Take Charge of Your Career
by Debra Pestrak
These days, more and more people are dissatisfied with their job
and yearn for a more challenging position within their organization
that will give them intellectual, personal and financial growth.
If youíre tired of floundering with the same job title while others
seem to swim ahead, then itís time to take charge of your career
to achieve the professional status you desire. Only if you take
action can you get noticed and put your career in overdrive. Below
are the top five career-furthering ideas.
- Stand out and be noticed.
In today’s business world, it’s not enough to just
prove yourself technically in your field. You must also be the
best at what you do, whether it’s sales, computer graphics,
marketing or financial planning. Your results must be exceptional
for the company to truly value what you’re doing and to
notice your bottom line contribution. In order to accomplish
this, you need to first develop your career plan and discuss
your career aspirations with your manager. Also, keep your manager
and upper management up-to-date on your contributions and accomplishments.
Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn, but don’t
- Write down your goals.
Having career goals is a sure step to success. However, unless
you write those goals down, all you really have are wishful
dreams that may or may not come true. Writing down your goals
makes you accountable for them and encourages you to strive
harder to achieve them. When determining your career goals,
consider where you want to be in five, 10, and 15 years. Remember
to always keep your goals specific. Instead of simply stating
that you want to close more sales contracts or earn more money,
determine specific objectives such as increasing sales by 15%
or earning $20,000 more. Also, the more you can visualize yourself
achieving the goals, the better your chances of actually doing
- Decide if you need to make a career change.
Many of the top executives interviewed in the book Playing
with the Big Boys wish they had accelerated their careers
by making a career change earlier than they did. To determine
if you need to make a change in order to get ahead, ask yourself
the following: “How long have I been here?” and
“What would have to happen for me to move forward?”
Normally, within 18 months you should be able to master an assignment.
If you’ve been in the same job with the same responsibilities
for longer than that time and don’t foresee any advancement,
it may be time to change assignments or careers. Also, look
out two positions from where you are and assess whether that
is where you want to be. If you’re not sure, consider
working for the person who has the job you want to determine
if it really is the job for you. If you ultimately determine
that your company isn’t supporting your career goals or
that the corporate culture doesn’t fit your personality,
then get out. It’s easy to get emotionally tied to your
work and hope the situation will change when it wonít.
- Find a mentor.
One of the best ways to get ahead is to learn from someone
who already has. A mentor can also teach you intangible skills
such as how to be effective in the environment and basic business
know-how. When choosing a mentor, look for someone who represents
your values and who supports your goals. Decide whether you
want the mentoring relationship to be formal or informal. Remember
that mentoring works best when it is a personal experience and
not an assignment.
- Learn all you can about your business or industry.
Within most organizations, knowing various areas of the business
is a prerequisite for moving into the executive ranks. You may
be able to move close to the top as a specialist, but most organizations
will not give you a policy-making position if you don’t
know how other departments operate. In order to learn about
your company, read the annual report, which will identify what
is important to the company and its long-term goals. Also, volunteer
to be a part of teams and task forces. This will allow you to
expand your knowledge base and to network simultaneously.
Career advancement is possible when you take a proactive approach
to your professional future. By implementing these tips into your
daily life, taking charge of your career and making yourself a noticeable
presence within your company, you will achieve the status you desire.
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To discover more career advice contact the author of Playing
with the Big Boys: Success Secrets of the Most Powerful Women in
Business Debra Pestrak, president of Success Unleashed®,
Inc., a company dedicated to delivering high-impact and empowering
programs at 888 SUN-3777.
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