3 Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level

It’s easy to spot high-achievers. They’re the ones seeking out learning opportunities, setting up professional support systems and getting picked to present at company meetings and industry conferences.

So, how do you mirror their behaviors and take your career to the next level? To start, you have to be intentional. Simply knowing where you want to be in five years will not be enough to get you there. Instead, focus on developing a precise professional plan that outlines the actions you need to take to gain access to new opportunities.

Here are three steps you need to include in your professional plan in order to take your career to the next level.

1. Let the right people know about your goals.
What goals do you have for your career, and what steps do you need to take to get there? If you have a plan, start conversations about it with key people in your organization or industry. These individuals can offer support and become your advocates. Identify the people who transitioned from a role similar to yours to the next levels of management. What path did they take? What skills did they need to transition, and how did they gain them? Write out the questions that will help you follow their lead and learn what you can from their missteps. Once you’re confident about what you’ve learned, create a professional development plan and enlist the key influencers and connectors who will support you.

2. Find opportunities outside of work.
From leadership classes to skills-based volunteer opportunities, St. Louis has plenty of activities and societies that offer value to your career. Finding ways to get involved in your community and honing your skills outside your 9-5 will help you gain a broader perspective on your current role as well as enhance your visibility and brand. These opportunities also provide a new setting for you to practice the habits you’ll need to adapt for success.

3. Say yes to growth opportunities.
When a growth opportunity aligned with your interests comes your way, go for it. Successful leaders take risks and accept stretch projects because they recognize the growth potential that comes with such opportunities. These opportunities will challenge you and – at times – make you feel completely out of your comfort zone. Be the leader you plan to become and believe that you are capable. By believing in your abilities, leading with your strengths and establishing the right support system you can approach new opportunities with confidence and demonstrate your potential to meet bigger and better challenges.

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Emily Knippa

Emily Knippa is a St. Louis-based marketer and writer who focuses on content marketing, career development, and personal finance. She enjoys meeting people pursuing inspiring career paths. She’d love to meet you at the next United Way event. Say hello to Emily on Twitter at @emilyknippa.