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10 Tips for Improving Your Career - for long term change!
(with exercise, nutrition, travel and learning)

Careers can improve or completely change direction over time, but long term changes don't just happen overnight - you need to work at it! When new opportunities arise - sometimes popping up without notice - will you be ready for them? There are many things you can do to increase you chances of being prepared for these opportunities when they appear.

1 - Re-evaluate Your Priorities

Take some time to stop and think about what your priorities are in your career and your life in general. Don't be side tracked by something that sounds good on the surface but won't take you where you want to be with you career. Just because someone else may do this, that or the other thing to develop their career path, doesn't mean you need to. Do what is best for you.

2 - Read

Read books, magazines, and trade journals related to the industry of either the job you have now, or from an industry you would like to be employed in. Reading will help you acquire a better perspective of the industry and your place in it.

3 - Do Volunteer Work

Volunteer to do work for a charity or other non-profit organization. Volunteering is a great way to network with both other volunteers and with the people working at the organization. This can especially be helpful if you can do volunteer work in an industry you would like to get a job in. You will not only have the opportunity to network but will gain experience in that industry and well as learn more about what a job in that field would be like on a day to day basis.

4 - Exercise Regularly

Exercise will make you feel better and be healthier later in your life. It will help you increase your stamina when working long hours or taking weekend or evening classes - or just getting through a typical work day! Right or wrong, healthier looking people are more likely to get promotions and raises too.

5 - Eat Right

Along with proper exercise, eating right can have the same positive effects mentioned above. If you have kids, proper diet for yourself is essential for teaching your kids good eating habits.

6 - Take Computer Classes

In almost all jobs in every industry basic computer skills are becoming more and more necessary. Classes in MS Word, Power Point or Excel could really help boost your career. If you are already familiar with these software packages, you could take an introductory programming class such as Basic, Perl or Visual Basic or whatever language is typically used in your workplace applications. Taking classes is a great way to meet new friends and network too! And if taking classes isn't your thing, or if you can't afford it, many books and online tutorials are available to teach yourself.

7 - Develop Your Communication Skills

Good communication skills are essential for all endeavors in life, especially for careers. This includes verbal, written and body language communication. Consider joining a local Toastmasters Club to increase your public speaking ability. These clubs are great even if public speaking really makes you nervous - the club members are very supportive! You will learn a lot from listening to other members speak also. Many books are available to help with writing skills and good body language. Remember, people who appear relaxed and composed, and can communicate their ideas clearly are more likely to get promotions and raises.

8 - Learn a Foreign Language

Learning a foreign language can be quite a challenge, but rewarding as well! Studying the culture and language native to a different country can help make you more aware of alternate ways of doing things - to think outside the box! Many companies have offices in other countries, knowing the language of one of these countries could help make you more qualified for positions opening there. Spanish would likely be the most helpful foreign language to learn for those in the US.

9 - Travel

If you can afford to take vacation - do it! Travel, much like learning a foreign language, can help open your mind up to new possibilies. Of course it's great fun and relaxing too!

10 - Challenge Yourself

Always challenge yourself - step outside your comfort zone! This is the only way you can grow both personally and in your career. Don't be afraid of trying something difficult, even if you fail at achieving what you originally intended to accomplish - you will still learn something new from the experience - and this will help your career!

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