10 Tips to Improve Your Career Development

Jennifer Herrity

Published March 1, 2021

Jennifer Herrity is a seasoned career services professional with 12+ years of experience in career coaching, recruiting and leadership roles with the purpose of helping others to find their best-fit jobs. She helps people navigate the job search process through one-on-one career coaching, webinars, workshops, articles and career advice videos on Indeed's YouTube channel.

If you want that next promotion, more responsibility at your current job or to explore a new industry altogether, it's important to know how to take action and meet those goals. Prioritizing your professional development will allow you to create your own future and explore your potential. In this article, we share 10 steps you can take to improve your career.

Why is improving your career important?

Improving your career can help you achieve success and maximize your potential for growth in the future. It's important to actively engage with your industry and to keep learning new skills so you can meet your long-term goals with confidence and pride. Improving your career can also help you earn more money, gain visibility and notoriety within your industry and financially prepare for retirement.

10 tips for improving your career

If you are interested in setting performance goals and developing your professional career in the future, use these 10 helpful tips for improving your career:

1. Set goals regularly

To improve your career, set small, short-term goals regularly so you can stay focused on your professional growth. It's important to set goals that are achievable in the short-term future because it takes time to develop the skills and experience necessary for success. Use a planner, notebook or virtual calendar to track your progress and document your experiences.

Here are a few examples of professional goals to consider as you establish your own:

  • Completing a large project

  • Improving specific technical skills

  • Earning a certain award or recognition

  • Being promoted to a certain position

  • Increasing your knowledge about a certain topic

  • Focusing on building or improving professional relationships

  • Solving a complex problem

  • Committing to a routine or schedule

Read more: 100 Career Tips: How To Get the Job and Develop Your Career

2. Ask for feedback

As you gain experience in your industry, ask for feedback from both managers and co-workers so you can understand your strengths and focus on what needs to be improved. Performance reviews can be a great opportunity to start a professional dialogue with your manager and ask direct questions about how to develop your career. You may also benefit from asking follow-up questions after meetings and presentations to discover what you did well and how you can improve in the future.

Here are a few example questions you can ask to gain valuable feedback on your performance:

  • Is there room for growth within our department?

  • What are my strengths?

  • How can I improve my skills even further to help our department succeed?

  • Can you give me an example of a task I performed well?

  • Do you have any suggestions for improving my productivity rate?

  • What advice would you give me to help me improve my communication?

  • How can I better prepare for upcoming projects?

3. Talk to your network

Networking, or forming relationships and exchanging information with other individuals who share a common interest or work in your industry, comes with many professional benefits. Talk to your network often and utilize any resources and connections available to you. This can help you stay actively engaged with your industry, discover job opportunities and maintain long-term professional connections.

There are several ways you can start networking, including by:

  • Joining online groups or social media platforms

  • Engaging with professional associations

  • Joining volunteer organizations

  • Participating in book clubs

  • Attending workshops

  • Talking to new people at networking events

  • Creating and sharing a business card

  • Revisiting old industry connections

  • Sending check-in emails

  • Building a social media following

Read more: The Complete Guide To Networking

4. Utilize company resources

Many companies and organizations have a variety of educational resources and learning opportunities available for employees to learn and expand their skill sets. For example, your employer may provide management training programs to advance your career within the company.

5. Challenge yourself

Improving your career requires time, commitment and motivation. Challenge yourself often by setting short-term goals, conducting exploratory research and learning new skills. Think about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone frequently to explore skills and ideas beyond your area of expertise. For example, if you don't have public speaking experience, you could sign up for a workshop to practice those skills so you can add them to your resume and use them in the future.

Read more: 9 Ways To Improve Yourself

6. Read often

To improve your career, read about your industry often to stay up-to-date on competitors, new products and services and innovative ideas for the future. Reference trade papers, magazines, news websites and blogs to find relevant information that pertains to your industry. Being able to discuss recent trends and findings at work can build your authority and encourage coworkers to ask you for help, giving you the chance to develop leadership skills and propel your career forward with new challenges.

7. Be curious about your industry

Be curious about your industry and the professional opportunities it has to offer as this can help you explore alternative job options and expand your network of professional connections. Communicate with your coworkers and network often so you find out about conferences, workshops and industry-related events that can propel your career forward.

8. Write often

As you grow and develop in your professional life, it can be beneficial to write often about your activities, thoughts and ideas for the future. Documenting your accomplishments over time can help you gain confidence in your abilities and provide opportunities to reflect on past experiences. Improving your career can take time, so it's important to recognize your strengths and express gratitude for all that you've accomplished.

9. Attend workshops and training programs

Attend workshops, training programs and community events related to your industry to keep learning, growing and engaging with new resources and information regularly. To learn about different jobs within your industry, consider observing a professional with experience or searching for a mentor to provide career advice and answer any questions you may have.

10. Get organized

To keep track of your goals, accomplishments and daily activities, get organized by archiving your past work, creating a regular schedule and planning for the upcoming steps in your professional career. This can help you stay focused on long-term goals and track your overall progress as time goes on.

There are many different organizational methods and techniques, including the following:

  • Creating an online portfolio of work

  • Developing a document filing system

  • Digitizing your files for future reference

  • Creating to-do lists

  • Using labels to organize documents

  • Sorting through professional emails

  • Following a regular schedule


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