You don’t have to quit your job to get more out of your career and you don’t have to ask for a salary or a promotion.
These days, you’ve never been more empowered to advocate for your own personal brand - brand YOU that is so precious in this information economy.
Gone are the days of getting ahead because you show up consistently for four years and do your job. Now you have to be ENGAGED in the world around you if you want to stand out from your peers.
Here are 12 possibilities that exist for you to uplevel your career, engage and get more without quitting your job:
Sure, you can get a Master’s degree or a PHD and get ahead - that’s one pretty predictable way to achieve more in your career, BUT it generally requires at least two years and a lot of money to get a graduate degree. If you don’t have the time or the money, consider enrolling in a certification program. Many of these programs only last from one semester to one year and can be very cost effective.
A less expensive approach to education sponsored by a college is to look for events or conferences hosted by associations in your sector. Many of these events include a program, presentation or workshop on trends in the sector that you can definitely learn from.
Finally, many organizations will host brown bag lunches or mini-summits on topics related to their field to build relationships with the community. Typically, you’ll find out about these opportunities by talking to people in your industry who are in the know.
Yes, you can volunteer to clean the beach or plant trees, which is a lovely thing to do, but you can also volunteer on the board of an organization or a committee. Most nonprofits and associations have a board of directors and they’re always on the look out for new people to join. Tell people what kind of skills you have to offer and what areas of impact you’re interested in contributing to, and before long you’ll have opportunities before you.
Technology can be a beautiful thing. Now you can work a full-time or part-time job and run a side business after hours. Look for ways to make a little cash on the side, expand your portfolio of work and improve your expertise by freelancing. Just make sure that there aren’t any conflicts of interest with your current employer (typically written in a contract or a verbal agreement upon hiring).
Build a Network
Possibilities and opportunities become endless and arise consistently when you’re networking in your industry. Tell people what you have to offer and help them by being generous with information, resources and connections to build a network that will also hand over opportunities to you.
Even when you’re not looking for work, this can be a great way to grow your network and improve your knowledge of the sector in which you work. In fact, I prefer to think of these meetings as just “making new friends,” and if you think of it that way, it really takes the pressure off, allowing you to show up in a way that is more genuine, creative and curious.
Run for Office
One time I was out networking and ran into a guy who had a full-time job. He told me he was going to run for city council - just like that. Engaging in local politics can be a fantastic way to learn more about your community, expand your career opportunities and meet new people.
Launch a Blog or Website
Writing, podcasting or video-blogging on a topic that you care about can be a good exercise to keep your skills fresh and your energy alive. This also allows you to engage in a world that isn’t your day-to-day job. You can work in technology and write about cooking - it’s totally up to you!
Be a Guest Expert or Speak on a Topic
If you don’t mind getting up in front of crowds, being a guest speaker can help you to uncover opportunities in your career, because you never know who will be sitting in the audience or who will be impressed by your expertise.
Contribute to a Blog or Magazine
If you don’t want to write your own blog, you can submit articles to online and print magazines to develop your expertise in a subject. For example, I have a friend in San Diego who was a school teacher for most of career, but then she and her husband quit their jobs to travel with their two kids around the world on a sailboat. She started submitting articles to Cruising World and San Diego Magazine and pretty soon she was a regular contributor and well-known thought leader in the world of women and sailing.
Hang Out With Amazing People
You are the average of the five people you hang out with most, so hang out with amazing people. Don’t be disingenuous, but do surround yourself with people who encourage you to be better, share opportunities with you and help you grow in new and better ways.
Join a Group, Community or Project
For every idea, there’s typically a group of people behind it. For example…do you love to wear red hats and purple dresses? There’s a club for that. Want to share your love of knitting with merchant seafarers? There’s an organization doing just that.
There’s also projects and ideas that need great minds and extra hands to help, like The Ocean Cleanup, for example.
Surround Yourself With Inspiration
Around every corner, there is someone ready and willing to inspire you to greatness. Follow their blogs, listen to their podcasts, read their books or attend their conferences. Here’s a list of my current favorites:
- The Good Life Project
- Chris Guillebeau
- Brene Brown
- Liz Gilbert
- Wisdom Conference
- Emerging Women Conference
Whatever you decide to do is fine with me as long as you engage in some way in something that helps you grow, learn and uncover new possibilities and opportunities in your career.