Well, there are few lucky ones with whom it happened, yet it’s not as common as we would think. And after all, who knows better what you need as a next career step than yourself? This is about changing the reactive mode, in other words, waiting for a proposal to come, to proactive one -by create career opportunities by yourself.
What does it mean to take an ownership of one’s career? What would be the steps to follow? We all know we need to perform at our best at the current job, taking new responsibilities, learning new skills to be promoted. I would assume you do it already. Yet you stuck with your current position. So, what else can you improve?
Get as much clarity as possible about your professional vision. As I often say to my clients, choose your next career step keeping in mind the position you want to have after that one.
How do you position yourself in the company? Are you managing other’s impression of you? What is the main message you want people know about yourself as a professional? It can be your top strengths, a unique combination of skills, attitude? How does it related to the next position you are targeting?
Don’t assume that if you work hard and doing great things, people would necessarily notice that. Be sure to spend time and efforts on weekly basis promoting yourself. There are many ways to increase your visibility across the company. Sign on the highly noticeable projects, ask to make a presentation on company meetings. It can be director board, goal meetings or presenting in other departments the topics they might be interested in. Take creative approach on how you can spread the word about your achievements. How you’ve you been contributing to the company results?
Politics isn’t negative word if you take it from the perspective of building relations and powerful alliances. This is about understanding of how your organization functions. Learn to read the political landscape- be able to understand who control the flow of resources, information, and decisions. Being politically sensitive includes being people sensitive. Network: identify, who are key people to develop strong relations with, go with them for lunch for example. Learn how to sell yourself.
Think about a senior level person who would be willing to share their wisdom, knowledge, skills and expertise. Ask him for direct, constructive feedback, work out promotional strategies. Chances are high he become your promotion sponsor!
Ask directly for promotion if you notice interesting openings inside the company. Explain why you would be a perfect candidate for this position, using your influencing skills. Be open and clear with your boss about next position you would like to get.
Once you identify existing need in the company, you can do lobbying for new position creation to fill it out. I know a lot of professionals who succeed in that and they just enjoy their dream jobs now! It might take time or doesn’t necessary work out at the end. Yet in the worse case you will be noticed for taking the initiative and applying creative thinking, increasing your ”promotability”.
What do you currently do to be promoted? Do you use a strategic approach? Start with shifting the paradigm from expecting a happy chance to come to proactively working on creating new opportunities. And after all, this is about trying and taking risks. I love this quote of Michael Jordan:
I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games.26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.
Become the owner of your career and you will be amazed by the results.