Insights & Ideas

Career development: Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow

Woman working on computer and gazing off in thought

Want to be successful? Take responsibility for your own career development.

We’ve all acquired a variety of new work-related skills (e.g., how to set up a home office or how to handle a barking dog during an important call). But, true career development? When big transformations and disruptions happen, career development often falls off the priority list.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. While organizations have a responsibility to offer opportunities to develop their teams, it’s also your responsibility. Don’t wait for someone to invite you to be a continuous learner. After all, it’s your career. You know more than anyone about your goals, values, and what you want to accomplish in your work. Your future is waiting!

Most of the well-worn strategies for growing your career can still work—with some minor adjustments. Here are a few tried-and-true ideas to get you started:

Set goals and stick to them

These days—when everything seems to be changing rapidly and staying stuck in rut at the very same time—goals are critical. Whether your personal career development plan includes networking with colleagues, learning a new language (Portuguese or Python), or project goals; set aside time to focus on achieving them. Not only will it help your career, but it will also be something to steady to guide you when life throws curveballs.

Don’t just tolerate organizational change—help it happen

Where there is change, there is opportunity for you to learn and grow. Volunteer for the cross-functional task force. Raise your hand for that new project. Suggest a new project. Volunteering increases the chances you’ll get to work with new people and experience work you’ve never done before. And even if you don’t get selected to work on a specific project, your leaders will likely appreciate your initiative.

Be deliberate about building relationships

Building relationships across your organization is one of the most important ways to grow your career. Prior to the rise of remote and hybrid work, you might have built relationships by talking to people at the water cooler or in the hallway. But now, you need to be more strategic. Set up regular check-ins with your close colleagues and ask people outside your team if they’d have time for an informational meeting so you can learn more about their work. Don’t worry about being a pest; most people will be flattered that you’re interested in what they do.

Be a mentor yourself

You can also learn a lot by mentoring others. When you teach someone about what you do, you’ll get a new perspective about your work—what you enjoy, what you don’t, where there are challenges, and where there are opportunities. This leads to clarity around your development goals.

You can be a formal mentor to a student or a member of the team that is at the start of their career. Or, if there are any new hires on your team, offer to be their onboarding buddy—helping them meet new people and get comfortable in their role. This gives you another reason to contact your colleagues, too.

Between everything changing in the world and your day-to-day responsibilities at work and home, it can be easy to put off your own development activities. Remember—learning new things is a great way to stay energized and engaged—and it will make you an increasingly valuable resource at work.


About Salo

Salo matches senior consultants in finance, accounting, and HR with organizations that need their expertise. Need help setting up career development programs or processes? Connect with us today.

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