Is your career advancement at a standstill? Not sure what to do next? Here are 10 ways to get your career moving in a positive direction:
- Forget job titles and focus on skills and achievements. What have you learned in the last 12 months? What projects have you implemented? Any new responsibilities? Any new clients or new offerings? Have you broadened your network or increased your visibility?
- Initiate greater responsibility. What new skills or responsibilities would add to your skill set and position you for a jump up the career ladder? Create a one-page action plan to make it happen. Think win-win. How does the added responsibility improve your role or that of the department or your boss? Assure your manager that your current projects will not suffer by taking on the added work.
- Don’t wait for the phone to ring. Schedule time with your customers/clients (internal and/or external) and ask them what’s currently challenging them. Figure out what you can do to help them.
- Commit to offering superior customer service every single day. You should already be doing this but we often spend our days reacting and not stepping back to see what we can do better. Begin each day by asking yourself how you can add value to someone or something. If you’re a leader, make this a daily expectation for everyone on your team. Commit to improving your customer service by 1% each day. Ask your customers what you can do better and make it happen.
- Connect. Work on building your network. Challenge yourself to meet with someone new/different every week. Reach out to people or departments in your company that you don’t normally work with. If you’re considering a career move, tap your network and find people in the field you’re considering. Ask them about their greatest challenge. Ask for advice.
- Learn something new. Have a goal of learning something new every quarter–Read a new book. Research and write an article on a topic in your area of specialty or something new you’d like to add to your skill set. Volunteer for a project or committee. Join a networking group. Attend a workshop on a topic that would complement your current skill set or position you for a career jump or lateral move. Be willing to pay for it yourself.
- Find a mentor. Create a plan to identify the top three people you’d love to connect with. Be bold. Create a simple strategy to connect with them. Ask them to mentor you. Do it on their terms and be respectful of their time. Make it easy for them to say yes.
- Be a mentor. Focus on mentoring a junior level high-achiever. Serving as a mentor gives you the opportunity to focus on the positive aspects of your work and to model best practices for him/her. In return, it can help you revitalize your perspective about your own career path.
- Instead of mindlessly checking open job listings, focus on the top 5 to 10 companies you’d love to work for and research each one. Tap your network to find a connection in those companies and set up an informational interview with each.
- If you’re feeling undervalued and resentful about your current position or company, create a one-page action plan to help you reconnect with your manager or department head. Ask for constructive feedback. Keep the focus on gathering information, not about who’s right. You need to get an honest assessment. Even if you don’t agree with your manager’s perspective, you need to know where you stand so you can decide whether you can improve your current situation or whether it’s time to focus on an exit strategy. Staying stuck in a role or organization that lessens you helps no one. More importantly, staying instead of leaving will further erode your confidence and your career progress.
- Don’t gossip and don’t complain. It’s NEVER good for your career development and it keeps you in a “less than” place that doesn’t serve you or your customers/clients.
THIS WEEK’S CALL TO ACTION:
Identify one action you can take to upgrade your career momentum.