How to Advance When You're Mid-Career

In today's world of work, it's up to the individual to manage their career. Follow these tips to take your career to the next level and ensure your professional skill set remains valuable to employers.

You've come a long way. You've made some great achievements. You've worked your way up into middle management. So what's next? If you want to advance beyond your current level of leadership and ensure your skills do not become obsolete, you'll need to focus on professional development. Here are some professional development tips for the mid-career professional ready to take on a new challenge.
Start With Your Personal Branding Statement
If you've never focused on your personal brand, now is the time. The workforce is changing. To remain competitive and to finish the great career you started, you've got to make yourself more attractive to employers. Develop a personal branding statement that takes your past experiences and communicates what you have to offer your current and future employers.
Set Some Career Goals
Where do you want to be in five years? Ten? Write down your goals and your targeted career path, then make a list of achievements you need in order to reach those goals. Do you need to advance your education? Are there additional skills you'll need to develop in order to remain relevant or advance? Is there a lateral move you can make within your company to help you gain valuable insight into processes and company culture? Identify what it will take to get you to the next level of your career. After you do that, it will be time to implement a plan to get you from now to then.
Start a Career Conversation With Your Manager 
Let your employer know of your ambitions. Ask her what you can do to reach your career goals. Get recommendations on who to seek out as a mentor, where to find more information on the career track you'd like to follow, and whether or not you need to advance your education or upgrade your skills. Career conversations are important because they allow you to get what you want out of your career while helping your employer get what he wants out of you. Don't wait until your annual review to have this talk with your boss!
Don't Be Afraid to Jump Ship
If you aren't getting the satisfaction you need out of your current job, it may be time to move on. If your career conversations aren't leading you to more development and career advancement within your company, then it may be time to find your next challenge so that you can grow and reach your goals. 

Related Articles About Managing Your Career:
How to Have a Career Conversation With Your Boss Outside of Review Time
Living Your Personal Brand
How to Refresh Your Career When There Are No Opportunities for Promotion