How to Find Opportunities for Growth in the Workplace
Updated March 22, 2023
Growth can be an indicator of a healthy career in any industry. That's why many professionals seek positions that offer them opportunities to grow their careers when looking for a job. Understanding how to recognize and take these opportunities can help increase your chances of having a rewarding professional career. In this article, we define what growth opportunities are, explain their importance, and outline how to find such opportunities in your workplace.
What are opportunities for growth?
Opportunities for growth refer to circumstances that make it possible for you to progress in your career. These opportunities provide you with avenues for expanding your knowledge base and skill set as a professional and typically take the form of new roles and experiences. Although they may seem challenging, taking advantage of growth opportunities can be critical to your career advancement.
Why are growth opportunities important?
Opportunities for growth can help you achieve the following:
An improved sense of well-being: Taking up challenges that spur your growth personally and professionally can improve your sense of well-being. As you work towards achieving new goals, you can expand your abilities, which can leave you feeling good about yourself and lead to increased feelings of happiness and accomplishment.
Better performance at work: Expanding your abilities with growth opportunities can enhance your performance and productivity at work due to increased feelings of motivation resulting from the availability of such opportunities.
Less stress and anxiety: Uncertainties surrounding progression paths can be a source of stress for some professionals. Taking advantage of growth opportunities can give you a sense of progression and help reduce this anxiety.
Greater job satisfaction: The sense of progression that can come from taking growth opportunities typically leads to greater satisfaction at work. It can also encourage you to keep moving forward in your career.
Healthy self-esteem and self-confidence: Taking on new challenges is a great way to increase your self-confidence. Telling yourself that you are capable of overcoming any task can help improve your self-worth.
How to find growth opportunities at work
Here are some steps you can take to find growth opportunities in your career:
1. Take a strategic upwardly-mobile position
Strategically positioning yourself as an up-and-coming professional can help you attract growth opportunities in your workplace. You can do this by finding non-intrusive ways to share your successes with your superiors and building excellent listening skills, which can help you gain valuable insight into the opportunities you need. Attending networking events and participating actively can also help you win over your colleagues and other decision-makers in your workplace.
2. Demonstrate your value
Convincing your supervisors of your value can help you progress quickly within the organization. You can demonstrate your value by taking initiative and completing tasks beyond expectation. Staying up-to-date with developments within your company and the broader industry can also make you valuable as you can participate more actively during business meetings.
3. Take intentional steps to increase your growth opportunities
Taking proactive steps can improve your chances of securing opportunities for growth. For example, you can find a mentor who wants to see you progress and has achieved career growth similar to that you desire. You can also develop a realistic personal growth chart and set high professional standards for yourself.
Read more: How to Create a Career Development Plan
Types of growth opportunities
Consider pursuing the following types of growth opportunities:
Mentorships can act as a tremendous source of guidance toward reaching your career goals. Mentors can give you actionable tips and strategies from their years of experience in the industry to help you grow your career. They may also have a vast network of connections that you can access, which may provide more opportunities in your industry. Finding and nurturing a relationship with a mentor can accelerate your career growth.
When you find a mentor willing to take you on, consider asking the following questions:
How did you get into this career?
What did you study in school?
What is your biggest accomplishment?
What is your best career advice?
What are your current goals or aspirations?
How can I work toward your level of professional success?
Leadership development programs
Many organizations offer in-house leadership programs that can equip you with the qualities you require to thrive in leadership positions. Consider taking advantage of such programs if your organization provides them. If not, taking programs independently can be worth the extra effort if you're aiming for a promotion, as they can help improve your resume.
Many companies offer career growth opportunities through regular employee training sessions. These sessions are different from initial onboarding sessions, and they typically aim to equip attendees with specific skill sets that improve their work capacity. Consider taking advantage of such training to consolidate your strengths and improve your weaknesses.
Career development services
Some employers offer career development services to drive growth in their employees. These services may include career counselling, job shadowing, informational interviews, instructional videos, and mentorship programs. If your employer provides any of these services, take advantage of them to expand your capacity at work and move your career forward.
Some employers cover tuition for employees who want to go back to school to further their education. Acquiring another degree can qualify you for more advanced roles within your organization and industry. Your employer may even decide to give you a promotion upon completing your program.
Continuing education courses
Education courses are viable alternatives to going back to school for an entire degree. They can help you develop new skills to improve your chances of progressing in your workplace. Some of these courses give you certifications that you can include in your resume. Many community colleges and technical institutions offer these courses both online and offline, and they usually take place after working hours. Sometimes, your employer may be willing to reimburse you for your class fees.
Soliciting feedback from your employer or manager is another excellent way to grow in your career. Whether positive or negative, feedback can be beneficial to your progress as a professional. When it's positive, you can gain self-confidence and a renewed appreciation of your strengths. When it's negative, it can help you identify areas for improvement. If you haven't had a performance review session in a while, consider setting one up with your manager or supervisor.
Additional responsibilities can also be a type of growth opportunity in the workplace. Whenever you find that you're completing your tasks too quickly, consider asking your supervisor or manager for additional duties. Ensure the responsibilities you request can push your boundaries and help you grow as a professional.
Networking events are an excellent opportunity to meet and interact with fellow professionals and boost your chances of finding growth opportunities in your industry. Many professional organizations host such events regularly. Consider attending these events to socialize and establish new connections that may lead to exciting career opportunities.
Consider attending any retreats or other trips your company organizes. They offer you the opportunity to get to know your colleagues better and can build a sense of togetherness, which can help you improve your team's collaboration skills. Having a positive attitude during these trips can also show your colleagues that you're enjoyable to be around. You may find that making a good impression leads to exciting new opportunities in your workplace.
When you're ready to progress in your company, you can inquire about any potential promotions or internal job openings. Since many companies prefer to hire internally, you may have a competitive advantage, especially if you're already performing well in your role. When interviewing for a work promotion, treat it as a formal interview. By preparing for interview questions, dressing nicely, and acting professionally, you can convince your employer that you're serious about this opportunity.
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