Techniques to Grow on the Job

When starting a new job, most people expect that they’ll have a bit of a learning curve before getting comfortable and eventually excelling.  But the learning doesn’t end there. Growing on the job is part of having a job—the trick is to grow quickly, developing to fit the position and performing its duties as accurately and thoroughly as possible.

Here are a few ways that you can build on the skills that got you hired and excel on the job:

  • Work with a mentor. Establishing a relationship with a more experienced worker, even somebody from outside your field or expertise, can help you work on skills specific to your workplace or company—how to work with team members, communicate with leadership and other issues.
  • Talk to your heroes. Who are the people at work who just have “it?” They could have a job that you’d like to grow into, or they could be the office superstar. While they may not want to take on a formal mentoring role with you, they may be open to some conversations over lunch. Take the time to talk about what they feel makes them successful, and consider how you can emulate that.
  • Keep working on your soft skills. What are some of your overall weaknesses as a worker? Do you struggle with deadlines? Clash with others on your team? You can read up on techniques to help with your soft skills, or you can work with a mentor to help you with those skills. Your supervisor can help, too, if you’re comfortable asking him or her for advice.
  • Job shadowing on the job. Job shadows are good for a person who’s exploring jobs and career fields, but they can be effective tools for improving in your current job or seeing how you need to develop to move into a different role, especially a leadership one.
  • Get involved. If you want to keep working on your skills or learn some new ones, a great way to do that is to volunteer for projects that relate to your job without already being your responsibility. Not only will you learn to apply your skills in a new way, but you may pick up a few additional tools, a different perspective and some valuable experience.

As you grow, you’ll also want to make yourself available to help people the way that others helped you. Becoming a trusted part of the team, even a leader, can open up more professional opportunities for you.