I love May. Spring is settling, there’s the promise of the future for new graduates and we are headed into summer weather. With all this newness and revitalization, it’s a great time to level up – whether just starting your career, getting more from your current role or thinking about a change.

I know, you’re thinking, “Isn’t there a Great Resignation going on?” Yes, and it provides the perfect opportunity to rise above and not get lost in the crowd. Especially when you’re ready to hustle!

Traditionally, we think that leveling up means a raise or a new position.  But not everyone wants to get into management. Why? It’s not always fun. In fact, it’s often stressful– meetings, less creative problem-solving time, and fewer peers. I talk a lot about being a leader no matter where you are on the ladder. And, with many people moving on, retiring or resigning, it is all about spotting the opportunity and being ready when it presents itself.

So, get that traditional model of leveling up out of your head. It is not about climbing the corporate ladder. Let’s focus on YOU and being the best YOU.  How? Level up. What skills do you need to level up in your current role? If you are looking for a new gig, what skill will give you the edge over other applicants?

In this current hiring climate, employers are loving motivated, on-fire employees – especially those who are actively looking to level up their skills. I have several friends that have pitched training to their employer, not waiting for training to magically find them. Every time, the supervisor has not only been excited to approve the expense but, in some cases, ended up purchasing training for the entire department!

And online courses? Even better! No travel involved, and you can even do it in your pjs on the couch!

Time to fire up and take advantage of the Great Resignation with unique opportunities:

  1. Don’t let roadblocks turn you away. Yes, you’ll have some challenges (what fun would it be it if was easy?) but obstacles aren’t the end of the road. Actively search for other ways to achieve what you want. Identify how far you’ll go to help others and for your career. Being resourceful and optimistic will set you apart.
  2. What is your expertise? Is there a next level of knowledge? Are there opportunities for additional training inside the organization or outside? Even if you’re a seasoned pro, being willing to learn new techniques, tips, and tricks is an asset every employer likes. If you’re a newbie, being excited to gain expertise is a win-win for you and your employer.
  3. Speaking of expertise, how are you at selling yourself? Your personal brand is critical. When you start learning more, honing your expertise, learning to communicate strategically about yourself and what you have to offer, people will stand up and pay attention! So, make sure your brand is on-point and is telling people exactly what you want it to.
  4. Find a mentor. Is there someone who has the job you want? Or someone outside of your industry that’s crushing it and can offer a fresh perspective? Reach out! None of us got to the top without the help of others – no one does it alone. And many of us would love to lift another person up in their earnest development.
  5. Take advantage of your peak performance. Many employers are finding ways to keep employees happy and producing. I read about a tech company recently that changed its time off policy. Employees now have unlimited PTO. Employees must meet their required work hours – but in their own structure. As long as they are getting the job done, it doesn’t matter if they are at their laptop on the couch or pushing their kid on a swing at the park! Do you work better during the day or at night? Do you need quiet or noise? Do you need other people to bounce ideas off of, or solitude to focus? How can you work these strengths into your schedule to level up and be your best?

By strategically removing roadblocks, investing in some training and education, learning to brand yourself, finding a mentor or role model, and focusing on your peak performance, you level up in your current career—or start crushing it in an entirely new one.