Have you ever wondered what small, simple steps you can take to give your career a boost? Career success can be likened to the tortoise and the hare: slow but steady progress (almost always) wins the race, but there’s something to be said for having a list of actionable items you can implement (and start to reap benefits from) right away. I encourage you to use the below suggestions to give your career a boost today!
25 Ways to Give Your Career a Boost
Calibrate Your Personal Environment for Professional Success
- Get outside! Being outside in nature (apparently even for as little as 20 minutes, three times a week) can benefit us in numerous ways. Simply going for a walk in a park “leaves us feeling calmer and with sharper and more productive, creative minds,” according to Michael Easter in The Comfort Crisis (p. 116).
- Adopt a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset. When you have a fixed mindset, you believe you can’t change your situation, whereas having a growth mindset pushes you to believe in yourself and your ability to improve in a particular area. Example: “I’m bad at writing” (fixed mindset); “I’m not a strong writer . . . yet. I’ll keep trying and take steps to improve my skills” (growth mindset). For more on this, read Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset.
- Learn something new. Enroll in an online class, read a book, or attend a webinar on a topic relevant to your career. Doing so helps ensure you stay at the top of your game.
- Start a gratitude journal. Even if you don’t keep the habit of writing in it every day, you can train yourself to adopt a mindset of gratitude. You can always find something to be grateful for. Seek it out right now.
- Get enough rest tonight. Nothing good comes from being sleep deprived.
Update Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile
- Update your resume and LinkedIn profile to ensure they are current and in alignment with each other. Make sure dates for your work experience are consistent in your resume and LinkedIn profile.
- Update your About section on LinkedIn, and take care to incorporate key words, core competencies, and/or strengths.
- Share a helpful post on LinkedIn and engage with other people’s content by offering an encouraging word or congratulations.
- Consider adding new content to your Featured section of LinkedIn.
- Find best practices for writing a resume that is compliant with Applicant Tracking Systems (ATSs). Review your resume and make changes as necessary.
Strengthen Your Network
- Build your network on LinkedIn by inviting three people to connect with you today. Make sure you choose “add a note” to briefly provide context for why you’re connecting.
- Reflect on who has helped you. Call them or send them a note to express your gratitude.
- Say “yes” to an opportunity to give back—whether that is agreeing to do an informational interview with someone who asks, to mentor a colleague, or to volunteer your time to a good cause. People will appreciate your generosity. In turn, these acts of goodwill often bring goodwill to you. This is what Dr. Ivan Misner, founder of BNI, refers to as “giver’s gain.”
- Join a professional association and/or become more active in an association you’re already a member of. Consider registering for a conference—or better yet—submitting a proposal to present at a conference.
- Attend a networking event. Make sure you “listen to learn” when networking—not just listen for the first moment you can jump in and dominate the conversation.
Sharpen Your Networking and Interviewing Skills
- Have a networking conversation with a friend if you’re rusty. Ask them about what they do for work, what they like about their job, and how you might be able to help them. The more you practice, the easier it will become.
- Practice common interview questions: Why are you interested in this job? Tell me about yourself. What’s your greatest strength? What’s your greatest weakness?
- Strategize on how to answer difficult interview or networking questions: Why are you looking for a new role? Why do you have an employment gap?
- Ask for an informational interview to learn more about a role or industry that interests you.
- Use STAR—Situation, Task, Action, Result—to practice framing responses to behavioral or situational interview questions. Practice so much that this structure becomes second nature.
Enhance How You Present Yourself to the World
- Confirm that your email address doesn’t cause skepticism by inviting ageism—in either direction. Hotmail and AOL addresses can prompt people to think you’re older, while an unprofessional email address (such as “diverchick_1,” which was my first) can cause people to think you’re young and otherwise invite judgment.
- Look in the mirror before you have a professional interaction. Are you dressing appropriately for the situation—even for video conferences?
- Check your LinkedIn photo. Is it professional and current? If not, consider updating it so you look on LinkedIn like you do in real life.
- Scan your work environment. Is it organized—or cluttered? Clutter can be distracting and create a negative impression for people who visit your office in-person and virtually through video conferencing. Remove clutter and tidy up your desk.
- Do a digital audit of yourself. Google yourself and review all your social media accounts. Consider deleting less-than-ideal content. Remember that social media can be both an asset and a liability.
After reading these suggestions, I hope you feel inspired! How many can you do today? Check a few off your list now, and consider challenging yourself to complete all 25 items in one month. This will surely give your career a boost!