In my career as an HR Professional, I’ve learned a ton of valuable lessons. One of the most impactful things I’ve learned is that everyone is responsible for their own development. You cannot rely on anyone but yourself to ensure you learn and grow. Your manager and peers play a part in this process, but you must be the driver! Below, I’ve left some tips that will assist you in your journey to the next big opportunity.
1) Stay away from having a “that’s not my job” mentality: Everyday, people say that they want more out of their careers but refuse to go the extra mile. You may be asked to do things that aren’t necessarily in your job description, but look at it as an opportunity to show that you’re flexible and unafraid to step outside of your comfort zone. Smart leaders admire employees that are willing to go above and beyond their call of duty! Speak with your manager regarding your workload and see if there is an opportunity for you to contribute more to the business.
2) Vocalize your interest: When you want to move up, you cannot be quiet about it. Be willing to say what you want and when you want it! When your name comes up in conversation, your manager should be able to say: “Tyler is working to be promoted by the end of the year.” Communicate clearly to avoid surprising your manager or miscommunicating your desires.
3) Lay out a plan: Once you’ve decide that you want to be promoted, it’s very important for you to be clear in your intentions with your manager. Work with your manager to create a plan for your next steps. Often referred to as a Career Development Plan or Structured Development Plan, these guides will keep you on track as you progress towards the next big step. Use SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) goals to keep a close eye on your progress.
4) Identify your strong suits and the areas where you need improvement: I admire people that are willing to acknowledge their strengths and weaknesses. Knowing these key things about yourself can only help you professionally and personally. Take an honest look at the job you want and ask yourself: How is this role the same or different than my current role? What do I want long-term? Do I genuinely believe that this role is my next career step? Being promoted is awesome! Still, I believe that working in a position where you enjoy what you do and feel a sense of peace is even more important.
5) Find a mentor: Establishing a relationship with a mentor can be very beneficial to your career! Use this person as a resource for bouncing ideas off of and for having honest conversation. If this is someone you trust you may be able to discuss topics with them that you may not be comfortable sharing with your manager. Let them know your career plans and goals. Ask your mentor to be straightforward with you, whether you like what they have to say or not.
6) Be open to change: Be willing to roll with the punches. You may have a plan and timeline regarding when you want things to happen, but that could change. Be open to hearing suggestions from your mentor and revisions from your manager. Trust that if these people are invested in your success they will want to see you reach your goals!
7) Show up ready to perform each and everyday: Sounds simple, but it’s half the battle. Often times we become settled and comfortable in our careers. If you really want to move up, you have to be willing to go above and beyond. On your off days, read books or articles that can make you a better leader or individual contributor. Invest consistently in yourself and it will show.
8) Consider leaving if you are stuck: Let’s say you’ve done all the right things but you still aren’t seeing any results. Consider shopping yourself around to other companies or making a lateral move to a different role. Growth doesn’t necessarily equal promotion. You can grow and learn by shaking up your career. A different company may see your talent and have the right position (and compensation) to meet your needs. A lateral move may allow you to dig deeper into your skill set and give you a much-needed fresh start.