In a perfect world, you graduated college with your dream job lined up and you move through life knowing for certain that you are doing what you love. But the real world hardly ever works out like that and for many people, once they enter the workplace, no matter what industry they’re in, it is easy to fall into a rut. Some people take no issue with that and continue on, while others may wake up a few years later and realize that they feel stagnant and uninspired. However, no matter how long you have been at it, it’s never too late to reevaluate and expand your career opportunities.
What Are You Truly Good At?
This step may be really hard for you if you are the type to undervalue your skills. Sometimes it is easy to see the worth in others, but nearly impossible to see the worth in yourself. If you have a hard time objectively evaluating your strengths and weaknesses, consider speaking with your current manager. It might be helpful to ask for an evaluation to see where your performance level is at. If you already know your strengths, good. Map them all out and see if you’re current career is allowing you to take advantage of them. If not, consider exploring other options that are more in line with what you naturally excel at.
Further Your Education
Just because you already have a job or even a degree doesn’t mean you can’t go back to school to further your education. Although, since you are working, you should look into online courses to get you what you want. You can get a bachelor’s degree online at this school and work towards that additional degree in your off time. It’s not a race, so don’t worry about the timeframe. Even if you don’t end up completing a degree, you will end up with a bevy of new skills that can be applied to your resume. Furthering your education also shows that you are always willing to learn, and have the motivation and drive to meet tough goals – all things that look really good on a resume.
Learn a New Language
While this is definitely a form of furthering your education, it’s pretty specific. Learning a new language will not only introduce you to a culture different from your own and will enable you to travel easily in that country, but it will also open more doors in terms of your career – especially if working abroad is one of your goals. Even if you stay stateside though, knowing more than one language can lead to a higher salary, since a small percentage of North Americans are bilingual. It will also make it easier to shift to a different job, especially if you are thinking of moving into health care, social services or public services – all of which prefer bilingual employees.
Consider Starting a Side Business
Whether you start by doing some contract work on the side or jump straight into starting your own business, working a second job that you love can lead to more opportunities in the future. A lot of people have one job to pay the bills and one job that feeds their passions, and oftentimes the passion-fueled job can take off and end up actually paying the bills. Whether you just want to brew beer to sell to people in your neighborhood or you finally want to get that Etsy page started for the baby mobiles you have been hand-making for friends, you never know what your future may hold!
Network Like Your Life Depends On It!
Networking may be the most important point on this list, whether you work for a company or work for yourself. You need to be communicative to those around you about what you do for a living and make it known that you are looking to expand your career. You may not think that talking with your college professor will lead to anything (and who knows, it may not), but your professor may find themselves in a conversation with someone looking for skills you just so happen to possess. People love referring others and a lot of jobs are picked up this way. Make sure to actively maintain your social media profiles, which means that you need to make sure everything on your Facebook is actively representing who you want to be perceived as professionally. Translation: Get rid of those party pictures from college.