Career Advice - A Community Blog

Erik Larson writes about the job market, resume improvement, and career advice

Ways To Jump Start Your Career

Written by Erik Larson, Community Blogger | Sep 26, 2017 10:32 PM

This is a tough economy for everyone, and it seems like everyone complains about not being able to find a good job, even straight out of college with a degree in hand. But the opportunities are out there, if you're willing to outwork your competition, think outside the box and evolve your thinking. Large, successful companies are always eager to hire the best people, so if you want to jumpstart your career, then you need to commit to becoming one of the best people in your field. Below are four ways to help you move in that direction and increase your odds of career success.

1. Think Long-Term For The Benefit Of The Company

One of the best ways to jumpstart your career is to be far-sighted, to think, to plan and to act for the long-term benefit of your company. When you develop your ability to step back and see the big picture regarding how your actions affect your company's bottom line, you set yourself apart from most of your coworkers around you. Most of them aren't particularly interested in the larger workings of their organization or their place in it. They don't bother to think about how their actions impact their own department, much less how their performance affects the company as a whole.

But a leader must think about these things. When you begin to think and act like a leader, you quickly capture the attention of those above you. They are always on the lookout for leaders, especially in larger companies that have lots of room for advancement.

2. Build A Positive Web Presence

There are a lot of people out there who have lost their jobs and sunk their careers because of something they posted on social media. Let that sink in for a second. Whether you feel it's fair or not to fire someone or not even hire them in the first place over a Facebook post, the reality is that it does happen frequently and that it could happen to you if you aren't proactive about taking control of your online reputation and the content that you post on social media.

And don't forget about those old social accounts that you abandoned long ago: allowing them to remain online could come back to bite you if they contain any compromising photos or status updates, so be very thorough when covering your tracks online.

3. Think Of Yourself As Self-Employed

In his book, The 21 Secrets Of Self-Made Millionaires, author and speaker Brian Tracy write, "The biggest mistake you can ever make is to think that you work for anyone other than yourself. You are always self-employed." The idea is that when you think of yourself as self-employed, there is no room for excuses. The owner of a company doesn't care about anyone's excuses or who is at fault when sales are down. None of that matters. Pointing fingers at somebody else might make an employee feel better about himself, but it doesn't change the fact that the owner is losing money.

When you think like a business owner, you refuse to assign blame. Instead, you accept responsibility. You take ownership of your results, and you focus on solutions rather than excuses. This is rare in the business world, and when you begin to act like this, you quickly begin to rise above the mediocrity around you and set yourself on the fast track to success.

4. Upgrade Your Skills

When you get right down to it, your paycheck is based on one thing: the value you create for your employer. If you want to make more money, you need to provide more value. If your skills are limiting the amount of value you can create, then you must upgrade your skills or even learn entirely new ones. And if you're waiting around for your employer to take the initiative to do this, you could be waiting for a very long time. So, take the initiative yourself.

For instance, if you're interested in a career in Information Technology (IT), you might look into some SAP career training programs that will give you the knowledge and skills you need to shift into a career with higher income potential. Keep in mind that as an aspiring professional in the tech world, you may need to take on internships for little or no pay for a short period of time. But that hands-on experience can provide the leverage you'll need to break into a competitive industry.

5. Create Systems To Improve Your Efficiency

All else being equal, the worker who is more efficient is the one who will provide more value to the employer and will therefore be more likely to earn a raise. Depending on your line of work and the tasks that you must complete on any given day, it's possible that the best thing you can do to level up is to simply get better at doing your job.

Do it faster. Do it better. Make less mistakes. Be more thorough. Be more productive. Sometimes the opportunity for advancement is right in front of you and begins by becoming excellent at your current job. Examine yourself and be brutally honest. Can you be more efficient? If so, how? Figuring this out and acting on it can set things in motion that will move you onward and upward in a short time.

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