We spend most of our lives investing in other things – children, romantic relationships, hobbies, favorite sport’s teams, 401(k)s, etc. But at the end of the day, sometimes we just need to invest in ourselves.
If you’re looking for a way to take your career to the next level, a few strategic investments in yourself will go a long way. Here are some ideas:
Find a Mentor
Want to grow as a person and as a professional? Find a mentor (or mentors) and latch on. It’ll be one of the most beneficial things you ever do.
“A mentor is someone who is in the same or similar industry as you, but further along in their career. Because they have a greater body of knowledge and experience, they are able to teach you invaluable lessons that you’d otherwise have to learn the hard way,” entrepreneur Timothy Sykes explains. “Ultimately, a mentor finds fulfillment in “paying it forward,” and you get to benefit from their targeted teachings and guidance.”
When you have a mentor, you don’t have to make avoidable mistakes. Instead, you get the benefit of learning by proxy. And instead of learning principles and concepts, you can actually learn how to think critically and solve problems. At the end of the day, a good mentor imparts their knowledge and shows you how to become more self-sufficient.
Refine Your Personal Brand
One of the best things you can do in today’s digital age is to refine your personal brand. Put yourself out there and build a brand that people connect with. This can play out any number of ways but usually looks like creating a strong social media presence and consistently creating good content. (This could be in the form of blog posts, social media posts, YouTube videos, podcast episodes, etc.)
Invest in Specific Skills Development
Always look for ways to advance your skills. More specifically, try stacking complementary skills together to make yourself more valuable.
For example, if you’re a copywriter, you might invest in acquiring skills like graphic design or sales. Each of these skills can be used to strengthen the other. If you’re just a copywriter, you have to depend on other people for work. But if you’re a copywriter who knows graphic design and has some sales chops, you could create a website, hire some other writers, and sell services to large businesses. Suddenly you’re not just a writer – you’re an entrepreneur.
Obtain an Industry Certification
If you have time, one of the most effective ways to invest in yourself is to pursue an industry certification that allows you to enjoy more opportunities, higher pay, and greater career flexibility.
For example, if you’re an accountant working in the finance industry, you could obtain your CPA designation. It takes a lot of work – and the CPA exam review process is challenging – but you’ll enjoy a long list of benefits on the back end.
Network Like Crazy
As the old saying goes, it’s not what you know but who you know. In today’s crowded professional world, this principle is more relevant than ever before.
The power of networking lies in its multiplicity. Like the six degrees of separation principle states, all people are (on average) six or fewer social connections away from each other. Thus the more people you connect with, the more likely it is that you’ll meet someone who can partner with you, offer you a job, or put you in contact with someone else who can.
The best way to network is to put yourself out there. You don’t have to attend formal networking groups or business get-togethers – just be active! Attend events, go out on a Friday night, say yes when a friend invites you to a party where you won’t know anyone else. The more you put yourself in contact with others, the better.
Give Yourself an Advantage
The business world is competitive these days. If you want to be successful, you must find ways to stand out. By investing in yourself professionally, you have the ability to rise above 90 percent of your peers and stand out as someone who is motivated and directed. Pick a couple of the suggestions highlighted in this article and get to work!