Relevancy is an essential aspect of achieving career success in these days of cost-cutting, outsourcing, and radical shifts in the ways companies manage their talent, and interact with and source candidates. In order to achieve long-term career progression, growth and accomplishment, and keeping your competitive edge, you need to remain attuned to demands, trends and developments in the marketplace, and fine-tune your skill sets accordingly.
Here are some ways to ensure you’re constantly growing:
Know your industry
Myopia serves no one. If you are too busy pouring over data sheets day in and day out in the exact same manner you have done for years, you may miss out on the fact that competitor companies have largely outsourced a key segment of their CRM systems for example, or imported new CRM systems that are far more efficient. Keep your eyes and ears open to new developments, both in your company and outside of it, so you are in the best position to understand if your own modus operandi is optimal and sustainable. Try to always understand the big picture. It’s not just about competency; it’s about optimal performance, and purely “competent” players are in danger of being outshone, and even rendered redundant, by professionals who have maximized efficiency and optimized performance, and somehow carved a niche by raising, or better still, redefining the bar.
Network your way to success
Yes, we have all repeatedly heard that in today’s professional scenario, who we know is as important as what we know. According to a 2016 poll by Bayt.com on career success, success is achieved by a multitude of different factors: hard work (29.1 percent), skills and relationships (13.7 percent), and even family support (10.8 percent). Try to maintain an active presence in relevant circles. You can network with like-minded professionals physically as well as online on key professional networking platforms. You will make good friendships, remain top-of-mind in the right groups, and pick up valuable business pointers and insights. Networking is a skill like any other, and if you are the shy type you need only do a bit of online browsing to pick up some essential tips on effective networking and find a networking style and strategy that suits you best.
Seek to embrace learning in all its dimensions and embrace it as a lifestyle. Learn by seeing, doing, reading, asking, experimenting and innovating. Aim to stay ahead of the literature in your industry and pick up books that motivate and inspire you and benefit you in your career and general well-being. Share your learnings with others at the workplace and in your peer circles to entrench your reputation as an expert in your field and become acknowledged as a valuable resource for other professionals in the company and out. According to another Bayt.com study, reading relevant literature regularly is considered important for career advancement across the region, with a good 69.6 percent of respondents stating that it is extremely important, and 77.8 percent saying they read industry-related literature on a regular basis.
Be a creator
Don’t be afraid of implementing what you learn and experimenting with new ideas. At a minimum you should improve your performance and productivity levels, but why not also try to innovate? Innovation was identified by 34.4 percent of respondents in our poll as the ultimate vision of success. Innovation requires firstly the willpower, courage, and flexibility to try new things; secondly, the knowledge, research and analysis to adapt the experimentation to the needs of the marketplace, plus the company’s own objectives; and finally, the professionalism, energy and communication skills to get internal and external buy-in for the change.
Perfect your personal brand
If you don’t have a CV or public profile parked on your region’s leading job sites, you may be missing out on key opportunities. Remember, the objective of a public professional profile is to get you noticed by the region’s employers, and also by clients and peers, so make sure it is truly professional and always updated to reflect your latest skills, experience, and qualifications. If you are not visible in relevant circles, or if your online professional profile is not accurate and attractive, you may well risk not being in the running for top jobs in your industry and other lucrative career opportunities.