How to Progress Your Career.

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( Life can feel like a loop sometimes: wake up, head to work, and then go to bed. For many people, this has left them feeling stuck in life and their careers. However, there is a solution that many people don’t always consider: making the steps to progress your career. In times of trouble, whether this is a personal one or one that affects the country or even the world, it can seem harder to achieve this. Many people believe that times like this can limit an employee’s or employer’s prospect for progression. However, your career doesn’t have to stand still because of this, neither does communication.

Why progress your career?

Advancement in your career can have a life-changing effect: a higher salary, more knowledge, and more time for the things that matter to you. It can also hugely diversify your workload and make the daily grind feel a little less grinding.

Despite the disarray of personal or more prominent setbacks, there are ways to fight back and start a job that you love to go to every single day and can grow in! Not only will it benefit you and make you feel happier, but it will also transform your family life. You won’t feel stressed or miserable as you come home from a long hard day at work. Instead, you will be looking forward to the opportunities that await you and feeling more confident as a result.

career choices 2021

Your career and why it shouldn’t be on hold

There is no perfect time to advance your career. Life, family, and social distancing can all get in the way of making your 9-5 as enjoyable and prosperous as possible. But it’s easy to forget amongst the chaos and disorder that you only have one life: one chance to be a great leader! If career achievements are something that matters to you, don’t let anything hold you back. Instead, turn this rare and uncomfortable time into a period of bettering yourself and your lifestyle.

Below is an assortment of tips, suitable for every sector, to advance your career no matter what you are currently facing.

1.    Train further in your field

Education is the key in every industry. Whether you work in public services, in an office, or as a laborer, more qualifications almost always mean a higher salary and more work-life balance. Training further in your field could be far easier than you think and more affordable too.

If you’re a trained nurse, for example, why not advance your career with an online degree program and become a Family Nursing Practitioner or FNP? FNPs earn, on average, $97,000 to $100,000 per year, compared with a Registered Nurse (RN), who takes home, on average, $50,000 per annum. With a potential double in salary, the flexibility to study at home, placement organization, and graduation in as little as two and a half years, furthering your education with an online FNP degree while maintaining a part or full-time job is a great way to advance your nursing career!

The flexibility of home learning isn’t restricted to the healthcare sphere: there are countless online and distance learning courses available to study in the comfort of your own home, around your busy family life. Subjects range from web development to opera singing and film making – the possibilities are endless. The internet is rife with opportunity; it’s simply about knowing where to look. No matter what space of the market you occupy, competence and certification in a wider range of tasks, will equal higher earning prospects and is a sure way to advance your career.

2.    Win independent contracts with clients

If you know that you’re an expert at what you do and dream of earning more per project, building your own freelance client basis could be a great way to take control of your workload whilst increasing your salary. This allows you to set your rates, work hours and implement principles of your preferred style.

Using the previous case of an FNP, freelancing can increase earning potential up to as much as $220,000 per year! This is a life-changing jump from the average RN earnings.

Many corporate companies are closing in-house teams and outsourcing for services and products instead. This has many advantages for the company and the freelance provider. All that stands between a mediocre service and a great, recommendable service is the effort applied by the freelancer.

Although a lot of hard work goes into successful freelancing gigs, the high reward often outweighs this heavy demand. The requirement for specialized professionals in every sector is fast increasing. To be prepared for this, you can channel your monotony into the creation of your success as a freelancer.

Whilst contractual gigs can be unstable, taking on your own projects and undergoing every stage of the process unaided will teach valuable skills and provide unrivaled practical experience. As a result, your career shows progress, and your earning potential reflects this.

3.    Sign up to do some agency work

Agencies play the role of the middleman. They have the contacts to find many work opportunities, and the agency employees have the skills to complete the orders. Commonly, agencies are highly specialized, and directors are often extremely skilled in their field.

If you are considering becoming an FNP and want to work for an agency, the variety of work environments, responsibilities, and shift patterns provides ample opportunity to use and practice skills that aren’t in high demand in your day-to-day. FNPs have a wider range of duties to fulfill, a higher potential salary, and the ability to thrive in several different environments, including ambulatory care centers, clinics, and in the emergency room. For an RN or FNP, agency work tends to pay a little higher than full-time positions and provide more flexible working hours.

Similarly, other professionals, including creatives and manual workers, can also take on agency work to fill the gaps in their time and income. Practice makes perfect in every professional sector; agency work can supply some much-needed experience, exactly when you need it the most!

4.    Find a mentor who inspires you

Finding someone whose route to success and the product of their hard work that you admire can help guide your career progression, following the same path or deviating from it. Simply discussing your goals with someone you consider a mentor can be enlightening and help you to make a long-term plan.

If a mentor is responsive and provides constructive advice regarding your career progression, this will be extremely helpful and may even motivate you if you’re feeling defeated by the effects of the coronavirus on your career, for example. More specifically, you could ask for help identifying your weak areas and solutions to help you fix them.

As an FNP, chances are your appointed leader will also act as a mentor for you during your time working together. However, this doesn’t mean that FNPs don’t benefit from outside mentors to support them as they grow in practice.

Nadia Santana, an FNP, professional mentor, and author, says, as a new FNP, I’d often wish that I had a mentor or resource to help me through the many challenges that I faced.”

Mentorship and feeling supported are vital to anyone’s career confidence, so no matter what sector you occupy, becoming a mentee will ensure you’re always on the path of progression that’s most suited to your needs.

5.    Ask for feedback

Although it can be daunting at times, asking superiors, colleagues, and clients for feedback on the work you produce is an excellent way to make sure you’re on the right track. In most cases, the feedback giver will offer up an issue or two with the work submitted. It’s your job to cultivate and implement a solution that works for everyone. This could be a simple fix or the addition of a procedure or policy to better manage the problem.

Receiving feedback is all about actively taking on board the criticisms and accepting your own (current) shortfalls. Only by accepting and changing can you improve and advance.

As a side benefit, employers appreciate workers who have a consistent focus on improvement, both on a personal level and for the benefit of the business. The trait of caring about your work quality and the genuine desire to improve can drive your boss’ wish to promote you, resulting in successful career progression and, most likely, a raise!

Asking for feedback from the appropriate authoritative figures can also reduce the symptoms of burnout, making your general day to day less taxing. Burnout occurs when you are physically and psychologically exhausted from prolonged stress. It’s often the result of expending an unsustainable amount of energy into daily tasks, which goes on to affect the remainder of the working day, concentration levels, and focus. Especially important for public services roles, such as an FNP, feedback can help reduce the energy used and, along with it, your chance of experiencing burnout.

6.    Network, network, network

Networking is big business and can provide an unparalleled opportunity for personal and professional growth. Although on pause until socializing is once again acceptable, in-person networking can be a very valuable form of expansion and a chance to communicate partnership proposals with emotion and passion.

In 2020, networking moved online as a result of social restrictions and retained its value to many people. In a way, this is more effective, with a larger reach and more potential. The first step is finding somewhere in the WIFI-sphere to network and show off your awesome skillset to potential collaborators and employers.

The real dream is to be at the top of your networking reputation: the go-to game-changer for industry-relevant advice and information. The best way to become this elusive walking encyclopedia is to know your industry, inside and out. Keep yourself updated on relevant news, journals, and big players. As ever: with knowledge comes progression!

For the FNP role, virtual conferences, online communities, and networking programs are great ways to find new job opportunities, skill enhancement possibilities, stay up to date with ever-changing healthcare regulations, and engage with other medical professionals. This all contributes towards a wider and more holistic perspective of healthcare for the FNP, who may not have explored other areas such as pharmacology or midwifery in the past.

7.    Make your plan, then live it

Having an idea of where you’ll be in 10 years can feel rather ridiculous, looking at the current state of the economy, politics, and worldwide health. However, having a plan is a crucial ingredient to career success and an opportunity to look inwards.

Writing down your goals can help reaffirm your dedication and motivate you to make the small changes needed to get there. If writing isn’t your strong suit, or if you feel overwhelmed by the prospect, try a different medium to communicate with your future self. You can assemble a mood board, compiled of visual goals, or calendar the steps to reach each milestone.

Even though having a plan is a very smart way to stay on track, don’t be discouraged from changing your plan, even if your end goal remains the same. If writing it all out doesn’t seem like your thing, find a different medium to layout your long and short-term career goals, along with a loose time frame.

To sum it all up…

An enhanced level of education is a sure way to set you aside from your peers, and with home learning and flexible options available, anyone can do it! Financial aid is often also available, and course progression is smoothly monitored from afar.

As a final note, the above methods of career progression can be extremely profitable and victorious, even amongst the daily chaos of everyday life. However, each option requires diligence, hard work, and dedication to your goals. This might mean giving up your evenings, missed quality time with family, and temporary unavailability when it comes to having fun. However, advancing your role, responsibilities and salary could have a life-changing effect on your home life that neutralizes these sacrifices.

Staff Writer; Brad James