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Whether you are just starting in your chosen career field or have been in it for many years, one thing is true – you cannot stay stagnant. If you want to have a fulfilling, rewarding career, you must grow in it. Yet growth will not happen without the right plan. Here are some practical tips to help you embrace professional growth and development so your career can be as rewarding as possible.

1. Be Intentional About Setting Professional Goals

Very few things in life happen by accident, which is also true in the professional world. You will not grow in your career if you do not make a plan. A plan will help you be intentional about taking the necessary steps to grow in your career. Figure out what you want to do with your career, and then set professional goals to help you achieve that big goal step-by-step.

2. Evaluate Your Skills and Strengths

When was the last time you took a good, hard look at yourself and what you do well and what you do not? If it has been a while, and you want to start a plan for professional development, then now is the time to do it again. Your professional advancement should align with your skills and strengths. You will find yourself far more fulfilled when you set goals that align with those skills and strengths. You may also find that you can reach them more quickly when your goals fit what you are good at doing.

3. Celebrate the Wins

To advance your career, you must stay motivated, meaning you need to celebrate the wins as you move forward. Whether that means going out with friends to celebrate a promotion, having a quiet evening at home to relax after a busy period at work, or taking yourself on a trip when you have completed a major project, celebrate what is working with you. Figure out something that motivates you, and get creative. Then embrace that as you celebrate your successes. It is not prideful to celebrate your wins. It is an excellent way to encourage yourself to keep pushing. You will find yourself motivated to push for the next success when you do.

4. Learn from Losses and Mistakes

While you will have wins as you advance your career, you will have some losses too. You will also make some mistakes. What you do with those mistakes will define your success or your failure. Do not let these inevitable mistakes derail you or stop your motivation. Instead, use them as learning opportunities. The most successful people learn from their mistakes, using them as opportunities for continued growth and maturation.

5. Be Open to Constructive Feedback

Fear of criticism is a common but manageable reaction. Learning to overcome your self-consciousness will enable you to welcome constructive feedback as an opportunity for growth. However, you will want to go a step beyond just being open to feedback. Do not stop at just being open to receiving it if it comes unsolicited. Go actively looking for it. Ask your boss what you could be doing better. Talk to your coworkers about where you could improve. When you get this feedback, welcome it and learn from it. Being teachable in this way will help you see tremendous growth both as a professional and as a person.

6. Be Flexible

Flexibility is essential. Rigidity will make you struggle. Things within your organization and your career field will change from time to time. If you are too set in your ways, you will not be able to grow and adjust to these changes. You are going to have to learn to roll with the punches. Even if you do everything perfectly, you will face times when the results do not go your way. Being able to adjust when this happens is vital. As you move forward in your career, flexibility will also help you take opportunities as they arise, even if you were not expecting them.

7. Find a Mentor

Is there someone in your industry that can be a mentor to you? Find this person, and learn from them. Many seasoned professionals are willing to take a younger person out for coffee or assist them in other ways as they grow in their professions, so find a mentor and take advantage of what they can teach you. Consider looking online if you cannot find your mentor within your company or your local community. Spend some time with industry leaders on LinkedIn or forums to find a mentor you can chat with on the web.

8. Get Comfortable Getting Uncomfortable

Growth will sometimes hurt. William Penn once said, “No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown.” Athletes must experience pain to get stronger and more effective at their sport. Discomfort is necessary for growth, so get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. As you push yourself towards a higher level of success, feelings of discomfort may become more common.

9. Never Stop Learning

You must continue learning and developing if you really want to move forward in your career. Technology is constantly changing, and it affects every industry. New insights and ideas always come to light, and you need to stay on top of them. You can pick up new certifications and skills to make you more desirable. To help with your ongoing learning, consider Post University’s Professional Development Program within the School of Continuing Education.

10. Level up the Company You Keep

You will become like the people you spend time with. If you find that your coworkers and friends are not pushing you towards career advancement, then it may be time to make a change. Keeping company with people ahead of you or who motivate you to excel will only help you embrace success as you grow in your career. That is not to say all your friends need to be in your profession, but it does mean they should drive you towards excellence, not mediocrity.

11. Build Your Professional Network

While having a mentor is an integral part of growing as a professional, you will also need to build a professional network of people in similar positions. Your professional network can include coworkers, fellow students from your educational program, professors, bosses, and more. The goal of the network is to have a group of people you can tap into when you are looking for additional opportunities. Networking is often the most critical tool in your career growth, as it helps you find new opportunities for advancement, so do not neglect to grow yours.

12. Share Your Career Growth Plan

A career growth plan is a list of long-term and short-term goals to help you achieve your ultimate career goal. You need to set these goals for yourself and then update them as you grow and develop within your profession. However, you must share them because this will help others hold you accountable for attaining those goals. The more people who know your plan, the more people you will have on your side encouraging you to reach your goals and move forward in your career.

13. Take Care of Yourself

As you keep pushing towards greater success in your career, be mindful of self-care and your personal relationships. Schedule time for rest, family time, and friends. Take care of your physical health with regular medical checkups. If you feel on edge or overly stressed, take a step back. Your career goals will still be there if you take some time for yourself as well as your loved ones.

As you move forward towards advancing your career, consider the opportunities available through Post University. Browse the current offerings to see what will fit your needs. Whether you need to add certification as part of your career growth plan or want to focus on learning some new skills for your career advancement, our Professional Development program can help.

Thank you for reading! The views and information provided in this post do not reflect Post University programs and/or outcomes directly. If you are interested in learning more about our programs, you can find a complete list of our programs on our website or reach out directly! 

Please note jobs and/or career outcomes highlighted in this blog do not reflect jobs or career outcomes expected from any Post program. To learn more about Post’s program and their outcomes, please fill out a form to speak with an admissions advisor.