The business sector can be a fast-paced and exciting environment to work in, and there are various paths you can follow. You might be interested in accounting, consulting, recruitment, sales, marketing, events, or perhaps even have dreams of starting a business one day, to name but a few options. While these opportunities are there to be seized, there is also a lot of competition when it comes to these sought-after roles, and this can make working your way up the career ladder more challenging. Having talent and the right skills is all well and good, but there are plenty of other candidates out there who can offer this to prospective employers as well. This is why it’s important to think about how you can make yourself stand out and map out your path as best you can so that you make the strides in your career that you want.
If you are just starting your business career or you have been working in your role for a while and would like to take those next steps, here are a few tips to keep in mind that could help you get ahead and turn your ambitions into a reality.
- Do Your Research
Whether you have some idea of where you would like to go in your career or not, doing some research into your options and the different routes you can take to achieve your goals is important. If you’re not sure what direction you would like to take your career in, looking at your transferable skills and what options are available to someone in your current role could help to give you some better ideas of what might be suitable for you. If you do have an idea of where you would like to go in your career, then looking into the various avenues you can explore to get to that promotion or transition into a different role is key. There is often more than one way of getting there, so understanding what these options are and how achievable they would be for your circumstances is essential.
- Consider Further Training and/or Education
While not all business sector jobs will require a college degree, the majority of them do. If you do not have the relevant qualifications that an employer is asking for, you will unlikely be considered as a potential candidate. This is why thinking about getting a degree or returning to higher education to get a master’s or Ph.D. could be worth your time. If you are worried about fitting your studies around work, explore the option of enrolling in an online degree program, as these can be much more flexible. As an example, read more about this online MBA course to learn about how this could be beneficial to your career journey, particularly if you want to move into leadership roles.
College degrees aren’t the only option to explore; you can also look into other training opportunities that your employer might offer. Whether the company you work for can provide in-house training or recommend courses that they consider to be beneficial, think about asking your manager about these training opportunities to help you develop your skills. Taking part in this kind of additional training will also make it clear that you are serious about your career progression and are willing to put in the extra time to make your goals happen, and this can be a very attractive quality in a candidate.
Having the right qualifications and a good reference from your current employer will certainly help you to get noticed when you apply for jobs, but knowing the right people will also work in your favor. You don’t have to become best friends with potential employers, of course, but networking with your colleagues and even other professionals outside of your working environment could help to give you an edge. This could be through learning about upcoming vacancies before anyone else, getting advice and tips on how to make your application stand out, or even the opportunity to collaborate with other professionals on projects that will look impressive on your resume.
Creating a professional profile on LinkedIn is a good place to start, but you shouldn’t limit your networking opportunities to this platform. See if any other organized networking events are relevant to the industry you work in nearby. Attending these events will be a good chance to make more professional connections, and if you’re lucky, you might even make friends there, too. Conventions and trade fairs are other places that can provide good networking opportunities as well as learning about new and innovative ideas within your industry. Remember to take some business cards with you to hand out and think of some ice-breakers to help start conversations and relax the mood. While a casual approach can be beneficial, do remember that you are still at a professional event, so keep this in mind when you are speaking to people.
- Be Open to the Idea of Relocating
There might be plenty of job opportunities for you in the town or city you currently live in, or the option of working remotely has become more prevalent in recent years too. However, there might be times when these prospects aren’t as abundant as you would like. If you are serious about getting ahead in your career in business, being open to the idea of relocating for a position could make this easier for you.
There is a lot to think about when it comes to moving to a new place for a job, such as the cost of moving, making connections both professionally and socially in your hometown, and perhaps even learning a new language if the job that you’re interested in is located in a foreign country. It is certainly not a decision to be taken lightly, but if you do want to broaden your horizons when it comes to your career, it is an option worth exploring.
- Make Sure You’re Being a Great Team Player
If you want to get noticed for a promotion or make sure you get a good reference when you do come to apply for other roles, you need to prove that you are a valuable member of your team. While using your initiative and being able to work independently is certainly an attractive quality, if you don’t work well with others, this can hinder your progress. You don’t always have to work overtime, but offering to do extra hours when a project deadline needs meeting or there are additional tasks to take on is something that your manager and other colleagues will appreciate. Being punctual is also something to look out for; if you are consistently late to work or often leave early for some reason or another, this is unreliable and makes it appear as though you are not serious or passionate about your job.
Another way you can be a good team player is by helping to keep up morale, and you can do this by socializing with your colleagues or perhaps occasionally bringing in treats for everyone to enjoy.
- Keep Updated with Industry News
Another way to help you stand out as a candidate in interviews and applications is by showing your knowledge of the business sector, specifically the area that you work in. Keeping up to date with industry news and being able to make intelligent comments regarding these current affairs can help you to look more competent and passionate about what you do. Even keeping in the loop with the news more generally could be beneficial, as these events can often impact the way the business sector operates and determine consumer trends. There are plenty of blogs and other publications you can access to give you these insights, and you may find that they help you to come up with some innovative ideas yourself.
- Think About What You Can Do Outside of the Office
Finally, think about what other projects you can get involved in outside of the office that is relevant to your career. For example, start a blog or podcast where you can talk about your experiences and even invite other professionals you know to write or speak as guests on these channels with you. Volunteering your time to charities or other organizations to develop your skills is also a desirable feature in a candidate and shows that you are happy to give back to your local community and are willing to use some of your spare time to do this.
Trying to get ahead in your career, whether it’s in the business sector or not, can sometimes feel overwhelming. You might go through times when it feels as though you are getting nowhere, but perseverance is key. To give yourself a better chance of succeeding in your career the way that you would like, think about the tips listed above, as they could do a lot to help you stand out and prove how passionate you are about what you do.