Every current and potential executive I’ve met has valuable skills and significant personal strengths. Most of them also demonstrate a well-grounded sense of self and a thorough understanding of their talents and challenges. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop many qualified professionals from running up against walls as they work toward career and job advancement.
The corporate ladder can sometimes be frustrating and unforgiving, and superiors are often too busy to provide dedicated mentoring to their subordinates, much less anything approaching expert executive coaching services. While every employee would love to have a boss who works selflessly to advance the careers of his or her employees, no one should count on opportunities falling from the sky.
At the end of the day, professionals who want more from their careers have to seize the initiative. Many of these individuals follow a series of intentional steps to career success, such as the ones detailed below, to secure promotions or land their dream job.
5 Tips for Career and Job Advancement
- Get close to the customer. Internal business units are important to a company’s success, but no business can function without customers. The closer—and more important—you are to the people who ultimately pay the company’s bills, the more indispensable you become to your company’s bottom line.
- Involve yourself in mission critical projects. Every business has a core set of products and services that pad the bottom line. Identify these areas and do whatever you can to contribute to them and their growth. If your expertise does not directly relate to these areas, find ways to leverage your skills to add value or decrease costs associated with them.
- Pitch big ideas. Do your homework first, but otherwise don’t hesitate to offer proposals that could bring in new customers, realize substantial cost savings, open new markets, or otherwise grow the business. People listen to and respect well-argued, clearly defined ideas. Even if they don’t fly, they will earn you attention and recognition. Speak early, often, and articulately about your ideas.
- Stay interested in the people around you. Regardless of whether you would choose to befriend your coworkers outside the office, try to express an interest in them as people. Successful leaders demonstrate a strong desire to understand the people surrounding them and foster positive relationships at work. Keep in touch with as many colleagues as possible and take every opportunity to listen to their stories.
- Help others succeed. Job advancement isn’t always about personal achievement. Bosses love employees who can work well both individually and as part of a team—especially those who can set aside their egos and help others deliver on important projects and assignments. Try to be that guy or gal everyone knows they can come to with a question.
As you begin implementing these tips for career and job advancement, remember that above all else, jump-starting your career requires consistent effort and intentionality. The best leaders stay focused on their goals and recommit themselves to their work on a daily basis.
Find additional career development tips at my website or order my book Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level for a more in-depth, hands-on guide to making the most of your career.