Maximizing career opportunities outside your job!

Human beings are funny. I remember being asked, as a five year old, what I wanted to be when I grow up. Whatever the answer was then, I must have said it with conviction for I believed I would actually become that. There is a 95% chance though, that the adult asking me knew that I have little knowledge. Cut to 2016, lots of years and a little experience later, when I still have no clue about my career, I carry on the age old tradition of asking children what they want to be.
And every time they answer confidently, in a “know it all” tone, and explain with great belief their ambitions! I think to myself that they don’t know reality. I am partly right but mostly wrong. Your experience as you age can make you negative sometimes! But we must change and try to be more childlike with a lot of optimism in everything we do. “That’s the secret recipe” is what I hear from a lot of successful people. Hence, we should at least give this a try!

What does the term ‘career opportunities’ even mean? Obviously, it means all the available options or opportunities one has in terms of the career he or she chooses, and we know that you already know that. The essence of the term ‘career opportunity’, though, is more nuanced. Your career is what you want to do in life, it determines who you will be. All of us are on this planet for a brief period of time, our existence is finite and our actions measured. Our career is what defines life as we know it.

Please take a few deep breaths while you let that sink in. Deciding which career you would like to opt for is an exciting thing, and it should not be something you worry about. What matters even more is what you do with yourself, once you have some semblance of a “career”. How should you maximize all possible career opportunities? You’re in luck, for we have just the right tips.

  1. Be Active. This is the key to success, and all successful people obviously have it. Being active means having the thirst to know more. For example, if you work in Investment Banking, do not limit your knowledge to your line of work. Interact with colleagues from maybe Asset Management, Trading or should I simply say the entire organisation!(And no, we are not talking about finding the latest gossip) It helps to be aware of your surroundings. It can open up new doors for you in the future, and help you make a more informed decision if you are ever looking to make a shift.Career Opportunities-Interact
  2. Build your skills. Be at it unrelentingly, and all the time. Use the free time you have at weekends productively. Online courses, for instance, have taken knowledge to a whole new level, and there is no reason why you should be left behind. From coding to musical instruments, analytical thinking to first aid, the internet has a course for every interest, and taking a course does more than add weight to your resume. It enhances your skill-set and makes you happy with what you have learnt. Along with the comfort of learning at your own pace!Career Opportunities-Online Courses
  3. Real time networking goes a long way. In fact, it takes you ahead of wherever LinkedIn and Facebook could have. The idea is to meet new people, in flesh. Often we interact with different people on the web, meeting them in real life establishes a bond of trust. So next time you make a plan, consider meeting a new person, with whom you have only interacted virtually. Get to know them better, and you shall learn more about a lot of things: different verticals, new people, different work cultures and various world views too. It’ll make for a good change.Career Opportunities-Networking
  4. Volunteer for a cause. Sure, this one is also a winner on the CV, but sign up with an NGO that you really want to work with. You could be passionate about educating children, and or be deeply interested in making lives of old people more comfortable. Fair enough, we should seek what it is that we care most about, and use our time to give back to society. More often than not, it is in the process of helping others that we help ourselves. Volunteering gives you new perspectives on life, it makes you a better person.Career Opportunities-Volunteer
  5. Feed on information off the internet. Think about how many useful things you could learn about by spending five minutes on Quora. And this is approximately the same amount of time it takes to take a selfie, add filters, and post it. While the latter is not being discouraged, it is obviously so much better for your career if you spend time on more productive apps, like Quora or TED, and on apps that provide real news instead of just sensational material – think Reuters or The Hindu. The world is a touch and tap away, but we need to be careful about what we read, and what we don’t.Career Opportunities-Internet
  6. Do something crazy once in a while. Is it really too much to ask for that every now and then, you should take a break? Loosen that tie, let your hair down. Give the brain some much needed rest, and maybe give the heart a little adrenaline rush? You could choose to go hiking in the outskirts of your city or town. Or you could undertake a project to paint your own room! Do anything, really, but do the extraordinary. You’ll see how it makes you feel alive.Career Opportunities-Crazy
  7. Learn by Mentoring. You have gained substantial experience in your own field, even if you have just started to do something. Choose to help a fresher out by mentoring him or her. Everybody loves free advice (as long as they have the option of ignoring it). Share valuable inputs by answering questions on Quora, being part of discussion rooms, sharing your interview experiences on AmbitionBox, and so on. It is correct what they say, helping others is helping yourself.Career Opportunities-Mentor
  8. Play sports. Believe it or not, it has been scientifically proven that playing a sport increases concentration ability and makes people more disciplined. If that wasn’t enough, sports also releases tension and stress-busting hormones. Needless to say, games are fun. They give you a chance to bond with other people, and unleash your energy. Play a sport of your choice, at any local club or playground, and say hello to a healthier lifestyle.Career Opportunities-Sports
  9. Invest your time in reading. This could indeed be the best investment you ever made. Good books are like food for the brain, and your mind loves to think new thoughts. Therefore, allow yourself to be inspired by the works of great writers. You do not necessarily have to read award-winning books, start with simpler options that refine your thoughts. More importantly, pick up biographies of famous people. Once you know what it took them to get there, you shall automatically be motivated to make it big in your own career too.books
  10. Give blogging a try. We want to say that blogging is the new diary-writing, only it is much cooler. You get to reach out to lots of people at once. Sometimes you build a fan following, and at other times, you blog simply to put your feelings out there. And it gets better, because blogging is becoming a new career trend of its own. People are paid to blog if they write well, or share content that others find interesting. All of us have amazing ideas. Who knows, blogging about them (and receiving constructive feedback) could inspire us to turn our dreams into reality. It is very easy too, all one has to do is sign up on a blogging website, or blog on Quora, or even write notes on Facebook!Career Opportunities-Blog

There, that is that. We hope you have been inspired to push the pedal and put your best efforts into creating a great career for yourself.