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How to accelerate your career development

Feb 22, 2019
In the age of frequent job hopping, the importance of self-career development is an increasingly vital component to an individual’s success within the workplace. Dearbhla Gallagher explains how to get your career moving.

Long gone are the days of being a 'company man'. People move offices and jobs more than ever before. For ambitious employees, self-development can be extremely effective for enhancing professional progression and acceleration up the career ladder. In order to progress, the following steps can be taken:

1. Find a mentor

One of the best ways to attain marketable skills and gain support is through a suitable mentor. It should be someone who can support you in your professional accolades and ascent and help further you in your development. Mentors can have profoundly positive career impacts, from assisting your development of new perspectives to helping you to gain a better understanding of your industry and organisation. Having the trusted experience of a mentor provide you with guidance, encouragement and support will enable you to build confidence in your ability to execute tasks and, ultimately, improve your performance in the workplace.

2. Grow your personal brand

In order to sell your personal brand in the marketplace, you must become your own chief marketing officer. Constantly analyse, refine and improve upon the ways to market yourself, and assess how you appear in the job market. One of the best ways to gain a competitive advantage and improve your own brand image is through education.

Seek out short-term educational opportunities in the forms of webinars, online courses, after work classes, etc. LinkedIn’s new eLearning platform offers an abundance of opportunities in this area for self-development.

3. Seek performance feedback

It is important to gain feedback in every task that you undertake, even if it is negative. It is reported that only 15% of millennial employees routinely ask for such feedback. However, this is the only way for you to gauge your current proficiency and truly improve upon your skill set. In the absence of criticism, it is often difficult to become self-aware. Feedback from others informs us in ways that enriches our self-knowledge.

When asking for feedback, try to be specific and focus narrowly on the area where you need help. Those employees who are willing to take criticism on board are the ones who will be most receptive to changing behaviour, and therefore more likely to demonstrate success in their career path.

My advice

Companies in this day and age expect much greater individuality, flexibility and creativity from their employees. Rising to positions of leadership, therefore, requires workers to craft their own career development strategies. There is much power to be gained through growing your personal brand, finding a mentor and gaining feedback, and this is illustrated in the corporate leaders of today.

Dearbhla Gallagher is the Manager of People Development at Baker Tilly.