There comes a time in everyone’s professional life when they start to feel like they are getting stuck in the mud. Maybe you’ve been stuck in the same role for too long, and it doesn’t look like any opportunities for promotion are coming your way. Maybe you feel like you have been doing the same kind of thing for too long and you want to get out and try something new. When it feels like things are going nowhere in your professional life, things can start to drag very quickly.
However, there are always opportunities for kickstarting change in your career and getting yourself closer to that next rung on the ladder. Things may have been somewhat chaotic (to put it lightly) over the last eighteen months, but even in a pandemic you can create opportunities, re-evaluate your skill set and make yourself a more enticing prospect to a prospective employer. If you are looking to take the next step, here are a few tips to help you get started.
Don’t Rush to Quit
A lot of people feel stuck in their job because it feels like they are underappreciated, or they realise that it is not the career path that they had in mind. When you come to a realisation as powerful as that, it can be very tempting to take drastic action to get out of there as quickly as you can.
However, it is important to remember that bailing out before you have a proper plan in place is always going to be asking for trouble. You should keep in mind that, although the job market is bouncing back from the pandemic lows, things are still unpredictable out there. What’s more, if you leave without a strategy, you risk a longer period of unemployment and those gaps on your CV can be difficult to explain in a job interview. Don’t just walk out, start thinking about what you want your next step to be.
Think About What Skills You Need to Get To Where You Want to Be
Two of the most common answers that anyone will hear to the question of “Why did they give that job to someone else and not me?” are that “They had more experience” and “They had the exact qualifications.” You can argue as hard as you want in the interview or when you are talking to your boss about giving you a chance on a new project, but sometimes you simply cannot talk them out of going with someone whose CV matches the specifications precisely.
Instead of beating your head against the wall, look at what skills or experience these people have and think about how you can get it. Experience can be a little trickier to secure, but you could always try asking to sit in on project meetings or to shadow a colleague. Skills and knowledge, on the other hand, are things that you can gain without having to ask for permission. The pandemic has highlighted just how accessible online learning has become, and you can find an incredible variety of ways to boost your existing skill set or add some new strings to your bow. Aspiring paralegals or people who already work in the area could benefit from taking a paralegal course online. This will give you the knowledge you need to get that invaluable experience.
Don’t Forget to Network
We would all rather not believe that old saying that “it’s all about who you know” but we need to recognise that there is some truth to it. Now, we are not saying that having an extensive contacts list will guarantee you a better chance at getting the job you want but talking to people who work in the area that you are interested in will never hurt.
They may be able to advise you on what kind of qualities the people who are making the hiring decisions are looking for. If you are struggling to advance in your current niche, talking to someone in a different work environment may highlight opportunities that you haven’t thought of. Even if nothing comes of networking directly, it is always better to talk to someone who understands what you are going through.
Define Your Goals
Finally, one of the biggest things that keeps people stuck in a professional rut is that they do not know what it is that they want exactly. It can be hard when all that you can really say for sure is that you want to move up.
So, if you feel yourself starting to itch to get out of your current work situation, take some time to really think about what it is that you want. Is the issue that you want to be trusted with more responsibility? Do you want to work in a similar role for a different employer, or for the same employer in a different role? Your employer may not be one of the 191 paying less minimum wage but maybe you do feel like you are due for a pay rise. Or do you really want a complete change in your career path? Once you know what you want, you can start working on a timetable for your next steps.