development opportunities, and overall job satisfaction. Say you’re in technology or business and want to tap into the growing software-as-a-service (SaaS) industry. If that’s the case, you’d want to familiarize yourself with the top SaaS companies. Consider how your current job scope and responsibilities align with these firms’ offerings to determine if they are the right fit for you.
Doing your own research also provides insight into industry trends and transformations. For instance, the telehealth revolution has increased the demand for healthcare professionals who have the technological and communication skills needed to provide virtual consultations and telemedicine services. Those who are knowledgeable and aware of such industry-wide changes can take action to acquire or develop the in-demand skills and consequently maximize available opportunities.
2. Ask for better compensation or a raise
A career advancement doesn’t always have to equate to leaving your current job and seeking new opportunities. It’s also important that you consider negotiating a raise or better compensation once you’ve realized that what you bring to the table has increased in worth compared to when you started the job. The start of the year is usually an appropriate time to start this conversation, as you can use your performance and accomplishments from the previous year as a basis for why you deserve career advancement opportunities.
While negotiations can be done during one-on-one meetings with your manager or supervisor, a guide to asking for a raise from LHH adds that a raise letter can also increase your chances of success. Not only does it give your employer enough time to read through and decide on your request, it allows you to discuss your achievements in an organized and structured manner. Remember that you also need to be specific about your proposed pay range or percentage of increase. Looking at salary comparisons from government sources or online job sites can be a significant help in this case.
3. Build and leverage your network of contacts
Career growth relies not just on technical skills, but also on the strong professional relationships and support networks you have developed throughout your career. Rather than limiting yourself to the circles you are already extremely familiar with, a new type of networking emphasizes the influence of relatively ‘weak ties.’ For example, you can get in touch with someone you’ve met once during a business conference a few years back.
Building a diverse network with these casual contacts is possible as they likely operate in vastly different fields and areas than you, as opposed to an old colleague or college classmate. As such, you can cast a wider net for job recommendations and referrals. You can form and cultivate these weak ties by adding people on career platforms like LinkedIn and by attending in-person networking events like conferences and workshops.
If you are looking to improve your career prospects we hope the above tips prove useful.