Evolving in your career is a process, a lifestyle that you may not know is happening until your attention is drawn to it. The career field is always changing and ever evolving, you need to be dynamic enough to stay relevant. If you want to know if you are evolving, ask yourself these questions: Do you know your industry’s biggest trends right now? What are people predicting in the next couple of years? How about 10 years from now? Who are the big players?
To make your career evolution a daily lifestyle, the following tips are necessary:
Demonstrate curiosity, embrace diversity
Keeping up with industry trends and insights requires almost continuous maintenance.
Subscribe to newsletters, participate in discussions online, set up Google alerts for industry keywords so you can read the latest news. It’s only by keeping up on this front that you’ll even know about the technical changes on the horizon.
Make relevance a priority
The biggest barrier to evolving in your career is feeling like you don’t have time to fit in professional development. But you need to if you really want to evolve. Think of it like brushing your teeth: It’s so much easier to do a little each day, week or month than try to catch up and deal with the consequences after you neglect it for years. For instance you can aim to spend a minimum of 2-3 hours a week on professional development.
What does “staying relevant” mean? In these days of outsourcing, cost-cutting and continuous radical shifts in the ways companies produce, communicate and interact, not to mention source candidates, it is crucial you remain attuned to demands, trends and developments in the marketplace and fine-tune your qualifications and skill set accordingly and fast enough.
Be open to change
Any employee who resists change will be swept out of the workforce faster than someone who is willing to try something new. Resist the urge to cling to old ways of doing things. Instead, be open and flexible. Being open to change is one of the quickest ways to evolve in your career.
Begin by updating your skills, in particular your familiarity with technology.
Identify useful skills
You might fear being made obsolete in your industry but not know what skills you should pick up to remain relevant. Research where your industry is headed by reading industry publications and visiting blogs. Also talk to people in your field who are moving up the ranks. Figure out what skills they have that are in demand.
Don’t be afraid of implementing what you learn and experiment with new ideas. At a minimum you should improve your productivity and performance. Even better would be if you can truly innovate.
Understand the dynamics of the industry you operate in
Myopia serves no one. If you are too busy for instance poring over data sheets day in and day out in the exact same manner you have done for years you may miss out on the fact that competitor companies have largely outsourced a key segment of their CRM systems for example, or imported new CRM systems that are far more efficient, or redefined standards and parameters for measurement and monitoring completely. Keep your eyes and ears open to developments both in your company and out so you are in the best position to understand if your own modus operandi is optimal and sustainable.
Learn it, incorporate it, be it
Be a lifelong learner and seek to embrace learning in all its dimensions and embrace it as a lifestyle. Learn by seeing, by doing, by reading, by taking physical and online courses, by asking questions and talking to people, by experimenting and innovating, learn by whatever means are at your disposal and in whatever learning method you prefer. Aim to stay ahead of the literature in your industry and pick up books that motivate and inspire you and benefit you in your overall career and general well-being.
Yes we have all repeatedly heard that in today’s career world. Network outside work and across all generations. Don’t assume you don’t have anything in common with co-workers who are older or younger than you. Making friends with people who aren’t in your age group can help you communicate with a wider variety of people. Getting their perspectives can help provide new ways of looking at the business. Try to maintain an active presence in relevant circles whether you are attending industry events, exhibitions, conferences, forums, courses or even socializing with peers in the industry in a format you find comfortable and conducive to constructive exchange. You can network with like-minded professionals physically and also online. You will make good friendships, remain top-of-mind in the right groups and also pick up valuable fresh business pointers and insights which should serve you well in your own role.