6 Career Development Strategies for 2024

Continuous learning enriches every career path. With technology evolving at a mind-blowing pace, ongoing skill development is critical to career success.

Whether or not your position uses technology, versatile soft skills are highly sought after and will help advance your career. Here are some strategies to help you level up professionally this year:

1. Develop Niche Skills

Specialization can set you apart. Identify a niche within your field that interests you and dive deep.

Having specialized expertise can put you in high demand. It positions you to be known as an expert in your field and command a higher salary.

2. Network and Build Relationships

Your professional network can be one of your greatest assets, especially if they know your capabilities. People you know can connect you with information, insights and opportunities you may not otherwise find.

Your network also provides opportunities for mentor-mentee relationships. Whether you are ready to mentor another professional or seek an experienced mentor, the relationship benefits both parties.

3. Step Up and Take On Challenging Projects

Volunteer for projects that are a step out of your comfort zone. Taking on challenging projects demonstrates your abilities and shows you are capable of more significant responsibilities.

Innovation, problem-solving and adaptability are all highly valued in the professional world. By stepping up, you develop yourself professionally while contributing to the success of your team and organization.

4. Build Your Professional Brand

Developing visibility helps the people around you recognize your potential. Don’t hide your ideas and abilities; speak up and offer your thoughts and solutions.

Many professionals wait to be asked. Instead, you can become known as a strategic thinker by proactively adding value with suggestions and solutions.

Another strategy for developing visibility is to take on speaking engagements. Being recognized as a thought leader can accelerate your advancement.

5. Sharpen Critical Soft Skills

In today’s collaborative work environments, strong communication skills make you a valuable asset. There are many ways to develop your written and verbal communication skills, from daily journaling or taking classes to joining a local Toastmasters club.

Other in-demand soft skills include problem-solving, critical thinking, adaptability, leadership, emotional intelligence, collaboration, and innovative thinking. Identify the soft skills that will most benefit you in your career and set and follow a personal development.

6. Maintain a Positive Attitude

A positive and professional attitude can open up opportunities. It makes collaboration smoother and more pleasant. People are drawn to positivity and professionalism, making you a preferred colleague, leader, or partner.

A positive mindset makes you more open to new ideas, spurs creativity, and can increase your performance by keeping your energy strong and steady. Positive people are more resilient and adaptable and even have better health.

Let 2024 Be a Year of Advancement

Century Group supports your goals, whether you’re looking to take your career to new heights or seeking the perfect candidate to complement your team. Connect with us and let’s make 2024 a milestone year.

2023 Q4 Accounting and Finance Employment Report

Despite economic frustrations like inflation and hiring reticence from some sectors, the job market remained steady in Q3 and is forecasted to continue through the rest of 2023.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 336,000 jobs were added in September — nearly doubling what economists predicted, according to The New York Times. In fact, last month’s numbers showed the most job growth this year since January. The national unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.8%.

Q4 2023 accounting and finance employment report

LinkedIn’s Senior Economist, Kory Kantenga, notes that one of consumers’ most pressing concern — inflation — is on a bumpy, downward path, helping to raise the overall economic outlook as we move into the New Year.

Still, it’s a balancing act for employers and job seekers in Q4, as both have different motivators influencing their hiring and employment decisions. We share both outlooks in our Q4 accounting and finance employment forecast.

For Employers

Staffing as a whole has declined in 2023, specifically in the areas of human relations, accounting and finance. But, according to Kantenga, he believes the most pain in this area should be behind us and an uptick in temporary workers being added to payrolls is expected.

What does that mean for companies? The battle for top talent remains in full effect. One impactful tool: salary transparency. Providing this information in a job advertisement is more likely to entice top performers to engage with the role, as pay remains a key motivator for job seekers in today’s climate. Employees want to feel empowered by their career decisions, so starting the working relationship on open, even footing sets the tone for the future company dynamics.

The battle for top talent remains in full effect. One impactful tool: salary transparency.

Another successful tactic is rethinking the type of candidates company’s are considering when evaluating potential employees. Many hiring managers are turning to a skills-based hiring approach to combat a limited talent pool and establish a more equitable workforce, but in a recent ZipRecruiter survey, there are still three important areas that are lacking: time management, critical thinking and professionalism. Review this interview guide to help get the right person in the seat.

For Job Seekers

Even with some economic uncertainty from both employers and job seekers, most recruiters consider the labor market to still be candidate-driven. In a recent survey of tech agency recruiters, 31.2% of recruiters expressed optimism for the job market in Q4, with 64.7% believing candidates still have the upper hand.

Job seekers should continue to evaluate career opportunities based on what matters most. Successful companies are including salary ranges in their job postings, as well as showcasing hybrid work arrangements to cater to employees’ desire for financial security and flexibility. Leverage interviews to discern if a company — not merely the role — is an ideal fit. Or, simplify the job search process in its entirety with the assistance of a recruiter to maximize your results for a faster, more successful job match.

Level Up Your Job Search Game This Fall

Are you embarking on a fall job search? Some times of the year are more fruitful for job seekers than others, but the real game changer in your job search is a personal one: your confidence.

Here are insider tips on timing your efforts for maximum impact and how to level up your fall job search game.

Seasonal Hiring Trends

Understanding the ebb and flow of the hiring cycle helps you leverage your efforts and improve your response rate. Fall can be an excellent time to find a new job, but only if you get it going before the holiday rush.

Companies are gearing up for the year-end in the fourth quarter. If they have vacancies, there’s usually a push to fill them before the holiday slowdown. This rush makes fall an opportune time for job seekers.

If your fall job search doesn’t yield the position you want, January and February are considered the best time to find a job. The post-holiday positivity, combined with new budgets and projects, means many employers are searching for qualified candidates.

Conversely, summer, particularly August, can be as challenging as the holidays for job hunting. Between vacations and the back-to-school rush, hiring takes a backseat.

Know When To Submit Your Resume for Maximum Impact

While your qualifications, experience and skills distinguish your application, knowing when to hit that “submit” button gives you an advantage.

Sending in your resume over the weekend can backfire. Resumes sent on a Saturday or Sunday often land in a stack of other applications.

Like most professionals, hiring managers have a weekly rhythm. The best time to send in your stand-out resumes is Tuesday through Thursday, when hiring managers have gone through the weekend pileup and can review incoming resumes with a focused mind.

You can use the weekend to find job listings and prepare your applications, but strategically wait until Tuesday morning to submit them. The exception might be a time-sensitive posting where you can be one of the first submissions.

The Employment Edge

When is the best time to find a new job? When you already have one.

Whatever time of year you’re looking, the best moment to land your dream job is when you feel empowered and self-assured.

Being employed provides a safety net and boosts your confidence, making you a more attractive candidate to potential employers. When you feel secure, you communicate more positively and are better in interviews.

If you don’t have a job, you can still give yourself an edge by maintaining a positive mindset or by leveraging the expertise of a recruiter. Harnessing this “Employment Edge” can tilt the scales in your favor and help employers see your strengths.

Ready to boost your job search? Connect with one of our recruiters today.


Your Guide to Creating a Successful Company Onboarding Program

Starting a new job used to mean confirming a start date and hoping there was an available desk when you arrived. But now, onboarding is often a much more detailed and thoughtful process — or at least it should be. Giving newcomers the support they need upfront helps them quickly ramp up in their role and strengthens company culture by making people feel welcome and valued.

Designing and implementing a great onboarding program takes work, but it is well worth it to boost your employees’ productivity and morale. It also provides continuity between the recruiting process that convinced them to join and the reality of the job — prospects are often looking for red flags and inconsistency or disorganization is one of them.

Here are some great onboarding principles that will help employees get a running start in contributing to your business goals.

Start Before the Start Date

It’s never a good idea to ask employees to start working before their first day, but there are things you can have them do in advance that will help everyone involved.

This works well for tasks such as filling out payroll and benefits paperwork, which will get important information into your systems and prevent delays in employee paychecks and perks. Before the start date is also a good time to schedule a team lunch (virtual or in person) for the new member’s first week, and you should prepare and send a preliminary schedule for their first few days so they know what to expect.

Another benefit of productive advance communication is that it signals to your new employees that your company is organized and excited for them to join the team.

Build in Opportunities To Derive and Create Value Right Away

New employees need to get up to speed on many things quickly, but it is both overwhelming and ineffective to rely on written material you hope they’ll read and absorb. Instead, create a more dynamic learning program that includes some combination of 1:1 meetings with leaders and/or team members, workshops on topics important to the business and a clear picture of your expectations for their first week, month and three months.

At the same time, it’s important for new employees to feel that they’re adding value even as they’re on a learning curve. Identify projects they can own and deliver a piece of within their first week or two. This doesn’t mean throwing them into the deep end without support, but it does set them up for an early win that can build confidence and enable ongoing success.

Prioritize Mentorship

Everyone expects new employees to have a lot of questions, but the newest team members might not know whom or how to ask. This is why every newcomer should be paired with a more tenured colleague they can turn to with everything from “Where’s the coffee?” to “What could my career path look like here?”

Ideally, a mentor is someone with more experience both at the company and in the industry who doesn’t directly manage the new employee. The official relationship could last for a week, a month or a year, but there’s no better way to establish a positive, career-nurturing culture and integrate new employees from the get-go.