Taking business courses or paying to rewrite a resume are career investments. These investments also cost money.
If you are looking for free and easy ways to invest in your career, we offer the following advice. All positive investments in your career are helpful, but these seem to help in a way money cannot buy.
Invest in being genuine with others
You are choosing to invest in your career each time you show your genuine side to an employee or company. Being genuine is about showing others in your career just how much you appreciate them.
Whether it was an interview, advice, or you had to leave a job, if you are genuine about the time spent together, it is a career investment. You invest in your career this way by building a network with respect for you.
An example of being genuine would be a Thank You note hand-written with a personalized message. We are years removed from having classes like Penmanship in grade school. It is easy to forget why a person’s handwriting is genuine. A person’s handwriting is a reminder they used the mind and hands to create something. The penmanship is its own little genuine story.
Expressing gratitude for help received
We all go through bad days. It seems like the world has turned upside down. A free way to invest in your career is to be that person who pulls people out of bad days for a moment.
Expressing gratitude for the help you received from someone is important for everyone. Even if that person is just doing the job, it helps to hear it is appreciated. Not only does it encourage positive behavior in others, but it also makes you easy to remember.
An example of this is taking the time to thank a person for completing the most mundane job tasks. I used to thank a web developer for fixing bugs on a website. I thought that was what you were supposed to do.
One day, I thanked him in person at his desk. He explained to me, “People in my job usually don’t hear thank you from anyone. We usually only hear when we screw up.” I never knew that. Needless to say, in today’s tech-driven world, he is a good friend to have in my network.
Positively acknowledge why you remember people
Websites like Glassdoor and LinkedIn are great professional ways to acknowledge why you remember people in your career. Leaving a LinkedIn endorsement or Glassdoor review can have a great impact. If you acknowledge and write about a person’s greatest memorable qualities, and use their name, even better.
Many people go through the day wondering if what they are doing is actually contributing value to the world. If you acknowledge why you remember a person, they will remember you.
For example, a CEO walks into a fancy restaurant in his regular guy clothes. He asks to be seated at the most expensive table. One host thinks it is a joke and laughs it off. The CEO is shocked. The other host recognizes the CEO from a newspaper article. He apologizes and seats the CEO while mentioning the newspaper article.
After dinner, the CEO asks for the name of the friendly host. Two weeks later, the CEO writes a personal blog post read by millions. He writes why he wishes every employee he had was like this simple restaurant host. He uses his real name and place of work on the blog.
The restaurant host was promoted to a management role. Someone in marketing saw the blog post! The CEO still stays in touch with that former restaurant host to this day.
The host chose at a moment’s notice to make the career investment of acknowledgment. It still pays off to this day. It did not cost a dime.