Six tips to take your career to the next level
Including some technical workshops experts swear by
When it comes to phases that make you dread the workday, there’s arguably nothing worse than career stagnation. Stress can be managed by better time management, feeling out of your league can be remedied by diving into research. But boredom tends to bring on overthinking, a feeling of paralysis and serious nine-to-five blues. The workforce is continuing to rapidly evolve, and the advice your college advisor or your parents gave you on how to get out of a work rut probably won’t cut it anymore. Whether you’re trying to pick a university major or feeling trapped after ten years at the same company, there are a few key actions that can get you past the hump and on to your next career adventure—because when you spend the vast majority your time in the office, you deserve to feel stimulated.
Scope out a mentor. It’s a myth that successful people are too busy to spend time helping a subordinate. Most jump at the chance to impart their wisdom, and appreciate someone who has initiative and a willingness to learn. Ideally, your mentor is someone who works with you or close to you, so you have ample opportunities to hang out, grab lunch or observe them in action. When it comes to recruiting someone, don’t undervalue compliments—flattery can indeed get you somewhere in this regard. And there’s no need to whip out the mentor word right off the bat. Simply ask for some advice or career tips, and let the relationship flow from there.
Invest in technical training. If you’re in a rut at work, boosting your own skills is a great way to get considered for a promotion, or to be more qualified for another role elsewhere. There are many reputable training firms in Toronto, and The Marquee Group is a great option for anyone looking to get ahead in technical financial skills training (financial modeling, data science, Excel, and valuation). They have a hands-on teaching approach and have trained thousands of professionals at universities, corporations and financial institutions around the world. Their downtown Toronto office hosts a number of open courses available for anyone who wants to participate. For instance, this spring you can sign up for topics like Real Estate Development Modeling, or Building a Financial Model.
Get over your fear of networking. Networking gets a bad rap, and we get it: there’s something inherently uncomfortable about corporate wine and cheeses where everyone is clad in collared shirts and nametags. At its core, though, networking is about making connections, and there are many organic ways in which to do so. Simply introducing yourself to someone you admire in your field is a great way to start—and social media makes it even easier to strike up a conversation these days. Of course, industry events still provide an excellent opportunity to meet a bunch of people in one night—just make sure to follow up afterward so the connections don’t fizzle.
Crunch the numbers. Most careers these days require some amount of data know-how, whether it’s managing a budget or creating super-complex financial models. One way to differentiate yourself from your co-workers is to become the go-to person for statistical analysis. Mastering data management can be intimidating for employees without a business degree. By taking an immersive course, like Excel 1: Core Data Analysis or Python 1: Core Data Analysis, which is offered by The Marquee Group, you can add another layer of technical skills to your arsenal—and be even more valuable in the boardroom.
Ask for feedback. Employees don’t always have the most accurate view of their own strengths and weaknesses. It takes humility to ask for feedback, and to actively work on areas of improvement. The simple action of asking your boss what they think of your work can reap massive rewards: you’ll get the satisfaction of knowing what you’re doing well, and won’t have to waste your brainpower wondering what it would take for you to get ahead.
Follow your gut. At the end of the day, feeling stuck in a role may be a sign to move on to new challenges. Instead of pushing those feelings away, try to really listen to what they’re telling you. It’s never too late to start a new career direction, especially with so many training opportunities available.
For more information on how to sharpen your technical skills, visit marqueegroup.ca.