3 tips for improving your career prospects in 2015

Whether you are happily employed within the project management or IT industries, or you're currently searching for your dream job, it never hurts to invest in your career prospects.

The employment market of 2015 is vastly different to the one of 20, 10 or even just five years ago, and the most successful jobhunters will be the ones that have stayed on top of key recruitment trends, in order to ensure they have a competitive edge over other candidates.

With that in mind, here are some tips for improving your employment prospects this year.

Invest in yourself

One recruitment trend that will never change is that those who commit to improving their own skills and abilities will rarely regret the investment. 

The key is to ensure the additional qualifications you invest in are relevant to your career ambitions. For example, if you work specifically within the IT service management sphere, it is prudent to consider ITIL or COBIT training that can educate you on some of the most popular frameworks in the industry. 

Alternatively, those who specialise in more general project management might consider training in PRINCE2 – a widely recognised methodology for effectively leading a team towards completion of a specific task. 

Whatever you decide, ensure you get full value out of your investment by opting for a training program that emphasises practical, real world experience.

That way, you won't simply complete your qualification with a certificate to put on your resume. You'll also have valuable skills that will not just help you secure your next role, but also ensure you move up and excel in it as well. 

Seek out a mentor 

Even the most experienced IT experts and project managers can sometimes benefit from seeking out a mentor, capable of giving strong, relevant advice throughout your career.

A career mentor can offer valuable advice on your skills and weaknesses, which can in turn allow you to focus on self-improvement. Look within your professional network and identify whether there is anyone available who you may be able to engage for expert input.  

On the other hand, those with a lot of practical experience in their industry may also benefit from seeking out an apprentice of their own.

There are likely many young professionals out there who would appreciate guidance from a senior hand, and time spent assisting them with their career may also help grow your own, by allowing you to make personal realisations about your methodologies as a leader and role model. 

Set your goals for the year 

Those who specialise in the world of IT project management will understand the importance of setting professional goals. Clear targets provide both yourself and your team with objectives and timelines to follow. These then provide information to both you and stakeholders as to the progression of the project.

However, when improving your career prospects for 2015, you can also gain substantially by focussing on a few key personal goals.

Take the time now to determine where you are in your career and where you would like to be in a year's time. For those currently seeking employment, your goal may be as simple as finding a job you are satisfied with. Others, who already have an established position, might set the goal of adding three new skills or achievements to their CV.

Make sure you set personal career goals that are just as S.M.A.R.T. as the goals you would set for your team in the workplace – that is, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Related.

When 2016 roles around, you'll be able to look back at the goals you set in 2015 and determine what progress you are making towards improving your professional standing.