Traditional advice on progressing your career typically falls into two categories:
- Do a fantastic job while managing up
- Make the right connections and convince them of your value
While both of these approaches are solid, depending on your situation, you might need to be a little more creative. If you’re looking for inspiration, here are five outside-the-box career boosters for 2023.
1. Work closely with people near the end of their career
People who are later in their careers can help you see the bigger picture and help you focus on what matters. People with experience understand that if you waste too much time focusing on things that don’t matter, you could fail to achieve your full potential.
Mature professionals can also teach you to solve problems better. They may not have seen everything, but their experience has likely taught them to spot patterns and identify solutions. Effective problem-solving partially means having the right mindset, tools, and techniques available.
[ Related read: 3 tools for IT job seekers. ]
What does progress look like? Take steps that matter and clarify what you want to accomplish in your career and why you want to accomplish it.
2. Work closely with people who are new to your organization
Recent hires bring a special energy and perspective. They can help give you fresh eyes for what matters outside of your organization and what is unique about it. Over time, it can be easy to start taking for granted the things that make your organization great. People who are new to your organization can remind you of why it is exciting to work there.
What does progress look like? Getting a deeper understanding of what makes your company stand out so you can communicate better with potential customers and collaborate more effectively with colleagues.
3. Work closely with people who are early in their career
People who are early in their careers have perspectives that you will never have. That’s not only because they are new to the company, but also because they have probably grown up in a different generation with different assumptions and priorities. They can show you things about the current generation in the context of the workplace that you may have never considered. Their energy and fresh perspective could change your goals and career outlook – you may even decide to take a chance on a new domain or product idea.
What does progress look like? Gaining perspective and potential motivation about what you want to focus on, especially regarding your career goals.
4. Listen a lot and learn outside of your field
Learning what’s going on inside and outside your organization and your field can help you better understand and prioritize what really matters to people outside your sphere, which will help you have better conversations with potential customers.
What does progress look like? Working with clients better and clarifying how you fit into the bigger picture.
5. Explain what you do in ways that are appropriate for your audience
When people ask you what you do, answer in a way that they will understand, based on what you know about them.
Refining your message for different audiences helps in a few ways: You’ll understand things more fully, and others will work with you more effectively. It helps you communicate with colleagues at all levels of the organization. And finally, customers will buy into what you are selling them.
What does progress look like? Clarifying your message for customers and stakeholders allows you to focus and make progress in a way that they understand.
In a time when career progress may be harder to achieve using traditional tactics and motivation might be waning, these alternative approaches can help you reboot. You’ll never regret getting fresh ideas, perspectives, and energy.
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