The dawn of a new year often inspires a sense of renewal and a fresh start. Many people take this time as an opportunity to take stock of their lives and consider what went well for them in the previous year and what improvements they can make to increase their overall happiness and life satisfaction. These improvements might incorporate areas of health, such as implementing a healthier diet and exercise regime, building on personal relationships and getting to know new people, or trying out a new hobby such as salsa dancing or learning a new language. One of the most common areas in which people would like to improve is their work-life and career. Considering that you spend more time with your work colleagues than with your own friends and family, the desire for job satisfaction is understandable. However, you can quickly become overwhelmed by all the information out there when you are investigating ways you can change your career. To help you out, and get you on the road to job satisfaction, read on to discover how you can reinvigorate your career in 2021.
Why should you reinvigorate your career?
Firstly, let’s consider why exactly you should reinvigorate your career in 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic, which swept the globe in 2020 with no signs of dissipating any time soon, has resulted in a major lifestyle change for many people worldwide. As such, the workplace has become unrecognizable. You may have had to adjust to working from home and find it frustrating and lonely to be away from the office, leading to a growing dissatisfaction with your work. You might even have found an alarming reduction to your workload due to the knock-on effects of the pandemic. These are struggles you will face if you have been lucky enough to keep your job during the pandemic. If you work in a customer-facing role or in the hospitality sector, for instance, you might have been put on furlough or lost your job entirely due to the need to reduce social contact.
Whatever your COVID-19 employment situation, you have probably been seriously considering what lies ahead for you in terms of job opportunities and what you can do to get ahead of the game and ensure that you remain in a fulfilling career that delivers in terms of both job satisfaction and regular pay check. As such, you might want to take this time to consider what steps you need to take in order to reinvigorate your career. So, what can you do?
1. Go for promotion
You might enjoy your job on the whole: your colleagues might be fun and easy to work with, you might be deeply invested in your industry and enjoy what you do. However, if despite a general level of satisfaction, you still feel a level of boredom and frustration, which you don’t think is connected to the challenges of the pandemic, it might simply be time to progress to the next stage of your career and go for promotion. If you would like to progress within your current company, you could make an appointment with your line manager or immediate superior to discuss your progression and career development plans. They might be able to provide you with a plan to help you prepare for promotion, such as providing you with a mentor in a higher position or pointing you towards any further training that would be beneficial, as well as informing you of any job openings for promotions within the company that you can apply for. On the other hand, there might not appear to be any opportunities for progression within your current company opening up in the imminent future. If this is the case, you might ultimately decide that it is time for you to search for a new challenge elsewhere at another company.
2. Invest in further education and training
If you have decided to take the next step in your career, you may benefit from completing further training, which will back up your industry experience with theory and arm you with further academic knowledge. It might be a requirement in some companies or industries for you to complete a Master’s degree or another form of further training to enable you to develop your specialization and progress to the next stage of your career. For instance, if you are a registered nurse who would like to go into pediatric nursing, you will have to complete a further Master’s degree in order to progress. Even if you are not working in an industry that requires further education and training to progress, a relevant Master’s degree or training course will further build on your skillset and help make you stand out amongst a sea of applicants. For instance, an online MBA will build on your experience to help you to prepare for a successful career at a managerial or executive level. Additionally, as classes take place online, you will be able to fit your learning around work and family commitments.
3. Learn a new skill
As well as boosting your academic skillset with Master’s degrees and further education, there are also plenty of new practical skills you can learn that will be beneficial to your career – and what better time is there to learn them than during a covid-19 lockdown? This could be an industry-specific piece of software that may help to provide you with more career opportunities. For example, if you are an artist or illustrator who is already a proficient user of Photoshop, you might want to learn how to use other programs in the Adobe Creative Cloud suite such as InDesign; this program is widely used in the design and publishing industries, and as such proficiency in it may widen your career opportunities. In addition to industry-specific skills, you could also learn new skills that will prove useful wherever you work. Perhaps the most obvious being how to use social media effectively to market your business and connect with your customer base and industry professionals.
4. Mentor less-experienced colleagues
In addition to working on your own career self-development by pursuing further education and other learning opportunities, don’t underestimate the reinvigorating power of becoming a mentor yourself. Whether you are in the prime of your career or nearing the point at which you want to retire, if you have several years’ worth of experience in your role behind you, your knowledge and insight will prove invaluable for someone less-experienced who is keen to advance in their career. There are several things you should consider in order to become a good mentor at work.
For instance, offer constructive criticism rather than being dishearteningly nasty or unhelpfully positive. Furthermore, in addition to the pleasure of imparting your knowledge, you might find that you learn something yourself from a new colleague who has yet to be shaped by the industry and as such has a less rigid thinking pattern.
5. Set up your own business
You might have been thinking for some time that you would like to set up your own business and decided that now is the time to be brave and take that leap. However, it is important to consider certain things and make sure that certain items are put into place before you make that leap. First and foremost, you should create a business plan that can be used when applying for business loans to prove your business idea’s validity and ensure that you have a viable plan. There are many online guides to help you write your business plan, but make sure that you include points such as what your business is offering and what differentiates it from other industry competitors. In short, your business plan needs to set out your business’s unique selling points (USPs). There are several loans offered by the federal government that you can apply for to get financial assistance when starting your own business, such as the Small Business Administration Loan and the Small Business Lending Fund.
6. Go freelance
The current feeling of job instability resulting from the restrictions placed on society from the COVID-19 pandemic might have encouraged you to take the leap and go freelance. Simply put, freelancers – sometimes known as contractors – are people who are self-employed and hire out their specialist skillset. It is beneficial to have built up several years’ worth of experience working in the industry before you go freelance, as this allows you to build up your experience and a solid base of clients who trust you and your professionalism.
As a result, these clients will seek you out to hire as a contractor once you have left the company, thus giving you a solid foundation for starting your business. So, if you are a graphic designer or painter and decorator, you might decide to stop being an employee for a company and instead go freelance and work for yourself. This gives you the flexibility to work when and for whom you want: you can pick and choose which projects you work on, meaning that you may only decide to dedicate yourself to projects you are truly passionate about.
7. Refresh your social media presence
A consistent, reliable presence on social media can be a hugely important tool for your career advancement, whether you are a business owner or a trusted employee. Engage in social media marketing techniques if you are a business owner and make sure that your business has a presence on popular social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter in order to connect with your customer base. One of the key factors in social media success for business owners is to regularly connect with your customers online to enable them to put a human face to your business. For instance, you could provide a behind the scenes look at your production process on Instagram or host a monthly question and answer session on Twitter. Even if you aren’t self-employed, social media can be hugely beneficial to your career, thanks to networking sites such as LinkedIn. Here, you can connect with others in your field to discuss industry news and share any job opportunities that may come up.
Networking is one of the most effective strategies you can use to reinvigorate and advance your career. In its simplest form, it is chatting to and getting to know other people in your industry. It sounds like a fun social activity, right? While this can certainly be the case, there are certain strategies you can use to ensuring that your networking is as beneficial to you and your career as possible. For instance, identify useful colleagues within your company who would be useful contacts to have; they might, for instance, be able to mentor you to progress within your company and inform you of any opportunities for promotion.
Carry out the same process when you are attending business networking events, and identify the delegate you would particularly like to speak to and strike up a connection with. Though face-to-face networking opportunities might be in short supply in the COVID age, don’t underestimate the power of online networking. A social media platform specifically designed for business professionals, such as LinkedIn, enables you to virtually connect with other industry professionals. The key to networking online is to have a consistent presence, perhaps by regularly posting interesting articles relating to issues affecting your industry to spark a conversation.
So there you have it: how you can reinvigorate your career in 2021. Whether the economic fallout from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced you to reassess your career options or whether you have felt in need of a change for some time now, there are plenty of actions you can take right now to get your career back on track. You might decide to upskill yourself by pursuing further education or learning a new skill in order to make yourself a better candidate for promotion. Alternatively, you might have decided that now is the time to take the plunge and become self-employed.