These tips are just the job if you want to develop your career

If the thought of waking up for work on a Monday morning fills you with dread, it could be a sign that it’s time for a change.

Learning a new skill will boost your confidence when it comes to discussing a pay rise or promotion. Photograph: PA
Learning a new skill will boost your confidence when it comes to discussing a pay rise or promotion. Photograph: PA

Laura Holden, from jobs website Reed.co.uk, shares tips on boosting your career opportunities.

Set yourself career goals

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The new year is a perfect time to reflect on the previous year, and plan for the future. When you have a clear sense of direction, you’re much more likely to achieve your goals. Set yourself realistic career goals and deadlines to achieve them by. If your ambition is to climb the career ladder, find out exactly what you need to do to get there. Creating a personal action plan is an effective way to monitor your progress.

It could simply be a list of five or six achievements you want to accomplish in the next six months – milestones to achieving your overall objectives. For example, if achieving a promotion is your overall objective, you might take a management course as part of one of the steps to get there. Keeping a record of what you’ve done will also come in handy when it’s time for those all important career conversations with your boss.

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Regularly update your CV

When you’re in a stable role, it’s easy to neglect your CV. But try not to let it gather dust until the next time you’re actively looking for work. As you improve professionally, so should your CV. If you complete a course, or take on new responsibilities in your current job, add these to your CV when they occur, rather than scrambling around a week before an interview to remember the exact details.

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Make connections

If you don’t already have a habit of building professional contacts, this is a good place to start in 2019. In a world of global connectivity, many employers expect you to have ready-made professional networks. So follow suit and maintain strong, positive relationships with the people you work with regularly.

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Be proactive in your networking. Sign up to professional networking websites and connect with those you have worked with in the past. They may even give you a reference or testimonial if your experience working together was positive. Try to regularly engage with content from influencers in your industry to build your network further.

Learn a new skill

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Boosting your skill-set will help if you’re looking for a new role, or at the very least, boost your confidence when it comes to discussing a pay rise or promotion with your employer. Use the job descriptions of roles you aspire to as a reference. Pick out any key skills you don’t have and find a professional development course that addresses these gaps.

Find a mentor

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If your organisation doesn’t have a mentoring scheme, you can always suggest implementing one. Alternatively, consider approaching people directly who you would like to receive coaching from. This doesn’t have to be your boss. It could be someone who has experienced a similar career progression to yourself, or someone with specific technical skills.

A mentor is someone who can offer you advice and answer questions you may have about the organisation and offer career guidance. Be clear with your mentor about the kind of guidance you’re seeking. Chances are they’ve been in your position at some point and will be able to share their experiences with you.