No matter what stage of life you’re at, it’s never too late to do something you love. Whether you’re looking for your first ever professional job or you want to retrain and work in a new industry, you can look forward to a varied and fulfilling career. Of course, no-one wants to spend longer than they have to climbing the career ladder. With these handy tips, you can kickstart your professional career and reach the top in record time:
1. Gain Experience
Having the right experience can be the difference between securing your dream role and missing out. In some industries, experience is valued over academics, so it should always be a top priority. Internships and graduate schemes are excellent ways to gain experience and impress future employers, but they aren’t the only options out there. Career returner programs and informal experience, like volunteering, can be just as beneficial.
2. Use Accelerated Learning
There are many roles which require you to have a specific qualification before you can get started. If you want to begin your career as a registered nurse, for example, reputable online accelerated bsn programs for non nurses can be a great way to achieve your goals. With accelerated learning, you can develop skills and obtain qualifications more quickly than usual. This means you can kickstart your career in a fraction of the time it would usually take. What’s more – accelerated learning gives you the opportunity to get into work more quickly, which allows you to gain more experience and earn an impressive salary.
3. Create an Online Portfolio
When you’re applying for roles, you’ll usually be asked to submit a resume or complete an online application process. While you’ll still need to adhere to the relevant recruitment policies, creating your own online portfolio can put you a step ahead.
Before hiring new recruits, it’s common for companies to search for them online. By making sure they get a glimpse of your work, experience and potential, an online portfolio can make you stand out from the crowd. In addition to this, it highlights just how self-motivated and passionate are, which is always impressive in the eyes of potential employers.
4. Start Networking
Don’t wait until you’re working to start building a professional network. Getting to know people in the industry will stand you in good stead, regardless of where you’re currently at. If you’re at college, for example, attending job fairs can be a good way to meet future recruiters and industry personnel. Alternatively, attending after-work industry events gives you the chance to connect with your peers and strengthen your network.
Of course, the digital era means that many networking opportunities now begin online. By making sure your social media profiles are work-friendly and being active on professional networks, you can boost your profile and make important contacts.
5. Build a Personal Brand
A personal brand reflects your character, goals, experience and personality, so it’s important to make the most of it. Don’t let your personal brand develop by chance, particularly if you want to rise through your chosen industry quickly. Instead, take a strategic approach and spend time thinking about values you want to reflect and what you want to become well-known for.
By doing so, you can identify potential weak points in your brand and take steps to rectify them. As well as boosting your brand, this can ensure that you’re consistently developing new skills that will serve you well in the workplace and make you a more attractive candidate to potential employers.
6. Know Your Worth
When you’re eager to start building a career, it can be tempting to take any job you’re offered, especially if it’s related to the sector or industry you want to work in. However, take time to think about job offers before you accept. If you think you’re being undervalued, negotiating for a higher salary or better working hours could be a viable option.
There are times when employers will try to overburden inexperienced workers or pay them a non-competitive salary, in the hope that they won’t realize they’re being undervalued. By knowing what to expect and being willing to negotiate, however, you can strike a deal that reflects your value and worth.
7. Find a Mentor
Having a professional mentor can be a great way to enhance your career prospects. As someone who has been in a similar position and worked their way to success, they’ll have valuable knowledge to pass on to you. Additionally, being able to turn to your mentor for advice or industry information will ensure you can always access the support you need.
In some cases, a mentor-mentee relationship develops naturally, but you can actively seek out a mentor too. There are plenty of programs designed to connect potential mentors to mentees, so be sure to sign up and find someone who can have a positive impact on your career.
8. Be Willing to Learn
No-one starts at the top, but you can get there more quickly if you’re willing to learn. The business landscape changes rapidly, which means you’ll always be learning, regardless of what stage you’re at in your career.
Recognizing your limitations and knowing how to overcome them is arguably one of the most beneficial traits to have in a professional environment. When you’re able to identify the skills or knowledge you’re lacking – and do something about it – you can enhance your value to your employer. Furthermore, finding creative ways to boost your knowledge will single you out as self-motivated and a problem-solver, which are coveted traits to every employer.
Setting Yourself Career Goals
Having career aspirations can help you to figure out what you want to do with your life, but having firm goals in mind will give you a target to work towards. With a one year, five year and 10-year plan, for example, you can plan for the short, mid and long-term future. By doing so, you’ll be able to measure your success and ensure you’re on track to achieve your ultimate career ambitions.