How to Advance Your Career: 3 Tips for Professional Growth

Are you looking to take your career to the next level? How can you better handle your work-life balance?

In Winning, Jack Welch offers some tips to further your career. His advice consists of finding the right job, getting promotions, and handling work-life balance.

Let’s dive into advice on how to advance your career and get the job that will benefit you.

1. Finding the Right Job

Welch claims that finding a job that’ll help you in your journey of learning how to advance your career can only be done through trial and error. There is simply no way of knowing how much you’ll like a job, or how good you’ll be at it, until you try it out. Furthermore, it’s important to understand that no job is perfect and there will always be things you don’t like about it. It’s not about finding the perfect job, but the one that best suits your needs and capabilities

That said, there are things to look for that can help you determine if a job is the right fit:

People: Perhaps the most important part of any job is the people you work with. Welch claims that no matter how much you enjoy the work or how much money you make, you’ll be miserable if you don’t enjoy being around your coworkers. Pay careful attention to whether the organization and the people within it share your general attitude toward work and life. If you find early on that the people you work with aren’t “your kind of people,” it may be better to cut your losses and search for another job. 

Opportunities: Welch argues that a job should provide you with opportunities both while you’re working there and after you leave it. By that he means that a job should help you grow as a person and learn new things while also giving you the credentials to further your career elsewhere if you choose to do so. Finding a job that challenges you is important because learning and growing keeps you motivated and mentally sharp. And a job that gives you credentials gives you options if your priorities change.

Joy and meaning of the work: Though a job with the right people and opportunities is important, the work itself must also bring you happiness and meaning. Welch claims that if you find yourself making excuses for having a job, like that the money is too good to pass up, it may be better to find something else. He also says you don’t need to think too hard about whether you’re passionate about the work—when you find a job you’re truly passionate about, you’ll know.

2. How to Improve Your Chances of Promotion

Welch argues that getting promoted often requires a fair amount of luck, but there are some things you can do to improve your chances. 

Expand your role: One major way to increase your chances of getting a promotion is to expand your position to include more responsibilities. This will help you prove your value to the company and stand out from the crowd. For example, if you’re a salesperson looking to become a sales manager, you could expand your role by coming up with a new sales strategy that everyone can use. 

Embrace change: Since adapting to change is crucial in business, employees who embrace change are more likely to receive promotions. Quickly and wholeheartedly embracing the new project or initiative your company is implementing is a surefire way to impress your bosses and prove your worth. 

Seek out advice from multiple mentors: Welch says you should seek out advice from as many mentors as you can, both formal and informal. By gathering as much useful information as you can, you’ll stand out from the crowd. You might have one person who fits the classic mentor mold (an older, more experienced person in your industry that you meet with regularly), but you should also look for advice from people younger than you, people outside your work, and anywhere else you can find it. 

3. Handling Work-Life Balance

There’s no perfect way to balance work and your social life, but if you want to advance your career, you’ll have to make some sacrifices. How much you’re willing to sacrifice is up to you, but Welch says that to make the best decision for yourself, there are a few things you need to understand about work-life balance:  

You and your boss have different priorities: Your boss’s priority is to get as much value out of you as possible. This doesn’t mean most bosses expect you to give everything to the company, but they’ll take as much as they can get. A boss gets paid to keep their employees productive, and most bosses will be willing to work with you on work-life balance if you’ve proven your value to the company and can remain productive. 

Figuring out how to balance work and life is ultimately up to you: Welch says that some bosses are more accommodating than others, but ultimately, it’s your job to figure out how to balance work and life. A boss can help with scheduling or help you be more efficient, but you’re the one who has to implement that advice. You have to decide what your values are and what you need to do to make them a reality. If that means quitting a job that you feel demands too much of your time, so be it, but only you can make that decision.

Once you understand your boss’s priorities and your own values, here are two things you can do to best achieve your desired work-life balance:

Keep work and life separate: However you prioritize your work and life, Welch says it’s important to remain focused on the task at hand and the people you’re with. When you’re at work, give it your full attention. Don’t plan your family vacation when you’re supposed to be working or text your spouse during a meeting. Similarly, try to limit the amount of time you work when you’re with family and friends. Don’t check your emails while playing with your kids or constantly talk business on a night out with friends.

Set boundaries: Once you’ve determined your priorities, Welch says you must be able to say no to requests that disrupt your chosen work-life balance. Welch points out that saying ‘no’ can be hard for many career-oriented people, as they think being an agreeable person shows they’re willing to work hard. But if you say yes too often, achieving the goals you set for yourself becomes nearly impossible.

How to Advance Your Career: 3 Tips for Professional Growth

Katie Doll

Somehow, Katie was able to pull off her childhood dream of creating a career around books after graduating with a degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. Her preferred genre of books has changed drastically over the years, from fantasy/dystopian young-adult to moving novels and non-fiction books on the human experience. Katie especially enjoys reading and writing about all things television, good and bad.

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