Using a variety of research and networking tools, you can enhance your work skills to ensure they more closely align with your top career goals. Understanding the many ways to build your professional competencies will increase your chances of getting to where you want to be.
Go to the Source
If you know the specific jobs you eventually want, meet with people who hold those positions and ask them for career advice. They can tell you what they do, what skills they use and how they obtained their skill set. They can also offer suggestions for books, seminars and volunteer work that can help you eventually qualify for those jobs. In addition, visit job boards and research the positions to learn what employers want in their job candidates.
Create a Plan
Building your professional skills often requires a multi-part strategy. Using the information you gathered in your informational interviews, create a plan that includes specific goals, steps you’ll need to take to reach those goals, and deadlines for completing your objectives. For example, to become a manager of a department, you might need a professional certification. If so, begin the work and training necessary to achieve it. You will also need management skills such as team building, communications, budgeting and project management. Take night or weekend management classes at a local college to learn new skills and enhance your resume.
Talk to Your Company
Let your employer know you want to grow and advance with the company. In some cases, your employer might be willing to pay for college courses and professional seminars and workshops to help you learn the skills necessary for advancement. It might also provide training from your superiors. Meet with your supervisor or HR manager to discuss your potential career path at your company.
Build the Right Network
To obtain your top career goals, you need to know the right people. Join professional organizations and participate in their events. Keep in touch with your most valuable professional contacts well before you need a recommendation. Create and maintain a LinkedIn profile and join industry discussion groups on the site. Building a strong professional network is an important skill that helps you reach your career objectives.