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Looking to take your career and professional growth to the next level? These 5 strategies can help you pursue your goals!

1. Nurture your network

A strong network is key to growing your career. This means doing more than giving out your contact information or connecting with people on LinkedIn. Networking requires making and maintaining genuine connections and relationships, inside and outside of work. The people in your network can range from current and former classmates to coworkers to church members to neighbors.

As for nurturing your network, how you interact with others can’t be one-sided. You can’t always be asking for introductions or advice. You should also be offering to help however you can! In the end, the goal is to have mutually beneficial relationships to whatever extent possible. For more tips on networking, see our blog on building a professional network.

2. Find a mentor

Talking to friends or family members about your career can be helpful, but sometimes you need a little more. Everyone can benefit from having a professional mentor. A mentor is someone you can turn to for recommendations and advice on your general career path or specific goals. They can help you determine where you want to go and guide you in that direction. They can introduce you to new ideas and opportunities and help you expand your network.

When looking for a mentor, consider the people you admire in the workplace. A mentor could be someone at the place where you currently work or where you might want to work. They could be an instructor you know, a former boss or successful colleague, or maybe an alumnus from the school you attended. A mentor can even be someone who recently retired from your field of interest. While they should be knowledgeable about your field, your mentor doesn’t have to have had the exact same career path as you. Also know that one mentor might not be able to help with all aspects of your career journey, and having multiple people you can turn to for advice on different areas is very useful.

3. Communicate your goals

If you want to move up in your current company, let your intentions be known. Talk with your manager or supervisor. Tell them you want to take on new challenges and responsibilities. Showing your desire and drive will make people more likely to trust you and demonstrate that they can count on you to deliver. If you’re looking to move into a different role in the organization, your manager may be able to put in a good word or introduce you to the right people. Perhaps they’ll even suggest a mentor. Your manager may also be able to recommend professional associations or work committees you should join. Whatever it is you want, the first step is to ask for it!

Of course, if you’re looking to start an entirely new job or change companies, this becomes harder. If you do know anyone with connections to what you want to do, talk with them about your interests. They may be able to offer advice, and you never know where the next opportunity might come from.

4. Seek feedback

If you’re not sure what you need to do to grow, ask current or former coworkers and bosses for feedback. Find out what you’re doing well and what you could be doing better. See what skills others recommend you learn and develop. Once you identify where you can improve and any gaps in your knowledge or resume, figure out how to address those areas. If you’re currently employed, let your manager know you’re working on those growth areas and share accomplishments and progress as you do.

Likewise, once you know your strengths and where you’re already making a difference, you can work on increasing that impact. Look for projects to get involved with and responsibilities to take on that let you showcase your strengths. Eventually an opportunity will arise that could lead to advancing in your career!

5. Continue your education

Furthering your education can allow you to refine existing skills and gain new ones that align with your interests and goals. Depending on the type of education chosen, you could develop not only industry- and job-specific knowledge and skills, but also skills in areas like critical thinking, leadership, decision making and communication. Educational options range from individual trainings and short courses to full undergraduate and graduate degree programs. With online and flexible learning opportunities available at all levels, many learning programs won’t even require you to take time off from your job.

If you have your heart set on a certain role, a specific degree or education level may be required. Even for positions without these defined requirements, continuing your education will demonstrate your commitment to the field and to your own professional growth. Beyond knowledge and skill development, benefits of continuing your education can include expanding your network to encompass instructors, classmates and program staff. If you’re lucky, one or more of these people could also become a mentor to you! In some cases, you’ll also acquire access to career services to help you on your professional journey.

Discover how South University could help you.

South University offers a wide range of programs online and on our campus locations, including associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs as well as post graduate certificates for advanced practice nurses. In all programs, students take focused, practical courses while receiving individualized attention and support. Drawing on their academic and professional experiences, our instructors work to support the professional and academic growth of every student, offering guidance and mentorship wherever possible. Students can also access various support services (including career services) and may participate in student and professional organizations. To learn more, call 855-884-2408 or request information today.