A goal of mine this year has been to really improve on myself in my career where I am right now. I'm not talking about finding a new job and getting a better salary. Talking about stuff you can do to improve where you are right now. Here are six things I've been doing lately to enhance my career.
Be a joiner
Here in the Chicago area there are so many options for professionals of all ages. With sites like Meetup and just the web in general it has made it easier than ever for people to connect to and join professional groups. Find a group and join! This will get you out of your own little work box and who knows what person you might meet who can help you in your current position or might give you that next big idea.
Get out of your comfort zone
While most of this advice might seem out of some or most of our comfort zones I'm talking about really getting out of your comfort zone. For me this came in the form of a nomination for the state museum professional organization's board last fall. When I got that phone call I was stunned that not just one but several people thought I was skilled enough to serve in this capacity.
In my mind this type of position was reserved for people who had been in the field for decades if not at least one decade. Starting in this position I definitely had a fish out of water feeling and knew I was out of my comfort zone but I knew that this would only help me grow. Since starting I've realized that I can use the skills I already have and really build on them in this position.
Make an actual effort to make new friends
I'm not talking about just going out to the bar and striking up a conversation. I'm talking about purposeful connecting. Yes I know networking is not a new concept but I know lots of people who just add people on their LinkedIn and only try to connect when they need something. Earlier this fall when Kevin and I enjoyed Open Archives Chicago 2016 I noted a couple of times how I was bummed out that I couldn't visit more places and meet more people because of the timing.
After thinking on that for a while it occurred to me I would do informational interviews and really work on connecting with other professionals. I know people in my field are always excited to show what their institution is about and what they're working on. This has really helped me not only professionally but also in pursuit of new places I can share here on the blog.
No I'm not talking about etiquette school although I'm guessing that we all know a few people who might need that! I'm referring to continuing education type classes. Now with the internet there are TONS of online resources. One example is with a certain level of membership in the American Alliance of Museums you can listen to all of their webinars for free. FREE! There are hours worth of webinars on everything from apps for museums to fundraising. This is an amazing tool. I guarantee that in your field you can find resources like this.
Maybe going back to school for another degree or certificate is more your bag. Go for it. I'm currently taking an online class on project management for history professionals. Thinking of project management in a more formal term is really helping me hone those skills.
Fill in that awards section
I was so excited a few years ago when I found out an exhibit I was a part of won an award. It was an awesome feeling getting to update that section of my LinkedIn profile and actually getting to add an award. I'm sure there is something that you've done, some project you've been a part of or something you're proud of that can be submitted for an award. If nothing else share that rocking accomplishment on your Facebook and LinkedIn so friends, family and colleagues can see the awesome work you've been doing.
Find a side hustle
This could be nothing relating to what you do for work or in my case it could compliment it really well. I'm guessing a lot of people reading this might be reading from their side hustle or main hustle ... blogging! The side hustle can be something you just use to get away but it can also be something you use to compliment your career and really enhance it.
What do you do to enhance your career?
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