The last thing you want to do is be stuck in the same job with the same salary and benefits for decades. To avoid being stuck in a rut, you need to keep your career moving forward and move up, getting better, more interesting jobs with a better salary. Here are five ways to keep your career moving forward.
1) Change Companies
Apply to jobs at different companies, even if you do not feel fully qualified for them or they are in a different city. It never hurts to apply and even if you do not think you are fully qualified, your potential future employer might disagree.
If you get a better opportunity in another city, then be willing to move and you can advance faster. This is not always a good option for people, especially if they have a family or they are worried about higher living costs in other cities but they should at least consider it, especially if they are not in love with where they are living now. Leaving your comfort zone and changing companies or cities can be a huge step in moving up your career and improving your life.
2) Go Small
If you work for a smaller company, you will automatically be given more responsibility and work your way up the chain of command because there will be less competition within the company.
3) Start a Side Gig
If you do not think you have the opportunity to develop skills and demonstrate your ability within your company then you certainly do in your free time. Start a blog or develop a product and market it. Make sure your side gig shows the abilities you will need in your ideal job. You can demonstrate marketing skills, creative skills, design skills, and leadership skills and more through a side gig.
If you are not sure what skills you need in your ideal job, then ask your boss or mentor. They will most likely be willing to tell you what you need to work on to help you advance. You can also look in the "preferred skills" section on job listings for your ideal job to see which skills are more preferred.
Even if you do not have these skills yet, starting a side gig will help you develop them. Make sure to take it seriously and possibly take some classes to help you better run your side gig. At the very least, sticking to a side gig will show you have a great work ethic.
4) Attend Conferences in Your Industry
A lot of the time, your career relies on networking to move forward. Find desirable conferences in your industry and attend as many as you can. You will meet and develop relationships with significant people in your industry and you will be able to reach out to them later when you are looking for a job.
When there, make sure to talk with everyone, not just a few people you deem significant. You never know who will become a valuable connection to you. After the conference, add the people you meet on professional social media sites and possibly send them an email or message saying it was a pleasure meeting them.
5) Go Back to School
Going back to college and getting a Master's, Ph.D. or even another Bachelor's will teach you valuable skills that can help you in the job world. It will also make you much more valuable to an employer and you will have a better shot at moving up in the company or through applying to jobs outside your company.
If you are worried about the cost of college, see if your company is willing to pay for it. Many businesses are willing to pay for at least part of your education costs if you enter into a valuable major that will help you do your job better or help you progress in the company. If the company will pay for at least part of your education then you should definitely take that opportunity to gain new skills.
Keeping your career moving forward might seem intimidating and difficult, but it is possible, even in this competitive job market. Just remember to never settle and be willing to adapt and grow to advance in your career.