How to create opportunities in your career

Working Professional

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It is always a good idea to take stock of your career goals and set out a plan to follow every few years, to reach career success. There are loads of ways to find new opportunities in your current field. Great sites to start with are career audit or SWOT analysis.

Ideally, people who have been employed for more than five years without promotion would benefit from guidance by a career or business mentor. Someone who has the proper expertise in a particular field to identify strengths, weaknesses and opportunities, in order to move to the next step in their career. 

But, this costs money and takes time – both of which working people might not have available.  Rest assured,  you can still take some other steps to start changing your career path. Start by reevaluating the professional steps you have already taken – and decide your next steps – write them down, and stick to them.

New skills acquisition

Professionals are lifelong learners. Upskilling, which means to learn or teach new skills, opens up avenues in your field – and of course, the opportunity to demand a higher salary because of the added value your skills bring to the company. 

With a bit of research, identify which skills are currently in demand in your field. These change constantly due to various factors like the state of the economy, and technological advancements. 

Upskilling is even easier nowadays, with most distance learning courses available online. This means that busy professionals have a convenient, flexible and relatively affordable way to close the gap on their qualifications. Online courses help people stay up to date and relevant with industry demands, while not taking them away from their current jobs- they can structure their studies and research around their own schedules. 

Networking 

Back to the basics! Networking has always been a beneficial tool in career growth. Now, networking has evolved to include operating in a digital space to connect more professionals more than ever. Learn to use platforms like LinkedIn to know who someone is,or to see the daily job posts by headhunters from top companies actively scouring the platform for the right candidate. Professionals also learn from useful content and microblogging on other experts’ news feeds. Leveraging off the power of Linkedin should be second nature to anyone looking for new career opportunities. 

Public relations

Building a brand is important. Andy Warhol, who coined the famous ‘15 minutes of fame’ quote, would never have predicted the internet’s impact on the phenomenon. Any professional can now position themselves as a ‘thought leader’ simply by creating social media profiles, posting industry-related content and pitting themselves as industry influencers with a simple tap on their smartphone. This is a great thing! it levels the playing field and allows everyone a platform to shine! 

Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube and Instagram have empowered professionals to showcase their talents and expertise, essentially allowing them to build their unique brand. There is no reason why you can’t have a portfolio microsite or blog with a monthly news emailer for your database. 

Sign up to platforms like Haro or Media Alert.

Inspiration

Depending on the industry, there are many credible news sites to subscribe to, and inspiration can land in your inbox at any given time. Bizcommunity is the go-to publication for any entrepreneur, creative, marketing, advertising or financial professional, making it the modern-day- and free version of an industry journal. 

Make a point of attending industry events and conferences to actively seek inspiration and opportunity. This feeds directly into networking too! 

It is often at Loeries Creative Week, Design Indaba or Africa Tech week where problems are debated, and solutions are sparked that lead to new projects or work opportunities. 

Read

According to entrepreneur.com, CEO’s should be reading 52 books a year [ yes, one book per week, minimum! ]. While this may seem like an urban myth doing the rounds on the internet, or just plain highly unrealistic, reading is undoubtedly one of the biggest and most enjoyable tools to learn and, thus, create opportunities for a career. Besides joining a library or shopping at a bookstore, getting access to knowledge in the fastest way possible is largely facilitated by today’s technology. Use your phone! Apps like Blinkist or Audible suit working professionals. It offers easy and fast assimilation of knowledge from the world’s most successful people at an affordable cost. 

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