Transform your Current Job into your Dream JobThe following post is Part 2 of Grantham University’s new Career Launch blog series. With 2018 underway, many of you may be considering a job change or looking for ways to advance your career. These career-focused posts will help you improve your resume, make social media work for you and show you how to transform your current position into your dream job.

The latest State of the American Workplace survey from Gallup reports that 70% of U.S. workers were not engaged in their jobs from 2000-2012. Do you feel stuck in a repetitive loop of unsatisfying work with no end in sight? If so, you may also not be engaged. The good news is you have the power to change your circumstances and take control of your influence in the workplace. Check out the steps below to transform your current position into your dream job.

Your development is your responsibility

Understand your role in your professional development and accept that you, not your company, are responsible for your growth! Whether you’re a new graduate starting your career, or a professional looking for a change, it is important to take control of your destiny. If you feel your career is stagnant, you won’t get anywhere by making excuses and projecting blame on your company. Simply put, you should be the person most invested in your development.

Expanding your knowledge and skills can open you up to potential salary increases or promotions, and give you the experience you need to leverage your way into your desired position.

Unchain yourself from your job description

One of first mistakes people often make is assuming their job description defines them as an employee. Your job description was crafted by a manager with desired competencies in mind, but it should not prevent you from exceeding expectations. Extend yourself beyond your “established” duties to gain the skills you need for your next position.

This should be a strategic process. Research your desired position by analyzing job descriptions and identifying opportunities for personal growth. Define and address any barriers keeping you from performing your best. Most importantly, avoid an “It’s not my job” attitude, and take initiative to drive progress in your own development in the workplace.

Support the company’s mission

Even if you are not completely aligned with your employer’s values, it benefits your performance to identify areas of common interest. Your job will become more rewarding when you can confidently apply your daily tasks to the overall success of the business. This can allow you to identify the kinds of positions in which you may be interested, and it gives you the opportunity to make yourself known to departments outside your own. Support for the company will also give you a common platform to network with your co-workers — something that can be important if you do make the move to another department.

Several things you can practice to help you support the company’s mission:

  • Find the common ground between your personal values and the company’s mission.
  • Define your role and how this affects the company and its clients, partners, etc.
  • Understand your business’ customers, and how they experience specific departments and the company as a whole.
  • Research how internal departments interact with each other.
  • Identify areas for improvement within your own department and present a decent solution.

Strategically increase your responsibility

It is important to strategically pick the tasks you would like to absorb; if you fail to be selective you may find yourself overstretched and without direction. Choose skills that will stack up to experience in your desired position or career. For example, if your ultimate goal is to be a data analyst, you could request responsibility for some of the department reporting. Especially if you are working on high-priority or very visible projects, doing a great job could earn you recognition for your efforts and allow you to increase your influence.

Then again, if you find you have taken responsibility for tasks that are not returning your investment after a good stretch of time (say, six months or more), you might want to step down from those duties. Be honest with your manager and explain that you feel your expertise would be more useful if applied to other tasks or projects.

Questions to ask yourself to determine if a project will help you reach your career goal:

  • What impact will the project have on my department, the company, clients, etc.?
  • Is this an opportunity to become visible to other departments and to build relationships?
  • What will I have to gain from participating, and what return am I expecting?
  • Is this project aligned with the core competencies and skills I need for my desired position?

Build your internal network

Learn how to communicate and collaborate with internal departments and become a valued resource. Recognize the value other departments serve, and leverage this understanding during collaborative projects. If you have established yourself as a trustworthy resource, people will come to you for help, giving you the opportunity to make a difference for them. This will also build your reputation within the company and could open job opportunities of which you were unaware.

Steps you can take to build your internal network:

  • Make yourself available to your team and other departments.
  • Volunteer to help with company events to increase your visibility.
  • Recognize the value other departments have for clients and the company.
  • Identify key individuals to help you reach your professional development goals.
  • Network with individuals working in your desired position, in order to discover potential opportunities.

Utilize online resources and learning tools

The internet is full of learning resources that can allow you to stay up to date on business practices and enhance your professional development. Grow with Google, for example, is a platform housing many useful and free training opportunities, tools and events to grow your skills, career or business. Sites such as LinkedIn offer training from industry professionals through IN/Learning, and there’s a world of training available at Lynda.com.

If you’re a current Grantham student or interested in discovering what the University has to offer, we suggest checking out our dedicated Career Services department, where you can:

  • Explore the Career Booster webinar series, which includes topics perfect for career seekers and established professionals alike.
  • Register for the Career Launch program and learn how to perfect your resume, master job interviews, network like a pro and more!

Looking for even more information on ways to enhance your career? Feel free to contact Grantham’s Career Services department at 1-800-955-2527 Ext. 173, or email CareerServices@Grantham.edu today.

And remember to read Part 1 of our Career Launch blog series, “Lift Your Resume to the Next Level: 5 Easy Mistakes to Avoid.”

Raylein JonesAbout Raylein Jones

Grantham University Career Services Coordinator Raylein Jones coaches students and alumni on professional development strategies. Raylein holds a degree in psychology from College of the Ozarks, and she earned a programming certificate from Grantham. She is known for her inquisitive nature and desire to improve workplace effectiveness.

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