NCI Blog

Career Development Tips: 5 Key Ways to Advance Your Career

Posted by Ana Dos Santos on 27 June 2024

Career Development - Anas Tips

The award-winning Career Development and Employability Service at NCI supports students as they transition to graduate employment by building skills which enhance their career prospects. Working in partnership with industry, the Careers Team deliver a number of key events such as CV workshops, interview training, networking opportunities and career information sessions to help students develop the confidence to succeed in their career.

Careers Information and Employer Liaison Assistant, Ana Dos Santos, works as a member of the NCI Careers Team to support Careers Advisors and students. In this guest post, she shares 5 key career development tips you can follow to advance your career, no matter what industry you're in.

Moving up the career ladder can feel daunting, but it's also incredibly rewarding. No matter what stage you are at, understanding how to develop your skills and navigate opportunities is key. Here are 5 essential strategies we have found helpful:

1. Build Your Network: Your Tribe Matters

Forget collecting business cards. Networking is about building genuine connections. Attend industry events and join professional groups. One of the most impactful things you can do is meet and connect with colleagues you admire. Absorb their knowledge, engage in meaningful conversations, and learn from others. These connections can open doors to new opportunities, provide valuable insights, and keep you updated on industry trends.

Our Career Development and Employability Team run events such as Employer and Alumni Networking sessions to equip you with the tools you need to succeed.

2. Find a Mentor: Your Guide on the Side

A mentor is more than just an advisor; they're a source of support and guidance. Look for someone whose career path aligns with your own. Approach them with a clear idea of what you hope to gain from the relationship. Remember, mentorship is a two-way street. Be prepared to offer your own insights and actively participate in the learning exchange.

Here at NCI, there is a team of Careers Advisors and Support Staff who are heavily networked and bring years of collective experience in industry and higher education to help you. 

3. Sharpen Your Skills: Never Stop Learning

The world of work is constantly evolving, so continuous learning is essential. Identify the key skills in your field – such as technical skills, which are specific to your job or industry - and soft skills, which are interpersonal skills like communication and leadership and will give you a clear understanding of the competencies needed to advance your career.

Mastering new software relevant to your industry or improving your public speaking skills can significantly enhance your professional profile. This can be achieved through engaging with online platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and LinkedIn Learning, which offer courses tailored to various fields. Another string to your bow would be attending workshops or finding opportunities to apply your skills in real-world projects.

In addition, NCI provides a wealth of learning opportunities. We offer a wide range of courses, including undergraduate programmes, postgraduate degrees, diplomas, certificates, and even Springboard+ programmes which are designed explicitly for upskilling and reskilling professionals.

View all courses offered by National College of Ireland.

Springboard+ HCI Programmes September 2024

4. Set SMART Goals: Milestones to Success

Don't just dream big; set clear and achievable goals (SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound). This will give you a roadmap to follow and a sense of accomplishment as you achieve each milestone. Regularly track your progress and adjust your plan as needed.

5. Invest in Yourself: Education Pays Off

Consider pursuing additional qualifications, like a certificate or even a master's degree, to stay ahead of the curve. This demonstrates your commitment to your field and your desire to keep pace with the latest advancements. NCI offers one of the best avenues for doing this, and we provide flexible learning options to help you balance your studies with work.

Remember, career development is a journey, not a destination. By implementing these strategies and fostering a growth mindset, you'll be well on your way to achieving your professional goals.

Topics: Career Tips