Tips to LOVE your job EVEN more.

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. Per a Forbes article by Erika Andersen, several studies share 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, so we can keep moving forward and enjoy our careers!

If you're committed and in love—or even if you're committed, but you don't feel you're in a forever love affair—there are some things you can do to move your career to the next level. You want to grow in your current relationship so you can change your relationship status from "committed" to “open” when you're ready. Below are some proven career development tips and career growth tips to help you love what you do 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 and industry. Our best career development tips are to never stop growing your knowledge base and mind. If you want to be a manager one day, take a leadership course, or 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 really feel it would benefit you.   

Become a mentor.

Mentoring is rewarding in and of itself. It also 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.

Take all the career development opportunities you can, especially with those around you. 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.

Also, stay away from negative people who get a bad rap for their attitudes. For one, you could be associated with the company you keep, and two, you 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, you should 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 and online via professional networking sites such as LinkedIn. Consider joining professional industry groups for your field, as well. For example, a professional in HR might consider joining SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management). You never know when additional career development opportunities may arise, when you might be ready to make the leap to a new company or find yourself in a downsizing situation prompting your next career move. 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 more 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.

Write a book.

Though it might seem like everyone's writing a book these days, and this career development tip could seem far-fetched, but the truth is that authorship still matters. Being an author provides you authority on a subject, which can lead to speaking engagements, gives you more to discuss when networking, and helps boost your overall brand image and expert status.

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 for your topic or send them your completed manuscript. When you self-publish, you want to be sure 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, in general. Employers want to know what you've been putting your energy into in recent weeks vs. 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 vs. 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—and one that you enjoy. Now you can take it 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.

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