It’s Monday morning, the beginning of another working week. The sun is out, tea is brewed, so let’s share some home truths about achieving predictable progress and growth in your career shall we?
Whether it’s your salaried 9-5, your side hustle, your freelancing gig, your graduate role, an internal promotion – whatever, each element is a form of career.
So often we overthink our careers or doubt ourselves in terms of ability or discipline. We write lists of actions that could be done asap, but we choose to delay the task out of fear of getting it wrong or the idea of ‘stepping outside your lane’. It is best to think of these tasks as stepping stones. Stepping stones that will get you to where you want to be, and by the time you get there – you will see that it’s not daunting after all, and actually, you are fully equipped and experienced to tackle anything. Let’s look at how we can turbocharge your career and take it to the next level by building on certain habits and practical actions that can create a positive ripple effect for you and your journey.
1. Update your CV
It is a huge misconception that we should only update our CV when we’re looking for a new role. It is important to update your CV regularly. This can be monthly, or quarterly – depending on the person. The process of updating your CV causes you to reflect on what you’ve achieved. It can be quite a sobering moment when you reflect on what you have accomplished since last updating it. Updating your CV is the perfect way to document growth, development, evolution, and exciting new challenges linked to your career.
2. Update your online profiles inc. website about page, LinkedIn, The Dots
If you’re an entrepreneur, make sure your About Me page on your website is constantly up to date. Ask yourself; Is it really showcasing where you’re at in the business right now? Does your website document all the projects that you’re working on? Is the profile image the truest picture of you? This is also applicable if you’re using platforms like The Dots. Make sure everything is up to date. Have you taken on a new type of work recently? Have you finished a training programme that qualifies you or makes you competent in a particular area? Add it to the bio. Add a tag. Create a case study. Shout about it. This is what you want to focus on when you’re updating those online profiles. We want to make it easy for people to see how you show up and you create an impact in their organisation, business or team.
3. Reach out to someone you said you’d like to keep in touch with and set that date
That’s it. How many times do you have a great conversation with someone, plan on catching up again – then it never happens? This happens within our personal relationships, as well as our professional, so it’s important to be proactive in maintaining relationships that are important to you. Did you connect with somebody at a webinar recently, and said, Oh, it would be lovely to continue this conversation, but you haven’t reached out yet? Do it now. This is a time to reach out and network. Offer to meet them for a coffee, have a zoom call – ask what works for them. Whenever requesting someone’s time, make sure you are making it as easy as possible for them to say yes.
4. Check-in on your goals
If you don’t already have a practice for doing so, check in on your goals every week. This means keeping them front of mind at the beginning of the week so that you can set yourself targets. What can I do this week to work towards my medium-term goals? My long term goals? If you leave it a month then check-in, you may find that you haven’t achieved anything you had set out to – and this can be disheartening. I have my goals laid out as a vision board on my desktop. It acts as an inspirational screensaver. In terms of granular goals, I have a project management system that I schedule time in each week to sit down and look over.
5. Pay it forward, give someone praise or positive feedback
The fifth thing that you can do for your career right now is to pay it forward. Give someone praise or positive feedback. How many times have you worked with people, and they’ve done an amazing job and you haven’t taken the time to tell them? Maybe you’ve worked with a business and they haven’t asked for a testimonial or feedback? My advice – find them online and leave a review. This also goes for people you meet IRL at networking events or LinkedIn connections – if you’ve had a positive working relationship with someone, go and give them positive feedback or praise. It will take you 20 seconds but add so much joy to someone’s day.
6. Ask for feedback
Asking for feedback is the best way to check yourself and your skillset. If you’re working with somebody on a project, ask for feedback. How did you think I did in that meeting? Is there any way we can make this more efficient? What do you think I could work on? It doesn’t need to be a conversation with your manager, it can simply be with somebody who works alongside you. Gather that feedback and see if there’s something in there that you can unlock and focus on as it will either grow your confidence in areas of expertise or encourage more growth in terms of intermediate skills.
7. Carve out time to learn something new
Many of you who know me know I love a good podcast. I love podcasts that teach me something new. I come away feeling refreshed with a new perspective. The same thing happens when I end up in a TED talk hole. Learning something new can be as simple as listening to a 10 minute TED Talk. Keep your mind engaged, keep that sense of wonder active, allow that sense of curiosity to take control. What is there for us to learn and understand and what can you can take from it?
8. Review your calendar to find better ways of working
For many of us, the burnout is real. The way we’ve been working for the past year is not necessarily how we’ve been designed to work. There is no strong break between home and work, so it is important to put those boundaries in place. An easy way to do this is by looking at your calendar and asking yourself, do I need to block out time for breaks? Do I need to switch up my fitness routine so that I have a workout halfway through the day? Do I need to have some days where I don’t take meetings and I focus solely on work? I want you to review your calendar and find the better ways of working by your definition, what would be better for you.
9. Scan for all the meetings that can just be emails
Ever ended up in a meeting about a meeting? Same. Next time this occurs, ask; Can this meeting be an email? If so, change the format. Do we need 30 mins in the diary or can this be covered via slack message or instant message? What is the purpose of the meeting? Do you have an update? Do they have an update? Should we condense our meetings and have them less frequently? There are so many tools out there for collaborative working, that we don’t necessarily always need to have said meeting.
10. Take a moment to reflect and journal
Journaling isn’t for everyone, but it’s so important to reflect. Days go by that you won’t revisit, so save those moments, those memories. Take a moment to note down how you’re feeling. What’s top of mind for you? What are you celebrating? What brings you joy? What are you learning? What’s keeping you engaged and inspired in life and in your career. Journaling can be voice notes, an internal blog, or sticky notes on the fridge – however you want to document your day, take a moment to create a time capsule for yourself.