Invest in your career: It’s your greatest asset

The only way to get ahead in your professional life is by constantly investing in your career. Even a tiny investment in terms of time and effort can help you reap rich rewards. Here’s how to do it.

What’s the plan?
Set down short-term goals that you want to fulfill in the next five years, and long-term ones that you aim to reach in 10, 15 and 20 years. Then write down what you have done to achieve these objectives or what you will need to do. Your appraisal is a clearer reflection of your performance as it measures your output vis-a-vis that of your peers. So, be willing to take on extra responsibility, juggle your work hours a bit, face new challenges and learn niche skills. If you want to remain relevant in the job market, you need to constantly reinvent yourself.

How do I reinvent?
Review your career portfolio at least once a year. Here’s a three-point agenda.

Introspect: Ask yourself, am I happy at my current post? What’s my weakest point? However, don’t jump jobs simply because you suffer from an itch. List what’s making you unhappy at the job.

Evaluate: When you review your career, don’t just focus on your own achievements, but compare it with your peers in the office and industry. You also need to take a hard look at the company and sector where you are working. If the future seems a little dim, start looking at other industries.

Enhance: Updating your skills is the most important step. Whether you take a long-term sabbatical or pursue a parttime course, strive to learn something new every year. Choose your field of knowledge carefully. If you believe you are a domain guru, widen the scope and learn a new hobby.

Should I take a sabbatical? A good way to make an effective career transition is to either enrich your academic profile or try another industry for a short time. If you don’t want to leave the security of a job, begin by freelancing in the sector you have chosen or pursuing a short-term/part-time course. If the aim of taking a sabbatical is to set up your own venture, you may have to make a few risky investments to earn high returns and build a substantial corpus.

Like every other asset you own, your career too needs to be overhauled regularly.

(Source: ET)