Career advancement is an enticement that today’s companies use to lure job candidates. But to truly uncover growth opportunities within a company, it’s up to you to take the initiative to move up. You can’t rely on recruiter promises that your company will largely hire from within. Even assurances you heard from your direct supervisor during the interviewing process may not pan out.
But if you begin a job knowing that you’re ultimately responsible for getting yourself noticed, you will be starting one step ahead.
Accomplished entrepreneur and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman said,
“If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”
It’s important to recognize that taking charge of your own career advancement, and then mapping out the steps you need to succeed, is key to moving forward on your trajectory.
Make a Point of Positioning Yourself as a Rising Star
As an employee looking for growth opportunities within your current company, you have many avenues to position yourself as a rising star.
As an insider, you’re able to glean insights on company strategies and apply your expertise where it’s most needed. Scout out any skills gaps, then make a point to acquire and apply them. And, when you have creative ideas to offer, make it your mission to gain the ear of those in the organization who can put your ideas to the test.
Valiant shows of commitment and enterprise make managers perk up and take notice, keeping you ahead of both internal and external competitors.
Employ these other useful tips to let your rising star qualities shine:
1. Promote Your Successes to Your Higher-Ups
When your boss casually asks how you’re doing, use this valuable moment to position yourself as indispensable: “I’m floating on clouds because three clients have already commented on how well they like my redesign of the company website.”
Tell your supervisors about any and all successes. Securing a new contract or signing a new customer should be a cause for celebration. Be sure to let your bosses know.
2. Cultivate Excellent Listening Skills
Listen well, and ask great questions. Realize that people love to talk about themselves.
But if you’re a superb listener, others will confide in you, and you’ll learn from what they share. You may even find out something valuable about your own prospects in the company.
If others view you as even-minded and thoughtful, they’ll respect your ideas and, in turn, listen to what you have to say.
3. Go to All Office Networking Events
Never skip the office Christmas party, your coworker’s retirement party, or any office birthday parties, wedding showers, or congratulatory parties for colleagues.
If others see you as a team player, it will help you rise in your company. These on-site parties will also help you mingle with co-workers whom you might not ordinarily have the chance to see. For special points, help organize one or two of these get-togethers.
Take the Extra Step to Show Your Value to the Company
Managers and HR staff know that it can be less risky – and a lot less costly — to promote from within. As internal staff, you likely have a good grasp of the authority structure and talent pool in the company, and know how to best navigate these networks in achieving both the company’s goals and your own.
The late Nobel-Prize winning economist, Gary Becker, coined the term “firm-specific,” which describes the unique skills required to excel in an individual organization. You, as a current employee, have likely tapped into these specific skills, while external hires may take a year or more to master their nuances.
Know that your experience within the company already provides value, then find ways to add even more value, using these tips:
4. Show Initiative
Commit yourself to whatever task you’re given, and make a point of going above and beyond.
Position yourself so that you’re ready to take on any growth opportunities that present themselves. If you believe you have skills that have gone untapped, find a manager who will give you a chance to prove your worth.
Accept any stretch assignment that showcases your readiness for advancement. Stay late, and arrive early. Half of getting the best assignments is sticking around long enough to receive them.
5. Set Yourself Apart by Staying up on Everything There Is to Know About Your Company and Its Competitors
Subscribe to and read the online trade journals. Become an active member in your industry’s network of professionals. Go to industry conferences, and learn your competitors’ strategies.
Be the on-the-ground eyes and ears for your organization to stay on top of industry trends.
6. Go to Every Company Meeting Prepared and Ready to Learn
A lot of workers feel meetings are an utter waste of time. They’re not, though, because they provide face-time with higher-ups and those in a position to give you the growth opportunities you need.
Go with the intention of absorbing information and using it to your advantage — including the goals and work styles of your superiors. Respect the agenda, listen more than you speak, and never beleaguer a point.