In today’s competitive job market, keeping your career ahead of the curve is crucial to avoid a stalled career, but getting noticed is essential to get promoted. With the rate of change in the way work is done, how do you plan for a promotion when job titles and job responsibilities are also changing? How do you plan career advancement during times of uncertainty? After a few years of downsizing and restructuring, new occupations and opportunities are emerging. Some once safe jobs are becoming scarce and even non-existent. Some jobs have morphed beyond recognition. Career advancement requires that you stay informed about industry and business trends, think creatively about career advancement strategies and adopt an active plan for personal career success.
Get a New Perspective on Your Job
Many careers stall because people focus on doing things right rather than on doing the right thing. Look beyond your job description. Think of it as a starting point and a guide for how you can add value immediately. Demonstrate initiative and add responsibilities considering department and organizational goals and strategic initiatives. Take a look at the outside experts that your organization brings in. Can you add value by filling that gap? Take a look at industry trends and changes in your field of work. What can you introduce to your organization to help support strategic initiatives?
Think about your organization’s headaches, worries, opportunities and goals. Find the gaps in knowledge and skills. Learn where the important work, that has the greatest impact, is taking place and move toward developing knowledge and skill in that area.
Playing it safe is not a good strategy if you expect to advance your career, even though during times of uncertainty, it may seem like the best plan. Introducing new ideas, programs and processes involves risk and occasionally may result in mistakes, but frequently result in huge success. When things around you are changing, you need to change. When customer demand is changing, organizations need to change. Change always involves some degree of risk.
When risks are confronted by a mistake, fall forward, learn from the error, make adjustments, and make more attempts. Hiding as a result of a mistake does not signal confidence, the ability to problem-solve, or any degree of creative thinking, and these are the very qualities that will move your career forward.
Be the Source of Ideas
Read current literature about your industry, and make contact with individuals who are passionate about a subject related to your business, particularly those who think in the future tense, even if you can only get ten minutes on their calendar. People with a passion for a particular subject are so excited about their work and so enthusiastic about sharing their ideas about it that ten minutes can turn into an hour of valuable insight.
Go to conferences and speak with exhibitors about how they support your industry and what’s new in theirs.
Be hungry for new information, and be the idea source and a resource of information for your organization and clients. Let it be known that when a problem arises, you are the go-to person for solutions or information.
Consider Lateral Moves
Career advancement will require laterals moves. Success at higher levels will necessitate moving to different parts of an organization to broaden your perspective of how one business affects another. You expand your understanding of how to get things done in the organization. This may even give you a chance to demonstrate skills that you are not able to show in your current position.
When you move on to your new position, someone needs to be available to fill your old position. Be proactive and be a mentor and sponsor of a suitable candidate. It is not only important to demonstrate your ability to develop others, it is also rewarding to help others to succeed.
You are the key to your own career success. Your career plan should include opportunities to add value. Consider the these four strategies to get noticed keeping in mind what you do well, how you make a difference, the kinds of challenges and projects you can take on to demonstrate your strengths, skills and knowledge and which business units you’d like to be promoted to, to enhance your knowledge and gain a broader perspective. Don’t rely on someone in your company to chart a path for your career advancement. Ask for guidance and insight, but you need to get in the driver’s seat.