Very rarely will a fantastic opportunity land straight in your lap without you seeing it coming first. Although it seems out of the blue, often when you’re speaking to your friends and they tell you about some awesome thing that they just happened to fall into, they’ve actually done some ground work to get there, they just didn’t realise.
Whether you are already in a career or just wanting to find the right one for you; creating new opportunities for personal and professional growth is a really important skill to have. So I want to give you some tips to get you started on creating your own opportunities.
Tip 1: It’s not what you know but who you know
This is something that we really should have been taught in school. The truth is that no matter how much training you have, if you really want to get somewhere you need a great network of people to connect you. Don’t get me wrong training is also very high up the list of “must haves” but knowing someone in the business is always a bonus.
So how do you build these connections? Get up and get out there! Join up for social events, if you’re on a trip, chat to people at the airport, every time you’re out of the house look at it as an opportunity to make a new friend. Now, you’re probably thinking “I highly doubt that I’m going to meet Bill Gates while I’m playing tennis.” And you’d be right. But who’s to say Bill Gates cousins, dog groomer isn’t playing tennis? Every person is an opportunity for you to grow. And hey, even if the person you meet while you’re having a coffee has no connections to anything you want to get into, at least you’ve made a new friend. There’s no loss!
Tip 2: Put in the hours and make yourself available
Now this one can be a little tricky. There may be limitations to what you can do and there may be risks involved but the potential reward could be more than you’ve ever dreamed!
If you’re working in a career where you want to move higher up the ladder, try to put in some over time as often as you can (within reason of course). Offer your services for those special events. If something has to be done, be the first one to volunteer. What this is going to do is get you noticed! You’ll very quickly become known for your ability to adapt, work hard and be reliable. And there are no higher compliments in business. What you do need to be aware of with this strategy is making sure you’re not being taken advantage of. If you’re working your butt of and not being taken any notice of, then it’s time to try something else. Remember that your needs come first. Don’t run yourself ragged just to impress someone else.
If you’re still looking for that dream career then count yourself into this tip! Offer your time to anyone and everyone! If you’ve got the time to spare, then volunteer for anything you can, even if it’s only something that you’re remotely interested in because there are so many great things can come out of this. At the least, you can build that network we spoke about earlier and at the most you stumble upon that thing that makes your heart sing! You’ll also get some great experience in different types of jobs not to mention that volunteer jobs look great on your resume.
Tip 3: Knowledge is power
No matter who you are or what you do there is always room to learn more. The more skills you have, the more qualified you’re going to be for that promotion or career connection. This doesn’t mean you have to go straight to university and do a 3 year course (although you can if that seems like the way for you), learning can come in many simpler forms. For example, you could go and observe someone else that already has the career you want or head to that little computer class you saw a flyer about in the supermarket. Do an online program in your spare time. If your work is offering professional development opportunities of upskilling certificates, take them up on the offer. Never let an opportunity to learn pass you by. Handing over two hundred dollars for some extra training might just change your life!
Even just sitting at a coffee shop and people watching is going to give you a great learning experience, if you know what you’re looking for. Sit down and take a look at how they hold themselves, how they interact with each other and how they speak. Take notes from the people that are doing it well.
Everyone assumes that learning comes in the form of a certificate; this could not be more further from the truth. Learning is observing, listening and doing. So start looking for those opportunities
Tip 4: Remember to take care of you
Creating these opportunities for yourself is a fantastic thing to do and just getting out there and making connections is going to give you a great feeling but the most important thing to remember about doing this is to make sure that YOU are ok. If you are not feeling confident or you’re worn out take some you time to recuperate. And I don’t mean take 5 minutes to sit on the couch and breath, I mean send the kids off to a friend or family members, let the partner head out with friends, put on some music and soak in the bath with a trashy book. Take the time to properly unwind because not only will this help you re-energise and feel like you’re ready to take on the world but also, with the right attitude, the world will notice that you are ready to make things happen.
Opportunities aren’t things that just happen, as with everything in life, if you want it, you have to work for it. So it’s time to stand up, walk out that door and know that good things are about to come your way!
FOUNDER AND COMMUNICATION EXPERT
As Founder of Career Change Happens and Find Your Calling, Maria has had years of experience in the world of Cognitive Behavioural Conditioning, and personal and professional development. Her intense passion for supporting others in making their dreams a reality has helped thousands of people clarify and move into positive futures.