Are you feeling stuck at your current job? Do you want to start making more money? If so, it’s time to take a pro-active, strategic approach to your career growth.
Don’t sit, wait and hope for good things to happen to you. If you want to get ahead in your career and start climbing the ladder, take these steps immediately.
Most successful companies develop a business plan — and so should you.
Picture yourself in three years. What job title and responsibilities do you have? What skill sets, education or certification are necessary for that position? With a plan in place, you’ll know where you are now compared to where you want to be. If you’re unclear about your future career structure, career counseling might be in order.
Improve Your Leadership Skills
Not everyone is a born leader. However, most people have some trait or skill from which others could benefit. Knowing how to share that skill increases your value to an organization. For example, if you know the capabilities and peculiarities of a particular software, volunteer to be the go-to person for those using that software.
“Research has shown that leaders are made through the development of core leadership competencies such as strategic planning, critical thinking, problem-solving and team building,” said Artika Tyner, an author, speaker and leadership and public policy professor.
Social Media Matters
If you think current and future employers don’t look at your social media profile when considering a promotion or new position, think again. Take the time to create a social media bio that emphasizes your strengths and experience.
A 2017 study by Career Builder found that 57 percent of employers are hesitant to interview a candidate with no internet presence. Not only that, 70 percent use social media to filter job candidates.
Consider changing your Facebook profile to private so only friends and family can view it. Be careful posting controversial comments in groups because those posts are visible to anyone in the group — including job recruiters. But, feel free to share your knowledge and experience so you can build a reputation as an expert in your field. Another alternative is to have a public account that shows off your community involvement, professional attributes and achievements.
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Were you passed over for a promotion? Did you receive a mediocre raise? If so, here are a few things you can do:
- Keep a work journal noting major responsibilities, successful projects and achieved milestones.
- Focus on the positive impact of those projects such as improved productivity or reduced expenses. This journal comes in handy when it’s time for your review or updating your resume for a job search.
- Volunteer for high-profile projects to get noticed by your boss. For example, if your group is focusing on a new initiative such as the development of a new brand, try to get involved in that project because it will likely be under the microscope of management.
Network, Network, Network
It’s important to build a power network. Networking can increase your visibility throughout your company and improve your chances of promotion.
Throw a wide net both inside your company and outside to get to the next career level. You might hear about an opening in another department that would be perfect for your next job. If you’re already acquainted with the supervisor in payroll, for example, the interview for the senior accounting clerk position might go a little smoother.
Networking outside your company lets you know what’s going on in your industry and allows you to meet new contacts. Join professional associations, chambers of commerce and networking organizations. Introduce yourself and then direct the conversation toward the other person. Find out how you can help them. The more people you know, the faster you can climb the work ladder.
Adopt Your Manager’s Communication Style
Lauren A. Rivera, in a study published in the American Sociological Review, found that hiring managers tend to favor employees who share similar philosophies and interests; therefore, assuming communication and behavioral styles similar to your manager could be effective. If your boss tends to be analytical, support your ideas with facts and statistics.
“Leave your ego at the door when you speak with your boss,” Lamson stated. “Your goal should be to learn how you can get the best results and make your department look good. That includes learning your boss’s boundaries to ensure you’re not stepping on his or her toes.”
Be Friendly, Not BFF’s
Be friendly with everyone, but don’t become fast friends with your peers at work. When you get promoted up that career ladder and those friends report to you, the situation can become uncomfortable. Those who aren’t your good friends might think you’re extending privileges to those who are. Even more detrimental to your success, your friends might resent your supervision or feel they should get special treatment.
Furthermore, it can be awkward for you to give performance reviews that affect your friend’s income. It might be difficult to reprimand and even more painful to have to terminate a friend’s employment. In any case, be careful what you reveal to friends because that information could backfire when it’s promotion time.
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Be a Team Player
Being a team player might sound cliché, but it’s necessary for today’s work environment as organizations abandon traditional hierarchical models and adopt flat structures where innovation is bred by hiring employees with diverse knowledge and approach. Monica Eaton-Cardone, chief operating officer of Chargebacks911, said people should “maintain a whatever-it-takes-to-get-the-job-done philosophy.”
“Stay late, come in early and volunteer to help others as often as possible,” she said. “Be aware and listen to the current internal issues, think of solutions and share those solutions with others. Employers seek out individuals who want to go beyond their comfort level to learn new things.”
Dress Like the Team
Dress for success. In other words, dress like those employees who are one level above you.
It’s also important to dress as if you belong. If everyone in the company is dressing casual, you’ll stand out wearing a suit and tie — and not necessarily in a good way. Keep in mind some industries have different dress codes. If you walk into a financial institution, for example, you’ll see they dress typically more formal than at a high-tech company. Meanwhile, a marketing or graphic design company might have a more casual dress code.
Being resilient means staying positive, even when the environment in the company seems negative due to such things as an economic downturn. Resiliency releases an individual from the grip of inaction. Foster this characteristic to advance in your career even when you experience inevitable setbacks.
Next Up: 7 Signs You’re in a Dead-End Job