A colleague once shared how unhappy he was at his job. He no longer cared and chuckled on how he would go in and out of work without anyone noticing. Well, someone noticed and a few months later he got laid off.
I have held jobs where I no longer cared for the work I was doing. I've also been frustrated by the lack of upward mobility or desired more pay. However, unlike my friend, I chose not to slack at work. Instead, I created a plan to get the job I wanted and the pay I believe I deserved.
While at work, I sought ways to increase my knowledge and enhance my skills. I took as many opportunities to help my coworkers and managers. In fact, as a branch manager, I volunteered for special projects and attended as many employee events where I could increase my exposure to the higher-ups.
The skills I learned would either be useful in my current job or I could take it elsewhere. In fact, this approach helped me land a Vice President role in marketing in 3 years.
Every day is a day to prepare and an opportunity to learn something new
There's a saying that luck is preparation meets opportunity. Basically, you must prepare yourself so you can take advantage of the opportunities that arise. I've been called lucky by many people. But luck was just part of the equation.
My first job was delivering pizzas. Back then I didn't want to just delivery pizzas, I wanted to make them. So I learned from the owner how to grate the cheese, make the sauce, mix the dough, and the right temperature to have the crispy crust.
In another job, I didn't like my schedule so instead of complaining, I created what I thought was a better schedule. I wanted to give a solution not create a problem for my manager. This led to becoming an assistant supervisor in 6 months.
When I started my banking career, I didn't just want to take deposits so I learned how to balance the vault, open accounts, do audits, and go out with my branch manager to solicit new businesses.
Again, I learned early on it was about increasing my value through attaining more skills and experiences. I encourage you to do the same in your pursuit of your dream life and career.
Follow these five steps to make yourself more valuable to your employer and your future career.
Change your mindset
The perception of our work environment plays a key role in how we feel and perform at work. When you are unhappy nothing an employer might do will change how you feel. You might feel stifled, unchallenged, or simply neglected. These feelings will often begin to impact your productivity and performance.
Focus on the positive aspects of your job. If there aren’t many, then it's time to switch employers. Just make sure you continue to give 100% at your current job while you hunt for a new employer. My pro tip: underperforming at your current job isn’t sticking it to your employer. It might actually lead to disciplinary actions and early termination.
Update your resume
Don’t wait until you are searching for a new job to update your resume. It’s hard to remember all the accomplishments and skills you’ve attained through the years. The key is to update your resume yearly or as accomplishments happen. An editable document available on the cloud (such as Google document, Word, or Evernote) is helpful to track your progress. When you're ready to search for a new job, you'll have updated information to include in your resume.
Update your LinkedIn profile
Recruiters hunt for top talent online and LinkedIn is a go-to-place. At least once a month, I'm contacted by recruiters about job opportunities. Update your LinkedIn profile once a year. Make sure your profile reflects your current skills, experience, and accomplishments. Write a compelling introduction that shows your passion, personality, and career goals. Use relevant keywords relating to the job and industry you want. Be mindful of what you post on LinkedIn as your coworkers and managers may be linked to you.
Know the job market
Even if you love your job, it’s good to know what new skills are important to remain at the top of your profession. This is accomplished by reading trade publications or following professional blogs. You might want to look at job opportunities and speak with recruiters or hiring managers. This can give you insights on what skills or experiences are on demand and required. Knowing what skills you need and working to attain them could lead to an internal promotion or help you negotiate a better pay increase with your current employer.
Increase your skills
Never stop learning. Always seek to find ways to increase your expertise in your chosen field. Get to know what is happening within your profession. Take advantage of all employer workshops and educational opportunities. Some employers pay for certifications and continuing education programs. It's your responsibility to know what skills are needed for your current job and experience you'll need to gain a promotion.