Most people want to advance their careers, but that common ambition never goes beyond imagining a higher salary or a better job during an occasional daydream. Actually following through will usually require a sustained effort that involves exceeding your current minimum work requirements in order to do more than is asked of you during your spare time. However, certain types of career advancement can’t be incorporated into a busy lifestyle, as you may need to report to campus or do other offline activities in the course of earning a degree or obtaining additional experience. Luckily, there are plenty of activities you can do at home to advance your career from the comfort of your couch. More specifically, here are 20 career advancements and goals that you can work towards and achieve from anywhere:
1. Earn a Related Degree or Certification
Even if you already have a degree in your field, there’s a good chance that you could elevate your career status by pursuing a master’s degree or a higher-paying specialization. For example, a nurse who holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) could become a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) through online BSN to FNP programs. Since it’s typically not possible to skip straight to earning a master’s degree in any subject, entry-level degree holders always have the option of initiating that process through an online educational program.
2. Developing a Professional Web Presence
Whether you’re employed or an entrepreneur, having a professional and versatile web presence will always help to create a positive impression in prospective employers, clients, business partners, associates, and the general public. Essentially, you want to make sure your personal brand and reputation are well-represented online across all of the major directories and platforms. You can start by creating comprehensive LinkedIn and Google+ profiles. Use lists of business directories, social networks, blogs, and review sites to find platforms where you can publish another piece of your web presence.
3. Becoming a Better Communicator
Developing the ability to communicate more effectively and professionally will help you appeal to your bosses, clients, investors, and partners in any industry. When someone is deciding who to hire or invest in, communication quality will always be one of the main attributes considered. The art of speaking and writing in a persuasive, informative, and engaging manner will help you steer life in your direction regardless of which career path you’re traveling on.
4. Read Industry-related Blogs, Books, and Magazines
Reading is something you should already be doing with a portion of your free time. So, why not work some industry publications into your routine? Check out the top blogs and online magazines related to your job or business. Likewise, pull out your Kindle and see what kind of e-books you can find on related topics. Ultimately, the more you read, the faster you’ll become a bona fide guru in your field. You may also want to start your own blog that you can use to put a unique spin on trending topics and news stories.
5. Set Up Shop as a Freelancer
Regardless of what you’re doing in the course of your current job or business management duties, there’s a good chance you might be able to offer that same service on a freelance basis. For example, a CPA who works for a local accounting firm could easily be a freelance accountant on the side, offering remote accounting and auditing services to clients. Think about the skills and services you’re already using in your career and see if there’s a way to further monetize them in your free time.
6. Conduct an Online Job Search
Finding a new job that pays more and provides better benefits is the fastest and most straightforward way to advance your career. Believe it or not, this is a step you can take at home as well, thanks to the many job search sites that provide access to millions of opportunities. While you might need to complete an in-person interview to actually land the job, you can get your foot in the door and line up several prospective employers from home to start the process.
7. Take an Online Course
Taking an online course can be a fast alternative to earning another degree if you’re not ready to commit to a lengthy educational path. Many courses will provide a certificate of completion that you can add to your résumé or portfolio. Employers often view certifications in the same light as degrees to some extent because they both prove that you possess a high level of specialized expertise. Some courses can be completed in just a few days, while others will take a couple of months. Aside from earning another shiny credential, completing a course can also give you a valuable skill set that will help you in your own business endeavors.
8. Explore the YouTube-sphere in Your Niche or Field of Expertise
It doesn’t matter what kind of job or company you have, there are almost always going to be videos on YouTube that can teach you new approaches and techniques. In fact, most niches will have at least a handful of dedicated channels that regularly post relevant content. Subscribe to any channels that might help you make professional progress. That way, instead of using your entertainment time to watch meaningless shows and movies, you could be gaining meaningful edification.
9. Start an Exercise Regimen to Enhance Clarity
Starting an exercise regimen might seem like it’s completely unrelated to boosting your career, but the two actually go hand in hand. Studies have shown that people who exercise have greater mental endurance and clarity than those who do not. This makes perfect sense because it stands to reason that someone who is badly out of shape would have lower energy levels and more sluggish thought processes. In essence, you’re improving your body to create improvements in your mindset that will reflect positively in your career.
10. Create a Fridge-Front Schedule, Calendar, and List of Goals
Use a few refrigerator magnets to post a schedule, calendar, and a list of goals on the front of your freezer. This will keep you on track because you’ll encounter reminders every time you go to grab something to eat. Plus, since mealtimes are often when we come up with our best ideas, it helps to have a central planning station in your kitchen or dining room.
11. Build Your Social Network
It’s easy to think that social media is the enemy of productivity, but in many ways having a larger social network can help you find new jobs, clients, and other opportunities. Instead of using Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter from a consumer’s perspective – gobbling up every tidbit of entertainment in a downward-scrolling frenzy – try using those platforms to build connections and discover information that will benefit your career.
12. Learn a Complementary Skill
If you’re already offering a service or playing a consistent role within a company, you might be able to add some quick asterisks to your résumé by learning a few related skills. For example, it makes sense for a web developer to also learn marketing and search engine optimization. Try to think of any skills that would make your value proposition more appealing as an employee or entrepreneur. Essentially, you should try to be better than your industry peers or competitors by developing the most well-rounded skill set possible.
13. Create a Strategic Meal Plan That is Conducive to Productivity
Just as exercising is important for promoting endurance and clarity, diet is also a crucial component in helping you stay disciplined and productive. Studies have proven that a diet high in sugar and processed foods can make you lazier, less productive, and more prone to making mistakes. On the other hand, a healthy diet that is rich in all of the vitamins and minerals you need to function optimally will help you perform to the best of your ability in every task.
14. Refine Your CV/Résumé
Revamping your résumé is an advisable course of action if you plan on applying for a new job at any point in the near future. Your CV/résumé will usually be the first thing that hiring managers consider when they’re deciding who to give interviews to. By creating an exceptionally formatted and designed résumé complete with numerous accolades, achievements, and credentials, you give yourself the best odds of being hired for the highest-paying jobs.
15. Practice Your Job Interview Skills
Having the best résumé in the world won’t help you if your job interview skills are sub-par. Making it all the way to the interview phase only to be let down by your inability to make a positive impression in-person can be a horrible feeling, so it’s important to make sure you’re prepared to live up to the greatness of your written résumé and application. Take the time to practice your interviewing skills with a friend or loved one and you’ll be equipped with intelligent responses for every question that comes your way.
16. Take Tests and Quizzes
Look for online quizzes and tests that are related to your field. You can also use quiz creators to develop your own tests that can be used to solidify and confirm your retention of newly learned facts. By putting yourself on the spot routinely in the privacy of your own home, you won’t panic when you have to prove yourself in a professional context. Plus, this will help you treat your career advancement just like a traditional educational program for a more effective overall learning experience.
17. Build a Home Office
If you don’t already have a designated home office where you can go to facilitate all of the suggested steps on this list, that’s definitely a project you could file under the career advancement category. You don’t have to be an entrepreneur or business owner to benefit from having an office, but it can certainly help you along the path to becoming one if that’s an aspiration that you have. Regardless of your career or business goals, having an in-home area that’s optimized for study and work will always help.
18. Practice Giving Speeches and Presentations
While your family members might think that you’re “talking to yourself” as you practice giving a speech in the shower, you’ve got to do your recitals somewhere, so what better place than at home? Besides, getting over the fear of what others are thinking about you in the moment will help you stay focused on your delivery to avoid slips of the tongue, forgotten lines, and other blunders. This is a useful practice to get into even if you don’t have any upcoming speeches or presentations scheduled. Just imagining yourself in a corporate boardroom and playing out various Q&A scenarios in your mind can help you become a more witty and persuasive communicator.
19. Create an Impressive Visual Portfolio
A visual portfolio can be a powerful companion to your newly refined résumé. It can be in the form of a physical brochure or digital media slideshow that showcases your work in an aesthetically pleasing manner. This tip will be more applicable for professionals who can show samples of their previous work. However, you could also find creative ways to highlight your career accomplishments via an infographic.
20. Become a Consultant in Your Industry
If you possess extensive expertise and experience in your industry, you could create an extra revenue stream for yourself just by offering consultancy services. You’d be surprised how many affluent investors and entrepreneurs are willing to pay exorbitant hourly consulting fees just to gain direct and unhindered access to your knowledge. Basically, there are lots of people who don’t have the time to do their own research and would rather just an ask an expert to receive instant, personalized guidance – that’s your market.
Why Not Try All of the Above?
It may seem like a tall order, but just about anyone can make and stick to a to-do list that only has 20 items on it. You don’t need to rush into pursuing every goal on the same day, but if you can gradually implement these career advancement strategies throughout the course of the next year or two, you’ll be glad you did.