People may think they are having a successful career because their pay and conditions are adequate to sustain an acceptable standard of living. Still, they may be missing out on receiving the true value of what they're worth simply because they don't know what is available. By taking some time to set realistic career goals and using your initiative, you can make the most of your career and meet your full potential.
Know Your Goals
If you know what you want, you have a better chance of attaining it; what's more, you will regularly measure your success against what you want to achieve. All successful people have goals; everyone from corporate CEOs to athletes. There's no reason why you shouldn't set some career goals to help you get ahead.
What is it you want from your career? Is it more money, more responsibility, or more freedom? The list is potentially endless. Take some time, an hour is good, and make a long list of all the things you would like to gain from your career. When you've done this, narrow the list down to three main options that are most valuable to you. These are your career goals, and they can inform your decision -making going forward.
Don't Settle For Less
Many people are afraid to approach their superiors to request a wage raise, but if you've been working for a company for some time, it's normal for you to receive an increase in pay in-line with the skills and experience you have gained. The more experience you have, the more value you bring to the company, so it makes sense you should receive more money.
However, it is also normal for companies to hold off as long as possible on increasing their employee's pay until they are up for review or otherwise. You will be surprised at how willing employers are to talk about your pay if you bring it up. Don't treat it like a casual conversation, be prepared, and know what value you bring to the company. If they are not willing to meet your expectations, you might consider taking your services elsewhere.
Learn New Skills
These days learning new skills is easy using online platforms. They can improve your performance in the job, allow you to pitch in with other departments, improve your profile, and raise your value to the company – as well as your earning potential. If you are the ambitious sort, you don't have to wait around for opportunities to arise within your role; use your initiative to get ahead.
If you work for an international company, for instance, you could consider learning another language; this will immediately make you more valuable to the company and increase your potential. Most companies have a technical department that could benefit from someone with practical coding skills or IT infrastructure knowledge. Or what about an online masters in communication? These are all skills you can learn online by yourself; they don't cost much in terms of time and money, but can significantly enhance your career prospects.
Negotiate With Employers
More and more, the old view of an employer as an authority is dying away. With the rise of freelance culture, companies are adapting their contracts to reflect people's rights and desires. This might mean flexible working hours or more agency within the contract. It also means you have more room for negotiation within the contact.
If you feel like you are undervalued in the workplace or deserve better working conditions – such as a work from home option – don't wait for your annual review to raise the issue; instead, arrange a formal meeting with your manager to discuss it. They should be willing to listen and respond appropriately. Even if you don't get what you want at the time of asking, it will flag it up with your managers and prepare the ground for career progression.
Raise Your Profile
Most companies have a list, either formal or informal, of earmarked people for career progression within the company. It's important that you're on that list if you want a higher position or more pay. Ensure that you communicate your desire to go far with the company and take every opportunity to invest your time and energy in other areas of the business – not just your role.
You can raise your professional profile on LinkedIn where you can get involved in industry-related conversations and network with relevant people. Attend industry events and talk to people in the company that you wouldn't meet day-to-day; this all contributes to the impression you make on individuals in the company and will help you when it comes to interviewing for a higher position.