Fast Track Your Career with These 10 Steps

Career Fair 2011
Career Fair 2011 (Photo credit: Lafayette College)

Taking the slow route in a career doesn’t always work for everyone.  This may especially be the case if you are starting your career later because you’ve taken time to travel or stay at home with your children or if you are starting a second career.  Sometimes the fast track just makes more sense.

But how do you get on that fast track?  Here are some tips that will get your career moving forward quickly:

1. Reassess:

Make sure that the path you are on is the right one.  If your career does not match your interests and passions you will become unmotivated and find that you fall off the fast track.  Can you get access to the experience that you need?  Do you have the education that you need to move quickly in your career? If not, you may want to consider making some lateral moves first and then progressing.

2. Define Your Goals

Make sure that you know exactly where you want to go in your career.  Make a plan to get there.  Include short term and long term goals.  Knowing what your goals are will help you set out an actionable plan.

Business planning cards
Business planning cards (Photo credit: plantoo47)

3. Make a Plan

Without a plan you’re just wandering around randomly without direction.  What is your first short term goal?  What do you need to do to attain it?  Set out the steps you will take to make sure that it happens not only quickly, but efficiently.

4. Communicate

Those who are in management positions and other positions of authority in the company you work for are able to help you but they can’t help you if they don’t know what your goals are.  Ask for their support and their advice.  Find a mentor that you can communicate with on a fairly regular basis.  The advice that they have to give can be invaluable.

5. Volunteer

Show that you have initiative by volunteering to take over a project or start a new one.  Not only will it make you look really good but it will also help you develop skills.  You can demonstrate the skills that you already have and you can learn new ones.

 6. Stay Current

Always be aware of the trends that are happening in your field.  Read industry newsletters and magazines.  Use the Internet to keep up with what is happening.  People who read and are up-to-date are often the ones that are able to put themselves in a position where they can make a big jump forward in their careers.

7. Education

Just because you have completed a course that got you a degree or a diploma doesn’t mean that you are done with your education.  Be on the look out for courses and workshops that you can attend to get certifications.  These courses and workshops can help you be in a beneficial position in the company you work for and it can help you get ahead of the competition.

8. Be a Leader

Don’t be afraid to take on a leadership role when it is presented to you.  You might become a mentor to someone that is junior to you or you could volunteer to be on a board or committee.  Leaders are noticed first and leaders move ahead fast.

9. Network

Networking is not just for those that are looking for a job.  If you network after you have a job - both in your community and in the company you work for - you will find that opportunities often present themselves to you. Your visibility will increase and you will make new contacts that will give you opportunities to fast forward in your job.

10. Excel

Make sure that no matter what your job is you are the best person that they have ever had in that job.  Make sure that you do everything to the best of your ability.  Never do things half way.  I’ve always said that anything worth doing is worth doing well so give your job your full attention when you are there and make sure that you are the best they have ever had.