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5 ways to get ahead in your career

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23 August 2017

It’s almost the end of Q1, which is a good time to take stock of how your professional life is faring this year. We quizzed our Australian management team on the areas they are looking to improve this year and their advice for making professional gains in 2015.

1. Build a profile within your industry

When it comes to your career, your reputation and your network are two of your most valuable assets.  “Gaining high visibility and a positive, trusted position will enable you to build quality relationships with more people in your niche markets, which will result in an increased number of prospects and career opportunities,” says Corin Cheeseman, Director, Technology, Michael Page Australia.
 
That means that there’s no getting away from networking. “For senior level professionals I would recommend aiming to attend a certain number of industry events to broaden your personal network,” says John MacLean, Director, Legal, Michael Page Australia. “This will not only allow you to share best practice within their industry, but it will also open up possible doors for you in any future job search.”
 
However, also reserve some energy for building your online profile. This can be as simple as making sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and easy to find via keyword search. Additionally, stay active on LinkedIn – stay in touch with your contacts, participate in relevant industry groups and share your ideas via status updates and blog articles. The aim is to remain front-of-mind within your network while demonstrating your expertise and value within your industry.
 

2. Fine-tune your leadership skills

“A good leader should put the fire into their people and not put the fire under them,” says Niall O’Rourke, Associate Director, Technology, Michael Page Australia. Keeping your team motivated and engaged should be a number one priority for anyone in a managerial position. While it is important to focus on your own career goals, it is equally as vital to work with your team to help them achieve theirs.
 
“Helping your team to learn and accomplish their goals will also help you accomplish more,” says Andrew Pownall, Director, Engineering and Manufacturing, Michael Page Australia.
This sentiment is echoed by says Simon Faircloth, Director, Finance, Michael Page Australia.
 
“My goal for 2015 is to ensure everyone in my team improves and develops in their role, and then enjoys the success that will follow,” he says. “If I achieve this then I will know that we will reach our overall goal of hitting and exceeding our budget for 2015.”
 

3. Drive innovation in your business

Don’t use challenging economic conditions as an excuse to grow complacent in your role.
“After two years of operating in a challenging market, 2015 is the year to accept that the market is not likely to change, but we will simply have to look at our business and identify new and innovative ways to grow revenue and profit,” says David George, Regional Director, Finance, Michael Page Australia.
Those who are able to demonstrate creative thinking and innovative solutions within an organisation will be better placed for upcoming career opportunities.
 

4. Think long term when planning your career

The most successful professionals are those who maintain focus on what it is they really want.
Always keep your end goal in mind, and consider how each career step fits into the bigger picture. Think about your long-term plan and what you need to achieve this year to work towards your five to 10 year goals.
 
“While some short-term opportunities may seem attractive, they need to also be assessed against the long-term plan to ensure you keep your goals on track,” says Christy Moses, Associate Director, Marketing, Michael Page Australia. If you work in a fast-changing sector, learn how to plan ahead.
 
Those who are able to demonstrate creative thinking and innovative solutions within an organisation will be better placed for upcoming career opportunities.
 

5. Keep learning

“All too often we create ‘having’ goals but omit ‘learning’ goals,” says Andrew Pownall, Director, Engineering and Manufacturing, Michael Page Australia. “If we continually develop ourselves and are open to learning we are more likely to feel engaged, inspired and energised, which can help us accomplish more.”
 
Stay abreast of best practice within your industry and take any opportunity to attend conferences and events that will help you expand your knowledge. You might also consider the role of further education in your career – would an MBA open up new doors for you?
 
However, "unstructured learning settings are often just as valuable" says Alexandra Nuttall, Consultant, Global Opportunities, PageGroup Australia, recommends finding a suitable mentor within your industry.
“Find mentor who is in a position or company you want to be in and learn as much as possible from them. 
 
This will allow you to develop inside knowledge and capabilities when you get that ultimate position.”

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Summary: 
We asked five members on our management team to weigh in on what changes they think businesses should make. Their responses:
  • Build a profile within your industry
  • Fine-tune your leadership skills
  • Drive innovation in your business
  • Think long-term when planning your career
  • Keep learning