Love your job? You can still get ahead.

You've been in your position for a few years now. You've invested in your 401K. You love your co-workers. You've even been promoted! You're officially committed to your job.

That's great news. Hopefully, you're not only committed, but you love your work as well. If this describes you, then you're doing better than much of the population. As it turns out, several studies show that only 20 percent, or one in five people, "really enjoy their jobs," and the same percentage "actively dislike their jobs." We need to do better at loving our careers so we can keep moving forward and enjoy them!

If you're committed and in love — or even if you're committed but you don't feel you've found “the one” — there are some things you can do to move your career to the next level. You want to grow in your current job so you can change your relationship status from "committed" to “open” when you're ready. Below are some proven career development tips to help you love your job even more, and also prepare you to stand out in that "open" relationship when you're ready to land your next dream job.

Focus on career development skills and keep learning

Stay at the top of your game by taking courses and keeping up with the current trends and technology in your field. Never stop growing your knowledge base and mind. If you want to be a manager one day, take a leadership course. If there's a new technology in your field, see what kind of training is offered for it. Consider asking your company to foot the bill if your training is job related. You might even consider advancing your career with another degree if you have the time and money and feel it would really benefit you.   

Become a mentor

Mentoring is rewarding in and of itself —  it shows that supporting others is important to you. Plus, we often learn as much from our mentees as they learn from us. Showing that you took the initiative to mentor will look good on your resume and can give you a sense of purpose — you're making a difference in someone's life.

Step it up with the company you keep

Career development opportunities can also be found in who you spend your time with. If you have the opportunity to hang around or attend meetings with your organization's leadership team and executives, do so. You will learn from them and they will notice you. When the opportunity is right, you can ask them questions that show your ability to take initiative and your willingness to learn and grow.

By the same token, stay away from negative people who get a bad rap for their attitudes. You could be associated with the company you keep, and you also don't need anyone's negative energy bringing you down.

Hire a career coach

If you're at the top of your game with career growth and career development opportunities, but you want to make it even better, consider hiring a career coach. The right career coach can help you navigate areas for improvement and offer guidance on how to boost your image and networking at work. They can also help to identify areas that you didn't realize might be holding you back.

Keep networking

Even if you're comfortable and love your job, don't get too comfortable. Always continue to network offline at industry events. Also network online via professional networking sites like LinkedIn to leverage connections during the job search. Consider joining professional industry groups for your field, as well. For example, if you are a professional in HR, you might consider joining SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management). You never know when additional career development opportunities may arise or when you might be ready to make the leap to a new company, So use networking to your advantage. The more people who know you and what you're capable of in the industry, the better.

Focus on your brand identity

This career development tip is one of the fun ones. As you get moving in your career and find your groove, you might consider boosting your personal brand and image by starting a professional blog or website, engaging in speaking events, offering webinars, and more. People notice when professionals have a voice and something to say. Not to mention, it'll help with your presentation skills. An online and offline presence can help boost your expert status, as well.

Related: Personal Branding is Critical to Your Career's Future. Here's Why

Write a book

Though it may seem like everyone's writing a book these days, and this career development tip could feel far-fetched, the truth is that authorship still matters. Being an author not only provides authority on a subject, but it will also boost your overall brand image and expert status. It can even lead to speaking engagements and will give you more to discuss when networking.

There are several ways to publish a book, from self-publishing to the tried and true publishing houses. For publishing houses, you'll want to write a query letter to see if there's any interest in your topic or send them a completed manuscript. When you self-publish, you want to be sure that the book looks professional and like it came from a publishing house. For tips on self-publishing and publishing in general, there are several books and references available by Dan Poynter (Para Publishing). Poynter passed away in 2015, but he is considered to be a self-publishing pioneer, and several of his resources can still be purchased online.

Keep track of your professional accomplishments

One of the best career growth tips is that you should always be ready to discuss what you've recently accomplished at work or for your industry. Employers want to know what you've been putting your energy into in recent weeks, not just months or years ago, so keep your list current and updated. It will also give you a confidence boost to check off all that you have accomplished instead of focusing on what you haven't!

As you examine this list of career development opportunities, have fun with it and be thrilled at the idea that you're fortunate enough to be in a committed relationship with your job. Now you can take that to the next level and keep growing. Every professional should always be on the lookout for a great opportunity — don't let your career stall. You're responsible for your career development, so grab it by the horns and keep moving.

Make sure your resume reflects how far you've come in your career. Get a free resume critique today!

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