We’re half way through the year, so how are those goals looking? If one of your priorities is to advance your career and grow within your company, have you been doing what it takes? While some things can’t be rushed, you can certainly do everything in your power to advance your career.
We can only control ourselves and our actions. When you truly want to grow in your career, you need to take action. I’m sharing 6 ways to advance your career. These actions may not lead to instant results, but they will put you in a much better position when the time does come to be evaluated for a new position.
#1 Expand Your Knowledge and Skills
It’s been said that “it’s not what you know, but who you know”, and that’s certainly true. However, if you know more about your job, industry or company, or you have a wide variety of skillsets, you can get a lot further. You can have a huge network, advance to the next level, and not succeed because you don’t have the proper knowledge or skills.
While you’re in your current position, take the opportunity to excel in what you do. Then, take it a step further and start expanding your knowledge and skillsets. Leverage any training opportunities offered by your employer or start looking outside of your organization. Expanding your knowledge and skill capabilities will set you up for prosperous career growth.
#2 Work with a Mentor
Are you happy with the company you are working for? If so, is there a person in the position you want? Reach out to them and ask if they could mentor you. Reaching out for mentorship may seem scary, but people are a lot more likely to say yes than no. And, if they do say no, they can likely recommend someone.
If you want to work for yourself or a different company, the same applies – seek out someone with the job you want or in the company/industry you want. This may take a little more research, but it will certainly be worth it.
The insight you can get from working with a mentor is like no other. Not to mention, you never know who they know. If you tell them what you want out of your career, when something comes up that you are a good fit for, they may throw your name out there. That’s where the “it’s not what you know, but who you know” comes into play!
#3 Vow to Expand Your Network
Working with a mentor is not the only way to expand your network. In fact, you can build a network of individuals for different things. Maybe you are not very tech savvy, but someone in your network is. When a tech question comes up, you now have a contact who may be able to assist.
Expanding your network is a great thing, but keep in mind that the benefit cannot just be for you. There has to be a mutual win/win relationship with your contacts. This will ensure that your network is quality and will come through when you do need them to.
#4 Build Your Personal Brand
Your personal brand is what others think about you, in work or out of work. Just like a business has a brand, so do all of us. If you want people to hear your name and think “responsible”, “reliable”, or “dependable”, you have to build that for yourself. However, you want people to see you is how you need to act consistently.
It’s not always easy to build a personal brand. It takes time and effort, and if you had a negative association, it can take even longer to get that association off your back. However, when you do build that true personal brand, others will associate you with quality. Nothing beats that! Check out Questions to Ask When Building a Personal Brand for more insight.
#5 Join a Professional Organization
I love this tip from Career Contessa, “Professional organizations are a great way to meet new people in your industry. For some reason, they’ve gone out of style lately (probably in part thanks to the rise of digital culture and Facebook groups), but that’s all the more reason to capitalize on them. If you haven’t looked into the options available in your industry, now’s a good time to give it a go.”
When I relocated back to Austin from Los Angeles in 2013, I joined a professional organization called the National Association of Professional Women. I joined the Austin chapter and took advantage of the monthly mixers and knowledge-building seminars. I met some great women and I learned more skills to help me in my professional career.
#6 Seek More Responsibility
If you are ready to advance your career and grow in your department, start taking on more responsibility. First, start with your manager. Ask if there is anything they need help with, or any projects you can be a part of. You can also ask if they need you to sit in on any meetings on your behalf.
Once you’ve taken on more responsibility from your manager, or if they don’t have anything for you, move onto other leaders in your department. Even if nothing comes your way instantly, you will be a subconscious candidate for future items that come up. One thing to keep in mind is to only take on what you can handle. Nothing would be worse than taking on extra responsibility and not delivering. That will move you backwards.
Related: 7 Ways to Get Promoted at Work
As I mentioned earlier, you can’t control everything, but you can do things to tip the odds in your favor. The ways to advance your career listed above will certainly help. If you are doing everything right, and things aren’t moving anywhere, it may be time to switch jobs. Don’t tie yourself to a job or company if you aren’t getting what you deserve.
Do you have any career-advancement tips? How have you strategically advanced in your career? I would love to hear from you, so leave your comments below to share!