I talk to job-seeking clients every day, and I always hear the same refrain: “My career is stuck.”
It comes in many different forms:
- “I like my company, but I’m not moving up as fast as I want to.”
- “I’ve been in my role too long.”
- “Other people are moving forward but I keep getting passed up.”
News flash: You need to invest more in your career progress than you are today. For most of you, that’s easy, since you are not doing much. And I get that. You don’t have time because you are working so hard, or you expect more from your company, or you don’t know how — should I continue with more excuses… I mean, reasons?
The good news is there are resources ready to help you if you’re committed to stepping up. The only way to take control of your career is to step out of your comfort zone and try new techniques. Try grabbing the reins in these four major areas.
1. Be accountable
Are you just talking about your career “stuck-ness,” or are you committed to doing something about it? What are you willing to change about your mind-set, time management, and actions going forward?
It’s important to have a very clear goal in mind — not a three-year or five-year plan, but the exact position that you want to pursue as your next role. If you don’t know, then study job descriptions and define one core goal.
Then build a plan to get from your current position to the end goal. If you have gaps in your plan, then those are the topics for you to learn more about. Remember: nobody cares about your career progress more than you do.
2. Get feedback and be self-aware
During my 30-year career climbing Fortune 500 corporate ladders, I learned just how critical self-awareness is — including a deep understanding of how co-workers on multiple levels perceive you, good and bad.
Good feedback is tough to get, but there are proven techniques that you can implement that will provide fantastic insights and help your career at the same time.
3. Build career champions now
Building a reliable network of career champions or strategic supporters takes a good amount of thought, time and maintenance. It is much more than having a mentor or two, although mentors can be extremely valuable.
It’s important to network within your company for career change and success, and that networking can happen in many ways based on your preferred communication style. If well done, then it’s not “playing politics,” “boot-licking,” or “phony.” It’s basic and you’re missing opportunities if you don’t execute this career strategy.
4. Implement techniques to get promoted
Promotions are harder to come by than ever before. But why are others rocketing up the ladder while you twiddle your thumbs on the launch pad? In order to land your next promotion, you need to be thoughtful, deliberate, and professional with your goals.
For example, do research on the promotion philosophy of your company, the requirements of the next level up, and the key competencies or attributes your managers look for. Often you can learn this info from your company’s website or HR team. Also find out how your manager is justifying your position or promotion to his or her boss — prove that you’re the perfect fit!
Invest in YOU for a change. You’re giving and giving to your company, friends and family, but it’s time to take accountability for changing your career now. Buy a book, get an executive job coach, do some research. Do something!