You’re ready. You’ve been in your role long enough that you feel it’s time for a bigger challenge. Others have been promoted. Colleagues have left for better opportunities.
It’s your time. Why do you keep getting passed over?
Most companies are not focused on your advancement as much as they are focused on their profitability. The good ones know better, but they are in the minority. So where does that leave you? Often lack of advancement leaves talented professionals feeling undervalued, unappreciated and dismissed.
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The problem is that if you feel this way for an extended period of time you can become cynical, leaving you even less positioned to be promoted. You don’t think your dissatisfaction shows but it does.
Employees who have not been soured by their current situation can appear more enthusiastic. They have more confidence and take more risks. They are fearless. You have been playing it safe.
We must be our own advocates for our career trajectory. That doesn’t mean brag. It means be proactive about career advancement instead of waiting for it to happen. Don’t wait for a position to be posted to start.
Have your boss’ back
The single biggest influencer on your position at work is the trust of your boss. She can position you for greatness or keep you busy yet career stagnant. Continue to understand what she values and is working on. “I know that you are focused on (x) and want to give you a report on that.” She will be the first person you talk with when you have fully positioned yourself for a promotion.
Tie your work to the bottom line. Make a visible list of your measurable key accomplishments. The results should have numbers, charts and graphs in them. How much have you reduced cost or increased productivity? Continue to communicate what you are working on in terms of these visual metrics.
Be an owner, not a renter
Be team oriented and goal focused. People gravitate to people they can trust. Be indispensable. Own your work from start to finish. Be the go-to solution maven. Play to your signature strengths and area of expertise. Continue to take on work that showcases your talents. At meetings site the goals and the status of how your work is performing in relation to those goals. Smile.
Develop relationships with two ‘Guides’ within your organization – one for executive presence and the other for strategy. Guides are not mentors, sponsors or advocates. You don’t formalize a relationship with these people as it might scare them off. Study them and continually ask yourself, “What would she/he do?”
After you have done your research on the, ask to meet with them. The purpose of the meeting is to ask their opinion on a project you are working on. Share why you chose them and what you’ve learned about them. They will likely be impressed and likely agree to meet with you again. Ask how they got to where they are in their career and what they think you should do in yours.
Take a 30,000-foot view, not the 5-foot view
Don’t die in the minutia of mundane meetings. Study how your department is aligned with other areas.
Ask questions regarding where the business is going in the next three years. Are you expanding or reducing some areas? Is there an opportunity for a new role to be created?
Make your measurable business case for the role. Talk with your boss about the possibility of creating this role only when you have established a metric of how it will pay for itself and then some.
Match your measurable accomplishments to the prospective job requirements. Get the job description and affix one of your results to every area of responsibility. Submit that document with your resume. This becomes your value proposition for the position. Before you apply to find out if they already have someone in mind. If so, you might decide against it.
Communicate your career goals
Of course, you know what you want in your career. You are goal oriented in every aspect of your work. Leaders admire people who can advocate for themselves and have a strong track record of performance. Your boss will want to know how to keep you engaged and provide opportunities for your career ladder.
Mary Lee Gannon, ACC, CAE is an executive coach and corporate CEO who helps busy leaders get off the treadmill to nowhere to be more effective, earn more, be calmer and enjoy connected relationships with the people who matter while it still matters. Watch her FREE Master Class training on Three Things to Transform Your Life and Career Right Now at www.MaryLeeGannon.com.
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