Proactively managing your career is essential to your long term financial success. While traditional financial planning is important, it’s crucial to invest in yourself and your career. The return you can earn from a serious commitment to your career may be better than any investment return you may reasonably achieve. Strategic attention to your career can result in increased long term income opportunities, a job you love, job security and resources to build your investment portfolio.
It’s too easy to become comfortable and complacent with your situation and settle for less compensation and job satisfaction than you deserve. The first step toward supercharging your career is to understand yourself. Evaluate what makes you happy and where your passions and talents lie. Consider how you can best utilize your skills, interests, and experience. Research potential opportunities in your current field as well as in new career fields. Information about a variety of careers,and what they pay, is available in the Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook www.bls.gov.ooh. Information on salaries can also be found on www.payscale.com and www.salary.com.
After doing your research and identifying some career opportunities, decide on your definition of career success and develop a plan to achieve this. Career success is not based on luck but on strategic planning, action and commitment. Establish some long and short term career goals to keep you on track toward meeting your plan.
To help achieve success, think of yourself as a brand of one. In everything you do, consider your image and how people perceive you. You have a reputation to build and maintain which should demonstrate trust, dependability, competency, enthusiasm and professionalism. Don’t think of yourself as an employee but as a company of one who is working to bring success to your current firm. This in turn will bring you success. Be reliable and meet your commitments, proactively resolve problems and look for smarter ways to do business. Do what is needed to get the job done, don’t lose site of the big picture, and focus on the bottom line. Work strategically and watch for opportunities to meet the needs of your boss and your team.
Nurture relationships, be a team player, and keep a positive attitude. Continually demonstrate how you can be of value to your boss, colleagues and clients. Work in a collaborative manner and help others look good and get ahead. Develop a strong personal network and find a mentor to assist you with your current job and exciting options for the future.
Proactively stay abreast of industry and technological changes. Seek out opportunities to learn and grow through continuing education and formal education. You will experience more success if you embrace change and innovation.
Your career and ability to earn a good living can be your greatest financial asset – manage and nurture it to maximize your financial security.