Nobody wants to look like a dinosaur in their industry. Staying relevant in your field isn’t an easy task. Unfortunately, a number of mid-level workers don’t bother with further professional development. Hiring managers want to see that you’re invested in your professional development, no matter what stage you’re at in your career. This shows initiative and curiosity as well as demonstrating an understanding that you can always learn new things. In order to be competitive, companies need to be at the forefront of their industry and adopt new innovations and in turn setting the standard for others to follow. By adopting a similar work ethic, you’ll be a strong candidate.
Use the following steps to commit to your professional development and stay relevant in your industry.
Focus On Your Skills Development
Keeping your skills current is crucial. In order to do that, you’ll have to take ownership of your professional development. Be proactive and don’t rely on your company to show you the way forward. To determine what skills are in demand look at job postings for positions that are above your current role. Once you’ve identified the skills that you’re looking to gain, take a targeted approach by seeking out both internal and external training opportunities. Seek out online classes to help you brush up on specific skills and you can learn at your own pace from your computer or mobile device.
Network, Network, Network!
Building relationships with your industry peers will enable you to gain a broader perspective of what is really going on in your field, while also learning new work styles and problem-solving approaches. You can start by meeting employees of different ages at your current company and then branch out to industry professionals that are outside of your employer.
Continuing to expand your professional network will also help you improve your visibility within the industry. Networking should be part of your daily tasks. Ideally, you want to focus on forming relationships with thought leaders in your field and people who have already proven their ability to stay relevant in your industry.
Build A Presence On Social Media
In today’s workplace, simply being on social media isn’t enough. To fully leverage these platforms, you have to be actively using these sites. This means taking the time to share other people’s tweets or posts, actively commenting on industry news and building your follower base. Consistency is key. Looking to establish yourself as an expert on a certain topic? Consider starting a blog on the subject and use your social media profiles to drive traffic to the site.
Improving Your Visibility Within The Industry
You don’t necessarily need an invitation to take an active role within a professional association. Try getting on the speaking docket or moderating a panel discussion at an industry conference. Anything that helps you gain exposure and establish yourself as a leader in your field. Talk to conference organizers and past speakers in order to find opportunities. If you’re not comfortable in front of a microphone, take a public speaking course through an organization like Toastmasters. In addition, asking your boss to let you take on high-profile projects can help you improve your visibility at your organization.
Applying For Awards
Don’t be afraid to promote your career achievements thus far. No matter what job you currently have or the industry that you are in, chances are good that there is an organization that is handing out honors within your industry. To focus your efforts, consider researching what accolades your role models have received and then apply for those awards or honors. Awards aren’t just for individuals. If you are part of a team or even manage a team, then nominate yourselves for industry awards. Anything that brings positive attention to your achievements is worth seeking out.