It would be nice if hard work and talent would automatically lead to a job with more pay, more responsibility and a better title. But in most cases, it takes more than that to move to the next level.
Fortunately, there are several small changes that can make a big difference in your career trajectory. These are tiny nuances that can work in any industry and at any job. You just have to know how to apply them right.
Embrace The Changes Everyone Else Hates
Because human beings are naturally opposed to change, the greatest moments for career advancement very often come in times of uncertainty and disruption. During these periods, like in an acquisition or management shake-up, the opportunities for promotion are at their greatest and your competition are at their worst. While your peers are rebelling to change and worrying what the future may hold, you need to be executing your advancement strategy. Being positive and strategic when everyone around you is negative and defensive will elevate you above your competition.
It’s very comforting and often therapeutic to gripe and gossip with peers at work. We are naturally drawn to this behavior especially in times of change and uncertainty. You should never do it. We also tend to network exclusively with people at our own level or below in the company because it’s comfortable and easy. It’s a waste of time.
To actually get ahead in a company, you need to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Gravitating to the herd has the opposite effect. Next time when you feel tempted to gossip or gripe with your fellow peers, don’t do it. Instead, make a list of key influencers over your career success and focus your networking efforts on them.
Look the part
If everyone else dresses casually you will stand out through being a bit smarter. Sound advice is to dress as if you are doing the job the level above, it helps others to visualise you in a different role. This also can help to increase our confidence, it makes us feel better and thus act better.
READ ALSO: Moving Up: How To Get A Promotion
Spend more time expanding skills...
...and less time on short-term results. You should always be learning new things, picking your co-workers brains and cross-training where possible. Not only will it make you a more valuable resource, it will prepare you for your next big gig.
What courses could you take to increase your knowledge/experience? It doesn't have to be a masters level qualification, a short course may be useful. Make sure people within your organisation know when you have qualified.
Find Big Problems To Solve
When it comes to career advancement, small wins and reliable performance do not put a winning score on the board. Managers who play a game based on reliability tend to become known only for their mistakes. Mistakes, unlike small wins, reverberate across the company – they get noticed. So, when mistakes inevitably happen, the reliable manager hasn’t put up enough points to make up for them.
It pays to pursue a big win strategy, even at the expense of making more small mistakes. Big wins are memorable, they build attention outside your department, and they’re like bait for promotions. Find a process to improve or a special project to take on even if it falls outside your core objectives. These are the things people will notice and promote you for.
Learn To Promote Yourself
We’re taught by our families that modesty is a virtue, but just as with job-hunting, if no one knows how great you are, you simply won’t get ahead. Be a known quantity. If you have had major accomplishments or created new or award-winning programs, make sure people know about them — especially the people doing the promoting.
Sell yourself — and let it be known that you are seeking a promotion. One professional we know sends out a monthly email to his boss and his boss’s boss to keep them updated on his progress on various projects — and to share any accomplishments and accolades that occurred in the previous month.