Whether you’re starting a new job or just showing up for your regular gig, there are ways that you can use any day at work to make your career more successful. And this is true whether you hold a professional role in your field, or you are in an unrelated job just to pay some bills in the meantime.
That is because every job is temporary. Most people change roles every two years or so now. So, it isn’t the job you have that is important at any given time, it’s what you do with the opportunity to boost your overall career.
Here’s how to make the most of it.
Build your professional reputation
Show up to work on time or early every day demonstrating enthusiasm, and a positive work ethic. Perform every task to the very best of your abilities, and take on as much extra work as you can. Help other people whether clients or coworkers at every opportunity. You will be creating a professional reputation for being a great employee and a leader.
The manager you’ve impressed and the people you’ve helped become a part of your professional network. These are the people who think well of your attitude and abilities and who would hire you for future roles or recommend you to others. They are essential to your future career growth.
Whenever possible pitch in on projects outside of your immediate job description. This gives you the opportunity to try new things, learn more about other parts of the business, and potentially acquire new skills.
I learned to write HTML code and CSS and became quite adept with Photoshop on the job at one of my earliest positions. This is because while my principal role was as a writer/editor, I needed HTML templates and images to publish pages. As I took on more and more of these technical duties, my role expanded and I was eventually put in charge of the entire website.
What makes your resume stand out? Not the duties of your job or your day-to-day responsibilities. What catches employers’ eyes are your accomplishments. Those times that you stood out on the job and achieved what others in a similar role might not have.
So, whatever your job is, look for those opportunities to go above and beyond what is expected. Can you save time, save money, increase sales or customer satisfaction, deliver more or do it better?
Those accomplishments are an essential part of your career currency, the elements that will allow you to get hired for new jobs and promoted to better jobs throughout your working life.
Your career currency is your professional reputation, your network of contacts, the skills and experiences you learn on the job, and the accomplishments that you rack up that prove what you can do – that set you apart.
You start earning these right from your very first job, and you can add to them at every job you ever have. Showing up on time, working hard, helping out others, providing great service: people remember these things, and they’ll want to work with you again and recommend you to others.
This currency is also transferable across industries, which is helpful because most people will change industries at least once in their careers.