Own Your Career
I’ve conducted thousands of interviews and one thing I hear time and time again is that people are searching for career growth and a company that “cares” about their career.
I can’t fault them for that. Isn’t that the way it should be? But, here’s the problem - you won’t always find a boss who will watch out for your professional development.
The reality is you own your career. Why leave something so important in the hands of others?
The 12 Best Ways You Own Your Career
1. You Don’t Hold Yourself Back
Many people have reservations about applying to new positions and women are worse than men. Did you know that studies have shown that men apply to jobs when they meet only about 60 percent of a job's qualifications, but women only apply when they meet 100 percent of them?
Much of the hesitation comes from a lack of confidence. The Reality: If you don’t go for it, you’ll always be where you are today. If you are waiting until you meet 100 percent of the qualifications, you might be waiting a while. Use a little realism but failing to act gets you nowhere.
2. You Don’t Settle for Average
You get out of your career what you put into your career. Owning your career means you push for greater than average. If you are playing in the pool of the status quo, nothing amazing will happen there.
3. You Know Industry Trends
Proactively researching current industry standards keeps you on your toes. Not every industry is growing. As technology and cultures change, industries grow and shrink and new threats emerge. As you understand what the trends mean, you can align your skills with those trends.
4. You Haven’t Stopped Growing
Technology changes quickly. If you still have the same skills as when you first started out in your career, you have severely limited your growth. Take the time to figure out what skills you’re lacking and devise a plan to fill in those gaps. Take a class, read some books, or follow some tutorials so you can demonstrate that your skills have improved.
5. You Understand Where You Thrive
What type of atmosphere helps you thrive the most? One factor that significantly influences how employees feel about their job is the environment and culture. If you’re not a good fit with your company’s culture, then you may need to look elsewhere for a company that’s a better fit. In all likelihood if you’re not fitting in at work, you’re probably not all that happy there anyway.
6. You Have Built a Sound Network of Professionals
Business relationships are a catalyst for success. That means connecting and networking with professionals in your current company as well as outside of it. If you want to get ahead, you have to know the right people, and more importantly, they have to know you. Form relationships so that when it’s time to put your hat in the ring for that promotion, they recognize your name when your resume crosses their desk.
7. You know When It’s Time to Leave
Sometimes you hit a wall with your advancement in your current company. Maybe the raises are smaller or non-existent or maybe you keep getting passed over for promotions. You can accept it or move on. The choice is yours but you have to know and be prepared when it’s time to say good-bye.
8. You Continue to Kick Ass
Maintaining your performance can mean that you’re good at your job but it doesn’t mean it will get you ahead. If your performance is exactly where it was a year ago, or two years ago, you’re not improving. Look for ways to excel, not maintain.
9. You Speak Up
When you are passive, the perception may be that you are satisfied and you don't want to be promoted. Let your boss know that you would like help in defining a career path that helps you move up. Ambition gets you from here to there. If your boss can help you, that’s much easier than going it alone.
10. You Toot Your Own Horn
P.T. Barnum said, “Without promotion something terrible happens—nothing.”Visibility is important because you will be at the forefront of your manager’s mind. Visibility also makes you seem approachable, meaning you’ll have more chances to discuss your accomplishments and responsibilities with others.
11. You Are Building Your Brand By Establishing Yourself as An Expert in Your Field
Nothing builds credibility in a career more than establishing yourself as an expert in your field. Writing blog articles is a way to showcase your knowledge. You can also seek out conferences and meetings where you can give speeches and presentations. You may even want to consider creating a professional website or blog where you can publish your articles or speeches.
12. You Know Your Worth
Protect yourself from being underpaid by knowing your worth before entering into any discussions about your salary. Be prepared to promote yourself at the appropriate salary level. Do your research!