It’s easy to get complacent when it comes to professional development. Log into work, eyes glued to the screen, then log out for the day. The energy and time put into networking, resume building, and continuing education long gone. Work has simply become routine professional growth is stagnant.
I’m here to tell you: Don’t get complacent.
Just because you “got the job”, doesn’t mean it’s time to let up. The goal is to grow and progress in your career. The path to promotions, opportunities, and higher salary lies in goal setting, feedback, , and building a strong network. If you’ve gotten too comfortable in your current role, these things are probably not happening.
Here are the 5 reasons why you’re blocking your own professional development and how to fix it.
- You’re not goal setting and tracking. In any role, it is imperative to set and track goals for yourself. Start by outlining three realistic goals for the year. These goals could include things like a promotion or tackling a complex project. Once the goal are identified, pinpoint how to achieve them. Maintain your goals and accomplishments in a spreadsheet that lists the work item, description, and start/end date. I even include comments and feedback received. Don’t keep this to yourself – share with your manager for accountability and visibility!
- You stopped networking. Networking is not only key to getting the job, but it is also a major component to progressing in your career. Career priorities change and new roles are created, so get to know everyone and learn about their space. Networking doesn’t require weekly check-ins, but make a point to maintain these relationships on a monthly or basis. I find it easier to network professionally through work and industry related organizations. These spaces provide a specific space to connect and work outside your team.
Want more career tips? Check out my post about accepting and receiving feedback.
- You’re not continuing your education. I am a firm believer that learning never stops. Identify an area in your role that needs improvement or that you want to learn more in-depth. Take time each day, 30 minutes to an hour will do, to master or improve this area. Reach out to those who understand and tell your manager about your learning sessions. Take it a step further and find out if there are any certifications in the subject in focus. Oftentimes, the job will pay for it.
- You don’t seek feedback. Constant feedback leads to consistent career growth. Don’t wait until annual performance reviews to seek ways to improve. Connect with your manager and mentors monthly to go over your goals and see how you’re tracking. The more you check-in, the more time you have to course correct. Management will also take note on your proactiveness.
- You need a mentor. Mentorship is key for professional development and guidance. Mentors can aid in reviewing your goals, identifying how to shape and progress your career, and provide advice from an experienced position. Make the most of your time with your mentor by asking thoughtful questions, keeping them informed, and meeting at a reasonable cadence.