Many employees seek growth within their careers. Professional growth and career advancement offer some pretty attractive benefits including higher salaries, greater respect, and more exciting projects. It doesn’t happen overnight, but there are some strategies that may help you become a stronger employee, and set you up for success down the road.

Improving upon your skills and taking on more responsibility at work are just a couple of ways you can accelerate your professional growth. Check out the rest:

Set Smart Goals and Create a Plan

Having a clear idea of where you are and where you want to go in your career is essential. Assess your assets, challenges, and roadblocks in order to determine your goals. All three of these are important aspects of moving your career forward.

After figuring out what exactly you want to get out of your career, ask yourself the question, “Where do you see yourself in one year?” What about five? Ten? How old do you plan to be when it’s time to retire? What benchmarks will you use to measure success at the one, five, and ten-year points? Make sure these benchmarks are realistic, or else you will be setting yourself up for failure.

All of these questions will help you form your goal. The next step is figuring out how to get there. Set short team goals to reach that long-term goal or your true professional purpose.

Utilize Your Network

Building, nurturing, and maintaining your professional network is hands down one of the most vital parts of professional development. It is so simple to stay connected with your network and these people can make all the difference if your trying to advance your career or even move up within your current company. Depending on your relationship, you can even use some of these connections as references!

Attending lectures, trade shows, meetups, or other events specifically targeted to professionals in your industry is a great way to meet people who might one day help you pivot your career.

Find a Mentor

Sometimes the best way to grow is to find a mentor. Turn to someone whose career you admire who can give you objective advice. This person can guide you on your path to professional growth, and may also be able to teach you new things you need to climb the career ladder.

Despite just cultivating new skills and guiding you, engaging with a mentor also provides a sense of stability, constructive feedback, and an unbiased perspective on your goals, strengths, and challenges

Attend Professional Development Events

There are a ton of professional development events out there that can help you meet your goals. The key is finding one that aligns with your needs. Ask your employer if there are any in-house events, or search the web for ones local to you. Sometimes, employers will even reimburse staff who participate in such programs!

Further Your Education

Whether your goal is to advance in your career at your current organization, transition to a new role elsewhere, or work in a brand new industry, furthering your education is one strategy that can help you.
Continuing your education gives you a structured path to learn new skills you need for success. It also demonstrates to employers that you are a lifelong learner who values self-improvement and can even help you keep up with new trends.

Use Performance Reviews to Your Advantage

Performance reviews are a great way for employers to show employees where they are meeting expectations and where they may be falling short. If you make it known that you have goals for professional development and your employer or supervisor knows about these defined goals, you can work together to identify a plan of action that will allow you to get where you want to be. whether that means learning new skills, gaining new experience, or something else entirely, your employer can help.

Professional Growth is something that everyone should focus on. Whether you’re just learning new skills and bettering yourself as an employee, or want to move up in the ranks, these tips can help you do both!