When opportunity knocks will you be ready?

With a start of the New Year, most people are talking about New Year’s Resolutions and how many things they are going to do differently. Eat healthily, go to gym, eat less chocolate, drink less, work harder, save more... Now while these are all very admiral ambitions, there’s a reason New Year’s resolutions fail. They’re usually spur of the moments decisions, not tied to any specific goals and generally not thought through in great detail.

So if you’re going to ditch the New Year’s Resolutions, but still want 2020 to be a year where you progress, what other way is there to go about it? The answer is to prepare yourself for opportunities that may come along. There are many exciting changes happening in the waste management and renewables sector and the industry is poised for exponential growth. If you want to be part of that then you need to prepare yourself now so that when opportunities do come up you’re well positioned to take advantage of them.

Here are our top tips to achieving this:

1.      Prepare for real change

Everybody talks about making changes in their life, but real change requires that you get out of your comfort zone, start doing things differently, or do different things. Here are some options if you want to progress in your career: Look into courses or accreditations, such as getting chartered with CIWM, that could help you expand and showcase your expertise. Consider joining industry associations where you could attend workshops or conferences and develop your network.

2.      Expand your awareness

Joining industry associations will help you to keep up to date with what is happening. Additional ideas are to subscribe to industry newsletters as well as follow technologies and issues that may influence the industry. Social media is great for joining special interest groups and sharing knowledge on a global basis.

3.      Find a mentor

Look for a mentor who may be willing to provide guidance and share some of their experience with you. This could be somebody in your company or in the industry. Having a mentor is incredibly valuable in that they share insights that can help you shape your career. They are someone you can bounce ideas off, get feedback from and most importantly learn from. Having a mentor also helps to keep you accountable for goals you may set.

4.      Think about the future

The question about where you want to be in five years’ time may seem clichéd, but it’s still a good starting point for generating goals and a career progression plan. Without a clear vision of where you want to go, you may end up dabbling in different options but never really finding a place where you feel challenged and engaged in your work. If you know where you want to go it will also become easier to identify opportunities that can help you get there.

5.      Get creative

There is a massive opportunity available for innovation in waste management, recycling and renewables. If you can think of ways to do things better, starting outlining a plan that could streamline processes or make operations more efficient. Companies are looking for innovative thinkers and if you start training your brain to think that way, it becomes a natural way of operating. So much so you’ll probably start to see opportunities around every corner.

6.      Get interview ready

Career progression opportunities usually come in the form of new jobs or promotions and both of these involve an interview process. Think about the questions you could be asked. Gather data on successful projects that you have been involved in. Practice articulating your work experience, interests and ambitions. The more you rehearse this information, the more confident you’ll be in interviews. Be aware that the interview process often involves skills, personality and aptitude testing. These tests are pretty accurate in the information they provide and will quickly reveal if you’re inflating your level expertise.

7.      Be adaptable

Sometimes the best opportunities come indirectly. You may not get the promotion you were going for, but someone else may see your CV and approach you with an alternate offer. There are opportunities even when the answer is no, so learn to roll with the punches. Someone who is adaptable is much easier to work with and this gets noticed in the workplace.

If you want to be able to take advantage of opportunities you can’t be plodding along with your head down. You need to be alert and proactive so that you don’t miss any opportunities that come your way. It’s a new year and a new decade, will opportunity find you? That’s up to you.