Last month I ran a webinar on proactive Career Management, I couldn’t believe how quickly the places were booked, I increased them three times and it was still sold out. This clearly showed me that individuals realise how important this topic is.

During the webinar, I asked, “Who regularly makes time to work on their career?” Interestingly, only 13% said they regularly made time to work on their career. The majority only did so when there was a specific challenge or at review time. The main barrier wasn’t time, which I have to admit surprised me, there was an even split at 33% between “I don’t know where to start” and “It’s too hard to get the help I need”.

Does this resonate?

During the webinar, I discussed the three important guiding principles to manage your career well:

  • Making time.
  • Small steps make all the difference
  • Review what you are doing and the progress regularly.

In this article, I am going to assume you are going to dedicate at least 15-30 minutes each week to manage your career and have given some thought to your overall direction of travel. I will share with you five top tips of what you can do in that time, as small steps really do make all the difference:

  1. Review your LinkedIn profile

Check it looks positive and up-to date. This is your professional shop window to the world – what do you want people to see/know about you? You can read more on this: LinkedIn profile update – why & what to work on.

  1. Check you are connected

Once your LinkedIn profile is in shape, connect with people you have worked with – colleagues, clients and other connections. Always write a note to new connections. Top tip: draft something in a document that you can copy and paste in, adding some personalisation.

The search function makes it very easy to find someone you need to, even if you have forgotten their name. Just adding three people a week is 78 in 6 months.

  1. Consider key people in your organisation who don’t know you or not very well. Reflect on how you could increase your exposure to them to improve your career prospects, this article explains why this matters. Pick those who are key decision makers or who you think have influence. This can be more tricky while working from home so this article gives you some ideas on how to do this.
  1. Build your external network

This can be extremely helpful for having a sounding board, to learn and to hear of career opportunities. If you are part of a professional body, see what events they are running (many are running them online, I know as I am speaking at them!). If there is no obvious professional body, ask trusted colleagues if they attend any good networking groups. Even if you just attend one a quarter, it is a start.

  1. Update your CV

It’s a lot easier to talk meaningfully about work you have done soon afterwards, rather than 3 years later! Not having an up-to-date CV is one of the main reasons people don’t apply for new opportunities which come up. It feels like a big effort in a short timeframe, if your CV is 90% up-to-date, this isn’t an issue.

I hope these tips help you know how to get started. In terms of getting help, yes you can get tailored individual support from working with me but reading books, articles and talking to your colleagues all help too. Remember it is about small steps regularly.

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