Although there are a lot of resources online to grow your career, it’s hard to know where to start. It can feel like your going through a rabbit hole with no way out. Despite that, knowing which resources and activities you can partake in to boost your career will help you succeed.
1. Take Time to Learn Skills that are Needed in Your Field
This might be easier said than done based on which field you want to be in. Some fields use specialized programs that would cost too much for you to buy. In this case, LinkedIn is a huge help. When I was first thinking about going into marketing, I would scan people who had similar roles that I wanted to have. From there, I would look at their past positions and skills list. Over time you start to notice the same terms being thrown around.
In my case, words like SEO, Photoshop, content writing, HTML, and Google Analytics kept coming up. Afterward, focus on the skills you can gain. I was able to free classes on Google Analytics, thanks to Google Analytics Academy. For Photoshop, I bought the student version of Adobe Cloud for a year. Look and find out what free resources your university offers! Now, my work wasn’t done yet – I needed to showcase my skills.
2. Create Projects that Demonstrate Your Skills
In this case, it helps to see what other entry-level workers in your field have done. For someone in marketing, this could mean creating popular social media. The important thing is to choose a project that will show off what you have learned and something you can keep up with. If you get too frustrated with your project, it might be time to change your course. You are just bound by your creativity and time.
Lastly, another factor to take into consideration is that you at least enjoy aspects of doing it. Why? If you hate doing the project, you will lose motivation quickly. I also think it’s a great time to reflect on what you hate and love about your project. This can help guide you in learning your strengths and weaknesses.
3. Find Out the Best Way to Show Off Your Project
So, you did it! You found the skills you needed, and you finished your project. And yet, nothing happened. Finally, here comes the promotion part. How are you going to display your work? Well, it depends on the situation. For a video interview, having a link to a website with your project or a PDF of your past work would be great. If you’re writing code, having it on GitHub could be perfect because you can just send a link to the interested party.
4. Get References by Doing Online Work
Getting people to vouch for you goes a long way. Unfortunately, if you just do work for yourself, you don’t have anyone as your reference. Websites such as Acadium let you work for someone else. After you finish your work from them, you can ask for a reference. You can also reframe who you use as a reference. When I first started applying for full-time marketing positions, I used people I had worked with on a school club. In my case, I had done a lot of marketing work on that club, so it made sense.
5. Join Online Groups and Interact
Your network is your net worth! You don’t need to network physically to make connections. I’ve seen people post on LinkedIn asking for job opportunities and get them! Sometimes, you have to shoot your shot and see where it lands. For me, I think the best way is to choose a few different places that you think will work best. Next, see how it goes after a couple of months.
Facebook and LinkedIn groups could be excellent places to get started. Besides, meet-ups can also be great when things go back to normal. When you join a group, observe how others are interacting. If everyone is just promoting themselves, it might be time to leave. You want to be in an online environment that you can build genuine connections and learn new things.
A ton of work and preparation goes into being able to use online resources to advance your career, but taking the time to use them is worth it. Sometimes, the best resource is one that allows you to show your work off to more people versus just teaching you how to do a particular skill. In all, no one’s journey is exactly the same. Pick and choose the ones that best suit you and your career.