Making the Most of Your Current Job

What’s next?

After being settled into your job for awhile – whether it’s your first position after college or several jobs later – there comes a time when you’ll start itching for something more.

And while quitting and heading off on a world-wide adventure sounds like fun, it’s probably a better idea to take advantage of the opportunities where you’re at.

Not only does this help you grow personally, but you might discover that your current job is a stepping stone to a bigger position within your existing company – or the perfect place to learn the skills needed to pivot to a different organization. Maybe you have the heart and soul of an entrepreneur, so spending time in a variety of roles can provide you with a solid foundation to run your own business in the future.

So while you’re in your current job, what can you do to enhance your long-term career?

Have a winning mindset.

Don’t think of your current position as a pit stop on the way to what you really want to do, realizing that every situation can be a valuable learning opportunity if you keep your eyes open. As a student, there were teachers you didn’t like and classes you didn’t enjoy, but they gave you a chance to learn conflict resolution and persistence even when you were bored. As long as you’re learning and growing, there’s value in any challenge.

Stop looking at your phone.

Whether you’re working with a bunch of people your own age or interacting with more experienced professionals, use your time at work to build relationships and observe how they use their time. You’ll discover what habits make others successful – and you’ll see what to avoid when someone stumbles.

Put in quality face time.

No, not THAT FaceTime – actual human face time. Even if your organization offers flexibility schedules and remote working options, it’s smart to be seen. Not only does this improve the impression others have about your work ethic, it also contributes to building relationships with others (as mentioned above).

Sharpen your skills.

There are many different ways to hone your current expertise or develop new competencies. Ask your manager if you can shadow a co-worker you admire or find out if there are extra assignments you could take on. Volunteering or joining a professional association is another great way to develop leadership skills, while also giving back to your community or industry. In addition to traditional workshops and conferences, webinars can be a cost-effective and convenient way to pick up some new knowledge. Taking these deliberate steps will serve you well throughout your career.

Explore other careers.

Or look at your chosen field from a different perspective. Even if you’re not planning to change jobs at this very moment, it doesn’t hurt to explore other opportunities. Look at job boards, sign up for notifications from placement firms, visit industry association websites (AICPA or SHRM, for example) or spend some time with our Career Pathfinder.

Check out the UIS Career Development Center.

We have a wide range of resources for both current students and alumni. A great deal of the information in our online career center is free and just a few have a modest fee associated with them (based on where you’re at in your career). Our free GOALS Program features options for the different stages of your education and career development, which provides value for many years after graduation. We’ve also created a new video to provide you with additional insights into growing in your current job – grab some popcorn and watch it now.

So, keep crushing your career! And tell us about it. We love to hear success stories from our alumni!


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