Climbing the career ladder isn’t just something that needs to be done to help you earn more; it’s important for your sense of fulfillment as well. In fact, your sense of accomplishment hinges on you making strides in your career.
Not everyone needs to become a top-level executive or a business owner to feel accomplished in their efforts. What everyone does need to do, however, is find that perfect sweet spot where they love what they do, they get paid well for what they do, and they feel like what they do has an impact.
There is a Japanese term for this sweet spot, called Ikigai. The only issue with Ikigai is that, for most, you will need to stray from the beaten path to find that perfect place in your life and in your career.
Forging your own way ahead is not easy. For some, it can feel downright impossible, but with the right steps, you can make your way towards a better, more enjoyable career and can start taking steps that matter, and you can get started by following these four effective tips:
Invest in Business Skills
If you want to climb the career ladder, then having a background in business is almost always going to help. If you are serious about becoming an executive or starting your own business (freelance, consulting, or managed), you will want to invest in your business skills.
There are so many reasons to invest in business skills, particularly if you are a creative. Creativity and business just go hand-in-hand, and neither are better without the other. That is why every creative person, even those looking to become artists, will benefit massively from something like an MBA. Similarly, those in corporate roles will be better by introducing creative elements to their problem-solving.
Don’t Limit Your Passions
We all need to pay the bills, which means that the job we currently have might not be what we are interested in, passionate about, or even on the right career field. However, that does not mean you should allow yourself to get stuck. Instead, explore your passions and invest in your interests – with the power of the online world, you will be absolutely amazed at how many opportunities will become available to you just by sticking with what you love.
Community is important, even in the business world. For example, if you are passionate about environmentalism, you can apply any professional background with that passion – so long as you can show it.
That’s why the first step is to continue to invest in learning. You never know when you’ll find a new passion, and more importantly, being knowledgeable about a subject, even if you didn’t study it specifically, is a key requirement to turn that passion into a career.
You can use these resources to continue to invest your knowledge:
- Academic courses (free and paid)
- Books, articles, and journals
- Documentaries, Video Talks, Podcasts
- Talks, Events, Workshops, and Conferences
You can learn anywhere, at any time. You don’t need to stick strictly with what you want to start a career in, either. Reading anything, for example, even fiction helps your brain and your vocabulary – two things that can help you with your career.
Network the Right Way
Networking events can be useful, but chances are you’ll find everyone is most interested in introducing themselves and building their own network rather than genuinely connecting. This can result in networking events feeling rather clinical, even though the goal is to allow those in the same field to meet.
There are much better and less nerve-wracking ways to network. A great place to start, for example, is online. There are many great social job sites out there beyond just LinkedIn. You can answer questions, offer advice, and even organize projects between previous strangers, all online.
In-person, the best way to network is to get out there. Attend as many events, talks, and conferences as you can. These often have either parties or meet-and-greets that you can use to network more naturally, as you have a topic and an event in common to break the ice.
Whatever you do, remember that re-engagement is critical. So, stay in touch online, and with your closest or most important networking friends, try to meet up once in a while, or organize to go to work events together, so that you can really foster a strong relationship that can help open doors and make opportunities for yourself.
Become an Expert
Being an expert is much easier than you may think because you don’t need to have a PhD. The world of influencers means that anyone can grow a following, showcase what they know, think, and offer advice. You can do this and use that to gain popularity and grow your reputation in your field.
Nothing is stopping you from starting this at the very beginning of your career, either. So long as you offer advice and insight that other industry experts agree with or at least understand, then you’re showcasing what you know and learning a lot along the way.
Maintaining a blog, for example, requires all of these skills:
- Website design and development
- Website management
- Content creation
- Marketing (social medial, PPC, PR, etc.)
- Customer Service
- And more
Running a successful website, and growing a decent following, turns you into a brand. Brands are businesses in their own right, which makes you incredibly valuable. You can use that following to start a business of your own or showcase your skills, reach, and influence on potential employers.
Staying online and on your own website/social profiles is also just the start. You can get paid to guest post, to guest talk, and more. You can monetize your blog, can create courses for people to pay, and so on.
What this means is that working to become an expert and recognized in your field doesn’t just pay off for your career, it can pay you outright, allowing you to diversify your own income while also marketing yourself and your skills for a variety of purposes.