How to Further Your Career When You're in a Slump

If you've found yourself in a career slump, you aren't alone. Even the most energetic, positive, and motivated people occasionally find themselves stuck in a rut. A short-term slump isn't usually a problem for most people, but if there doesn't seem to be light at the end of the tunnel, it's time to take action.

career slump

Identify what's bothering you and uncover what motivates you

If you're feeling "slumpish", you're not alone. According to Gallup, only 34 percent of workers are actively engaged in their jobs—the rest are indifferent (53 percent) or actively disengaged (13 percent). Before you jump into a plan, or worse, do anything rash, you'll want to first try to identify what's dragging you down. Ask yourself the following questions.

  •  Do I feel I'm making a difference with my chosen career track?
  •  Am I happy with the type of work I do?
  •  Does the corporate culture I work in leave me feeling satisfied?
  •  Did I accept my job for the salary or passion?
  •  Is my work creative or challenging enough?

Motivation is a big factor when it comes to pulling yourself out of the slump abyss. Once you've done some reflection and figure out what motivates you, you can work to eliminate or fix the problem. We've got solutions to help you get going again. Here are five ways you to further your career when you're in a slump.

1. Join or expand your professional network

Networking is an activity you should always be engaging in, even when you're feeling good about work. If you haven't been doing much networking lately, it's time to get going. Talking to people in your industry—or even other industries—can help you to:

  •  Spark creativity
  •  Formulate new ideas
  •  Find career guidance
  •  Discover expanded opportunities

If you do decide it's time to move on, having a strong network can help you land your next job. Anywhere between 70 and 85 percent of jobs are filled from relationships formed through networking. Some statistics suggest up to 80 percent of jobs aren't even listed. Most of the time, it essentially boils down to not what you know, but who you know.

2. Make additions to your resume

Your resume is a living, breathing document and, ideally, continuously updated. Even if you've got your resume looking its sparkling best, there is always room for improvement. Why not strive for additions to make it even better?

  •  Go back to school to get a new or enhanced degree
  •  Take certification courses and tests (i.e. PMP or IT certifications)
  •  Pursue free online courses on LinkedIn Learning, Hubspot Academy, or others
  •  Volunteer in organizations you support to help you gain the experience or skills you want

Adding new skills and knowledge to your resume can be a big motivator in itself and, even if it doesn't quite pull you out of your slump, it'll get you a step closer to qualifying for other positions in-house or at a new organization.

3. Find a mentor

You may discover you're having difficulty pinpointing either your problem or your solution. A mentor or job coach can help you sort out your situation and help you to discover your best options.

4. Pursue a promotion

If you truly love your organization and what you do, but are feeling stagnant, see what promotional opportunities exist at your current job. Make the effort to pursue new positions of interest to see if this is the spark that reignites your passion.

5. Evaluate your career choice

If none of the above appeals to you, you should probably self-evaluate your career choice to determine if your line of work is still the right one for you. If your evaluation brings you to the conclusion your professional goals in life have radically changed and it's time to move on, now would be a good time to consider looking for a new type of job.

Bottom line, if you find yourself in a slump, find ways to reinvest in your professional growth. In the process, you're likely to re-establish old passions or discover new ones, setting yourself up for future success.

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