Updated: Sep 24
Experts have found that building a career is much more rewarding and worthwhile than just having a job. In the modern world, where skills and technologies quickly become obsolete, it is very difficult to find and keep a permanent rewarding career.
In this regard, job security is a concept that no longer exists because you do not know what the future will bring. This uncertainty makes it necessary for us to continually educate ourselves and build a career that will last even when there are challenges in the economy and the tight job market in general.
We all desire a successful career, and numerous difficulties can derail a career even with great effort. Some challenges are universal, while others are within our control and can be overcome over time with consistent learning.
Here are five key challenges you must overcome to succeed in your career.
1- Build a portfolio.
Building a thriving career will be difficult if you do not have a portfolio. We all have to start somewhere, and this challenge should not discourage you because it is the first step in building a career. After you have studied and acquired the necessary knowledge, it is advisable to start small by moving from theoretical practice to real-world applications to find solutions to current and emerging problems.
There are numerous ways to build an excellent portfolio, for example, by offering services at a minimum price or pro bono to keep customers coming back. Also, it is practical to work under a professional or mentor in the field you are working in to learn and demonstrate skills in the industry while correcting any mistakes. It is worth noting that most jobs require that employees have experience in their position. With little or no experience, it is not easy to show employers that you are qualified for the job.
2- Learn new skills and develop competencies.
As you advance in your career or start a new job, you may need to develop new skills that match the requirements of the position. Previous skills you may have spent years learning are not necessarily outdated, and even if it seems like you are starting from scratch, previously learned skills can still be transferred and integrated with newly learned skills.
These (soft) skills include interpersonal skills, leadership, and problem-solving skills that are common in most professions. Assuming you are not sharp at these skills, you need to learn and develop them because soft skills like effective communication are essential to any business.
In addition, for a successful career, it is advisable to consider the cumulative value of a collection of skills to have a comprehensive background knowledge of the type of work you do. Employers in modern, competitive companies value employees with a solid background knowledge that facilitates problem solving and informed decision making.
Having the right skills and experience will prevent the impostor syndrome where you feel you are not good enough, which can be detrimental at all stages of your career.
Further Reading: What is Imposter Syndrome, and How to Overcome it?
3- Fears and mental doubts
Deciding to embark on a career path is a bold move, and the biggest challenge is fears and doubts about whether it is the right one. In such cases, we are our harshest critics and the mind tends to exert a negative influence when you embark on a new journey or leave a known path (that could be successful) for the unknown.
The biggest fear is failure and wondering how you will survive if the path you have taken takes a turn for the worse. Fear and doubt can also come from family and friends asking the tough questions.
It is especially important to discuss life-changing decisions with family to understand their views, as this can give you new insights that you may not have. But what if they end up preventing you from continuing on your path? The most effective strategy to deal with this challenge is to set clear goals about what you want to achieve and how you can achieve it.
In doing so, also think about what gives you meaning and satisfaction. Second, avoid sharing your thoughts with naysayers and taking their opinions lightly, as they may keep you from focusing on your career.
The most effective strategy to deal with your fear and doubts is to set clear goals about what you want to achieve and how you can achieve it. In doing so, also think about what gives you meaning and satisfaction.
Further Reading: 5 Things to Think About Before Changing Careers
Burnout is the emotional and physiological mental exhaustion that results from prolonged and overwhelming stress. It occurs when you are overworked, mentally drained and unable to meet constant expectations.
As the pressure mounts, you increasingly lose motivation and drive to complete your tasks at work. Burnout depletes your motivation and impairs your effectiveness, leaving you frustrated, helpless and disillusioned. You may eventually believe that you have nothing left to offer in your field.
Regardless of whether you have recognized the signs of burnout or have reached your breaking point, holding on to exhaustion will lead to further damage. At this point, it is advisable that you take a new direction by figuring out how to overcome burnout and return to a positive and healthy life at work.
For example, if the cause of burnout is shift changes at work, it is good to develop a new routine. Burnout can also be due to deep-rooted factors such as dissatisfaction at work. Learning new and relevant skills and bringing those experiences into the industry can help deal with this burnout.
Further Reading: 5 Tips to Change Your Mindset to See Problems as Opportunities
5- Build and maintain professional networks.
We are social creatures by nature, and relationships are important in all aspects of our lives. Regardless of how smart or resourceful you think you are in your career, you can not reach your full potential if you do not connect with others.
However, building professional networks is not as easy as it sounds and can be challenging.
Asking colleagues and friends to introduce you to their networks is one way to do this, especially for introverts and those who are uncomfortable talking to strangers.
Making a conscious effort to connect with people with whom you share a common career path will make it easier to share ideas and get the support you need to move forward in your career. Building and maintaining networks opens up opportunities that you might not have been able to take advantage of on your own.
Further Reading: 8 Tips to network effectively to get the job you want
Building a successful career requires planning to overcome the above challenges and achieve your professional goals.
A career plan helps you identify potential challenges and figure out how to solve or minimize them. In overcoming career-related challenges, gathering information by researching people and learning materials that interest you will prove useful in the long run and lead to the career you have always wanted.
Recommended Books to help you to have a successful career:
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