Top Five Career Boosting Activities for 2012

Top Five Career Boosting Activities for 2012

There is no “magic bullet” to use to increase your career opportunities. Marrying the boss’s son or daughter may still work, but the odds are against you. The classic tomes of hard work and improving knowledge and experience, however, are still effective.

  1. Make a detailed inventory of your strengths, weaknesses, and marketable skills. Creating an honest, detailed inventory of your personal attributes can appear to be challenging. Yet, all who take the time to do so claim it is rewarding, comforting, confidence-building, and always valuable. Even listing your weaknesses is not a negative. Look at these items as target areas for improvement, to fill in career or knowledge gaps, This part of the exercise is just as valuable as listing your strengths and skills.
  2. Take a “career test.” While some people scoff at career tests, the better ones can be extremely valuable to you, particularly if you’re uncertain about your current specialty and consider switching career fields. Most agree that the Meyers-Briggs tests are the most popular option. You can find abbreviated test versions online as a starting point. The best way to get the most from these tests is to work with an experienced career counselor. Your adviser can help you better interpret the test results and offer valuable suggestions to boost your career as a function of your test answers.
  3. Acquire skills you are missing. If your skills inventory indicates you are missing one or more abilities, commit to immediately create a plan of action to acquire the skills you lack. Whether you want to switch careers and need a variety of new skills, or have a complete basic menu of talents keeping you happily in your current career, acquire at least one new skill anyway. You might want to learn a foreign language, improve your computer skills, or find an interesting class at your local community college. You can only benefit from increasing your skill set.
  4. Upgrade your formal education. Have you been committing—in your mind—to improve your formal education, but have found reasons (legitimate or not) to postpone this project? Drop all excuses and get started. The career boost you get from changing your resume, now listing that you’re working on that elusive Bachelors or Masters Degree you’ve wanted, can be enormous. Your current employer may have a great program to reimburse you for these expenses. Potential employers will be impressed that you are multi-tasking, on a degree track while serving as a high performer at your current job.
  5. Improve (or re-activate) your personal and professional network. Your network is often the most valuable career boost tool in your bag, but is often overlooked. When the job market is “hot,” people can become lax as they are more caught up in their career. Down job markets sometimes create uncertainty and decreased confidence, making many people timid about keeping their network fine tuned and active. If it’s dormant, jumpstart your network now. Your family, friends, and acquaintances will be happy to welcome you back into the fold.

These suggestions, although quite low-tech, are proven ways to boost your career. The fact that you’ve heard or read most or all of these before indicates how effective they remain. You have the power to create the “career story” you want.

Everyone needs a career boost occasionally, as jobs become more mundane than exciting. Use the brightening job prospects on the immediate horizon to put some excitement and challenge back into your work life. You—and your bank account balance—will be most happy you did.

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