5 tips on how to build your career

5 tips on how to build your career

by Andrea Byaruhanga

Updated August 25, 2023

If you’re wondering how to build your career, look past your CV (resume). A great CV will get you through the door for an interview, but it won’t help you get to the next level of your career. Below, we offer some steps that would make it easier to build your career. You can follow these tips in whatever order makes sense for you on your career path – it all depends on where you are now and where you want to be. If you’re ready to learn how to build your career, read on!

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1. Make a plan

A crucial step when you’re trying to build your career is planning. Think about what’s important to you, what you want to achieve and what success looks like – after one year, five years and so on. Then, it’s time to plan!

Keep it small and specific

While long-term goals are important (where you see yourself in 10 years, for example), you should also set a series of small, specific, short-term goals.

A series of smaller goals will make everything more manageable. You’ll see the path in front of you more clearly, and you’ll also identify any skills or experience you’ll need to gain before you can move on to the next stage. Aiming for short-term goals rather than focusing on one big end goal will also let you see what’s working and what’s not, and even change your plans more easily if you decide you want to go in a different direction.   

2. Build a network

As you’re doing your research on how to build your career, you might notice that it’s often not just what you know, but who you know. Yes, skills are important when you’re trying to build your career, but they’re not everything. With so many qualified people competing for jobs, it can be hard for companies to know who to choose. Often, hiring managers will select applicants they’ve met or spoken to before rather than a random person. That’s where networking comes in!

How to network

Make sure you’re connected on sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. Follow professionals who have the job you want or who work for a company you’re interested in; start engaging with them by “liking” and commenting on their posts so you stand out from the crowd. You can also join professional groups on these social platforms and start conversations or ask questions to connect with others. 

Networking benefits

Making connections is a valuable way to build your career. Here are some benefits:

  • Learn what you need to do to get the position you want by speaking to professionals who already work in that field. 
  • Find out about job opportunities from people in your network. 
  • Show off your skills and get your name out there by working on a task or project with someone in your network. 
  • Connect directly with a CEO or hiring manager, which could eventually lead to a job opportunity.

3. Market yourself

Have you ever wanted to do business with a company only to find out that they didn’t have a website? 

It can be annoying when you can’t find any information about a company online. It can even make you decide to spend your money somewhere else. 

The same is true for you: If a potential employer can’t find you online (or if all they find is a Facebook profile with photos of you and your friends at the pub), they’ll likely lose interest in you. Luckily, there are some things you can do!

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Get professional on social media

The first and simplest way to start marketing yourself well online is to make sure all of your social media profiles – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. – show you in a way that won’t scare off potential employers. In other words: Keep it professional . . . or keep it private. 

Certain platforms also let you create a business profile. This is a great option if you have a product or service you’re trying to promote.

Show yourself off with a website

You should also consider starting your own website. What you put on it is up to you, but here are some examples: 

  • A one-page description of your qualifications, experience and unique selling points (what makes you different from others in your industry)
  • A blog where you write about topics and trends in your industry or the industry you’re trying to get into
  • A portfolio of your work (such as photos if you’re a family photographer)
  • Testimonials and recommendations from people who have worked with you in the past

Here’s the thing about the job market: something that may be in demand today might not be tomorrow. On top of that, technologies and methods change in every industry. That means that you need to stay flexible and learn continuously. The minute you stop learning, your future job opportunities will start to diminish. 

Focus on skills, not job titles

If you really want to learn relevant skills to build your career, make sure that when you search for new jobs or positions, you focus on learning new skills, not just having a high-status job title. Think of it this way: Even though a job as a department manager might sound cool and important on your resume, will it really equip you with the skills you need to achieve your career goal as a freelance web designer? Maybe, but probably not. That’s why you need to make sure every opportunity and experience is relevant to your career path.

5. Get transferable skills

We mentioned above that when you’re trying to move up in your career, you should take positions that will give you the most relevant skills and experience. 

While that’s absolutely true, there are also some skills that will make you more attractive to all employers in general – communication or problem-solving skills, for instance. These skills, called “transferable” or “portable,” can be used in a variety of jobs.

Learn a language

A fantastic example of a transferable skill is bilingualism; studies have shown how language skills can benefit job-seekers. One 2017 study showed that between 2010 and 2015, the number of companies advertising jobs for bilingual candidates more than doubled – and the need continues to rise. Simply put, knowing more than one language makes you more valuable and useful to a company. 

If you’re someone who’s trying to grow a business of your own, being bilingual can help you with that, too: Knowing more languages will bring more opportunities to gain clients and start global business relationships.

If you don’t know a second language, there’s no better time to get started. Lingoda’s expert teachers can help you upgrade your language skills on a schedule that works for you.  

Use the right building blocks for your career

Figuring out how to build your career doesn’t have to be overwhelming. By planning, networking, marketing yourself and learning relevant and transferable skills, you’ll begin to grow your career, no matter where you’re starting from. 

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