Maintaining a career, let alone acquiring one, is difficult in this day and age. To say that it is one of the hardest things you will ever do is an understatement. That being said, where you are in your career does not have to be where you end up.
Whether this takes the form of a promotion, a career change, or better professional contacts and connections is completely up to you. Thankfully, this guide takes all the guesswork out of wondering how to maintain a strong career.
- Career Path
The very first thing you need to do when embarking on a career is to have a clear path in front of you. To quote Arnold Schwarzenegger, “you can have the best boat in the world, but without a navigator, you’ll just drift around.” You have to take inventory of your strengths, your weaknesses, your interests, and your passions.
The best way to accomplish this is to create a Venn diagram with overlapping categories for things such as “what am I good at?” or “what can I make a career out of?” and “What can I see myself doing in twenty years?”
Once you have a solid idea of what type of career you want, you have to make a name for yourself in that particular field. Potential employers will care less about what schools you went to, and more about what you have actually done. This does not necessarily have to be done with a copyright or a trademark. What this merely means is to have something that others will uniquely identify you with.
This can be accomplished by creating a blog, a youtube channel, or even a whole website. Branding ensures that when you make a splash in your field, everyone will know it was you.
While branding is important, your image will only go so far. It is not enough to talk a big game, you have to actually know how to be in the field and execute plays. The best way to get your foot in the door is through an internship or apprenticeship. While it is completely accurate that interns and apprentices are more often than not responsible for grunt work, this work experience proves invaluable once you get a top-notch job.
- Invest in yourself
Beyond a career, one of the most important things you can do for yourself is to invest in your skill, your craft, or your education. While this has the obvious outcome of making you more in demand for your particular set of skills, it also comes with a monumental increase in confidence in your abilities. If your career involves obtaining a degree of any kind, it might be wise to invest in a college education. College might be expensive, but it’s a lot more expensive to not go to college: according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, college grads earn $33000 more than those that do not have a bachelors.
Along with internships and college degrees, you should look into getting certified in the field of your choice. Computer programmers and engineers have a myriad of certifications to choose from including CompTIA A+ and Cisco, among others. One such certification to look into is AWS certification training, offered by Amazon. One such type of training familiarizes you with cloud computing and allows you to learn at your own pace, whether you are a beginner or an expert.
- Resume building
After collecting internships, certifications, college degrees, and applicable experience of any kind, all of that experience must be cobbled together into your resume. However, it is not enough to just hastily throw together your work history. A good resume should make a great first impression, and this step should not be rushed. In a meta example, the format of your resume could be just as important as the content of your resume. A well put together resume shows any potential employers that you know what you are doing and should be taken seriously.
Networking is a step that a lot of people seem to neglect in favour of the other steps, and this does not have to be the case. Networking affords you to make lifelong connections and provides a pool of possible job leads to you, depending on who you know and meet. While this can be accomplished in person, today, this can be easily accomplished with a LinkedIn profile, which serves purely to network, share your resume, and get hired.
Finding a solid, stable career is difficult. There is no getting around that. However, with the right amount of preparation and the right mindset, you can ease some of the difficulty upfronts. With these tools at your fingertips, you will have the confidence you need to step into the professional world.