College Advice Blog

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Sep 26, 2012

How to Maximize Your Career Potential



Potential is defined by Merriam-Webster as the latent qualities or abilities that may be developed to lead to future successes. Every single person has latent abilities hidden within themselves waiting to be discovered, polished and perfected to cultivate future success. This potential can help you find success in your personal and professional goals. Learning how to maximize your career potential can help you find lasting success, regardless of your present situation.

Cultivate the Right Mindset

Curt Rosengren, reporter for U.S. News and motivational author, suggests that the mindset you embody dramatically affects your career potential. Cultivate the right mindset by:
       Having a Powerful Vision – Develop a vision of where you want your career to go. A powerful vision will shape the way you think and the way you act. It creates a focal point for every decision you make. Being focused on your vision will help you continually advance your career.
       Thinking Twice About Limiting Thoughts – Throughout life, you may have an immediate response to a situation that is similar to “No, that’s not possible. I can’t do that.” If you simply accept this thought as fact, you are dramatically limiting your potential. Second-guess these thoughts, why is it not possible? Why do you think you can’t do it?
       Ignoring Your Boundaries – Take a moment and consider a lofty, ‘someday’ dream that you have. Now, imagine really going for it. Chances are you’ll encounter boundaries and resistance. Ask yourself why you have this boundary, and find out how it can be removed.
For example, you may have the dream of being the Human Resources Director at a Fortune 500 company. However, you are currently in an entry-level position in a different department. An immediate boundary may be the education requirements. Instead of allowing that boundary to restrict you, simply remove it by pursuing a masters in human resources.

Give Yourself the Tools You Need

Now that you have the right mindset for maximizing your career potential, what tools will you need? Just as a pick-ax is required to discover a diamond, you will likely require the right tools to reach your career potential.
The most important tool for advancing your career is education. An education does more than qualify you for a job – it imparts you with crucial skills for your career. Any career will require a set of skills and an education will develop them. For instance, pursue an online project management degree if you dream of leading a team of engineers in creating a revolutionary product.
Allison Linn, reporter for MSN Money and career consultant, suggests that pursuing an education that is focused on your career goals is essential. Use your powerful vision to decide which degrees and certifications you absolutely require. Not only will this save money and time on unnecessary courses, but it will also help develop skills that are useful to your career.

Take Action to Advance Your Career

You may have cultivated the right mindset and developed all the right tools, but they are all in vain if you do not take action. Below are several ways to actively advance your career:
       Make Outrageous Inquiries – Rosengren suggests that simply making inquiries that you expect to receive a ‘no’ to can help you advance your career. Ask your boss to take on a project well outside of your current responsibilities. Send in an application for a job that you are not qualified for. Even a single ‘yes’ to one of these inquiries can have profound effects.
       Let Your Ambitions Be Known – Next time you are interviewing for a position that will advance your career, let them know about your ambitions. Employers prefer employees with drive and motivation. If you are currently employed, let your direct boss know your ambitions. Ask them to help you grow your career and develop professionally.
       Gain Required Experience – Accept that you may have to put in the necessary time at lower levels of employment to gain the experience you need. Rome wasn’t built in a day; your career potential will not be reached overnight. Spend some time at the bottom so you’ll be ready to reach the top.

Discover Your Potential

You have hidden talents and qualities that will help you accomplish even the loftiest of goals. Continually push your boundaries to discover your true potential. Take actionable steps to advance your career and avoid complacency. By adamantly pursuing a powerful vision, you can begin to maximize your career potential.

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About the Author
Alex West is a contributing writer and a college student pursuing his degree in human resources. He hopes to find a position where he can help others advance their careers. 

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