Career Advice, Jobs, Salaries

How To Fast-Track Your Career Development

Worker prepare to compete on the start line

As a young professional it can become frustrating to wait for your annual appraisal or personal development meeting. Instead of waiting around, get smart and use these tips and tricks to create a career strategy which helps you progress faster.

Thankfully, job hopping is losing the stigma it once had. Moving companies is one of the best ways to learn more, grow & advance in your career. When you join a new team or start a new role you are in active learning mode for at least three months, which enables you to learn faster and pick up new skills. Use each new opportunity to expand your knowledge and experience, while also growing your professional network.

Although job hopping can be a good strategy, it’s important to commit to a reasonable period. If you’re just starting your career, 12 months is a good benchmark. Every 12 months you should ask yourself the following three questions:

  1. What is important to me in my career right now?
  2. Does my current role challenge me?
  3. Am I avoiding challenge for comfort?

Use this exercise to reflect and change your strategy. Understand that our need for security can often prevent us from growth as we seek comfort in our careers. Breakthrough anything which is preventing you from doing your best work.

Moving around between jobs can be emotionally challenging, but it’ll enable you to work with a wide variety of different personalities, all with their own unique advice & lessons to teach you. Over time you’ll become better at handling change, which is an essential life skill to master.

If job hopping doesn’t work for you, perhaps you need to seek out specific fixed term contracts. If you’re working for a fixed period there is no fear of any challenging discussions with your manager as you’ll have a clear path set out. More employers are seeking contract based employees, but be warned that it may not always come with the same full-time benefits.

Another vital strategy you should adopt is embracing a journey of life long learning. When traditional learning stops, you should set out personal learning goals which will keep your mind growing. Embrace the power of the internet and explore websites such as lynda.com, udemy.com and teamtreehouse.com. Allocate a minimum of two hours per week to personal development; an investment in yourself will always pay off. You’ll discover how many of your colleagues have stopped their commitment to learning and sail past them.

A vital area of your life which will be impacting your speed of growth will be the peers you choose to spend time with. You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Your environment is a crucial factor in facilitating progress – by spending time in professional groups such as JCI you can elevate yourself.

If you’re ready to accelerate try and implement some of these strategies into your professional life and personal growth will soon follow. We all have the same number of hours in the day, and what separates the successful from the rest is the desire to learn, change and progress. It can seem scary walking the path away from the known, but the rewards make the journey worth it.