How to rev up your career this year
June 13, 2018 / Freelancing / Greg Atkinson
There’s a good reason we titled this piece ‘how to rev up your career’ and not ‘how to be better at your job’. As the Oxford Dictionary will tell you, a job is ‘a paid position of regular employment’, whereas a career is ‘an occupation undertaken for a significant period in a person’s life and with opportunities to progress’. The implications are clear: a job is something you do to get money, while a career is something that helps you grow as a person. We’re interested in helping you with the latter. And, although we’re a networking app that encourages freelancing and self-employment, this article is primarily for people who’re currently pursuing their careers as salaried employees. So, let’s see how we can help you rev up your career this year:
1. Put your networks to work
Often, you’ll need help from people who’re not immediately connected to you. That’s when you’ll need to know a guy who knows a guy (or gal). Luckily, you already do. Beyond your close family and friends, you have a vast extended network of past and present colleagues, school alumni, neighbours, and other people you know (but not very well). And whereas we tend to focus on how our current colleagues can help us do our job, our extended networks are fantastically useful for helping to progress our careers. These ‘weak links’ can teach you skills those in your close circle don’t possess, introduce you to mentors or influencers in your field, or give you insight into related industries. This lets you do your job better, and paves the way for future career development.
Kalido connects you with people in your extended circles, and their extended circles. If you’re looking for ‘a mentor who can give me business advice’, you could be matched with the vice-president (or the whole Board) of a Fortune 500 company in seconds, bypassing PAs, answering machines, and a whole truckload of admin. That’s because Kalido’s intelligent algorithms will recognise that the service you’re looking for (business mentoring), and the service they can provide are compatible, and your neighbour happens to be their niece (so you have a trusted contact in common). By showing you relationships you didn’t know existed, you’ll find new opportunities hiding among your extended networks. Then you can make the most of those opportunities.
2. Learn new skills
Jobs have a way of getting repetitive (which is our polite way of saying ‘terribly boring’). That’s because you’re in your bubble, doing the same thing all day, every day. But the world around you is advancing all the time, and new skills and techniques are constantly being developed. And if your job isn’t providing regular and frequent training, you might find that your skills have calcified. This is a problem because it makes you less competitive. For example, you might be taking 3 times longer to do something than your Millenial colleague, because they’ve got all the power of the latest iOS to help them, while you’re sorting through reams of papers manually. That’s why learning newer, better, faster ways of doing your job is crucial to staying relevant, and interested.
One of the best ways of learning something new, whether it’s technical skills or soft skills, is to have a mentor or tutor. With Kalido, you can match with someone nearby, since it’s much more convenient having someone down the street as opposed to the next city. You can also ask common contacts to confirm a person’s background and skills. Then you can get advice from them, grab a coffee, or even schedule more formal lessons to get the skills you need. Armed with your new skills, you’ll be surprised how much more efficient you can be.
3. Step up to solve problems
Every workplace has those ‘we’ll get to it later’ projects. It could be finding a recycling scheme in your area, getting a more reliable coffee supplier, updating the company logo, or any number of this-bugs-us-but-no-one-has-the-time-to-deal-with-it-now things. With your newfound skills and useful contacts, you could be the one that finally evicts those bugbears from your office.
According to Forbes, traits of an ideal employee include being action-oriented, autonomous, and hard working. And because with Kalido you’ll possess the skills to do something about those niggly little problems, or you’ll know a guy who does, you can confidently step forward to save the day (or the environment, or the coffee-deprived masses). Your proactiveness will set you apart; you can be a little smug about being excellent above and beyond the call of duty; and you might even be in line for a raise. Speaking of which…
4. Be more effective at negotiating a raise
When it’s time to have That Talk (in our experience the capitalisation is generally only warranted in 3 situations: ‘I want a raise’, ‘We’re pregnant’, and ‘Where do babies come from?’), you want to be as effective as possible during negotiations. To do that, you’ll need to take bestselling management author Suzy Welch’s advice, and combine research with an emphasis on your achievements. That’s because it’s important to frame your raise as fair compensation for your good work, as opposed to magnanimity from your boss.
Reach out to others in your field (call or chat to mentors or colleagues for free from Kalido), and get a sense of what the market price is for someone in your role, with your experience. If you’ve been in the same company for years, you might find that your yearly increase hasn’t kept pace with the rest of the industry. Having actual numbers to present to your boss shows that you’ve done the research, and you’re not just pulling numbers out of a hat. Then point out all the new skills you’ve learnt that make you so great at your job, and all the bugbears you’ve eliminated. By approaching your raise negotiation in this manner, you’ll be much more likely to get what you want.
And if you’ve done all of the above, but you’re still finding your job unsatisfying, perhaps it’s time to pursue a career in self-employment instead. If that’s the case, head over to Kalido, and we’ll get you started right away.