How to Stand out in the Lineup for an Internal Promotion

Have you been passed over for one too many promotions at work? A lot of people assume that if they put in their time with a company, they’ll automatically be up for the next promotion. However, without demonstrating initiative and the proper characteristics, you’re unlikely to achieve the success that you desire. The following tips will get you on your way to nailing the next internal promotion at your company.

Dress for the job that you want

One of the oldest tips for landing a dream job is to dress for success. You should be dressing for the desired job position, not the current position. If you do good work, the work does speak for itself but making the right impression with co-workers and clients counts, too. Many modern companies have non-traditional dress codes, particularly in creative and non-corporate sectors, which can make dress a little difficult. Pay attention to how the higher-ups dress and follow their lead.1

Dressing for the job that you want can extend beyond clothing. For example, do you exhibit professionalism in your verbal and written communication? Composing thoughtful, error-free emails can make a big difference.2

Speak up

Look for natural openings to add insight or ask questions during meetings and conferences. If you’re an introvert, you may have to go outside of your comfort zone. Start slow, and build from there. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification or more information as needed. These type of questions show bosses that you take your job seriously. When you offer new concepts and alternative solutions, higher-ups may appreciate your initiative and innovation.3

Don’t be afraid to take risks

Most people don’t achieve success by playing it safe all the time. Look at famous leaders throughout history. You see numerous examples of individuals who went ahead with a risky plan while other people sat back and waited for better timing or safer circumstances.4 Sometimes you have to trust your gut and take a leap. Taking a risk may be as small as meeting with a new client on your own for the first time to as big as having lunch with your boss to talk about your desired internal job position. Put your capability to the test and take advantage of the chances that you’re given in life.5

Seek out professional development opportunities

Most likely you have regular opportunities for professional development through your job. There is nothing wrong with these opportunities, but as they are required, they aren’t doing anything to help you stand apart from the crowd. Look for classes, training sessions, seminars, and conferences that fit your interests or that could help you further your career. Pursuing professional development outside of works demonstrates a strong capacity for growth. This capacity comes with a passion for knowledge and a drive to learn new things.6 Continuing to expand your skill sets may be just what you need to secure that promotion.

If you’re still not sure what you could be doing to get noticed at work, solicit constructive feedback from your co-workers or consult with a job coach. It may not be easy to hear the harsh truth, but you’ll be glad to have gotten the advice when you nail the next interview for an internal promotion.

1http://theseeker.seek.com.au/4-ways-to-stand-out-for-that-promotion

2http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/careers/sns-jobs-steps-promotion-story.html

3http://theseeker.seek.com.au/4-ways-to-stand-out-for-that-promotion

4http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnbaldoni/2014/01/14/ford-motor-company-how-leadership-takes-risks/

5http://www.forbes.com/sites/glennllopis/2012/11/19/5-ways-to-get-promoted-in-2013/

6http://www.forbes.com/sites/glennllopis/2012/11/19/5-ways-to-get-promoted-in-2013/

Getting Ahead Within Your Own Company – How to Climb the Ladder Once You’re In

I’ve talked to numerous candidates who love the company they are with; however, just can’t seem to get ahead within the company no matter how well they perform. The frustration of receiving excellent performance reviews, yet, continually overlooked for the big or small promotions.   Does this sound like you? You may be a great employee, but without taking initiative and exuding the right characteristics, you’re likely to get stuck. Most people want to be successful but simply don’t know how to go about doing it. The following advice will get you on your way to obtaining your dream position.

Demonstrate confidence

Employees are more likely to support the efforts of their co-workers who are confident, which includes championing their success. It is easy to be your own worst enemy. When you believe that you won’t get ahead at work, your chances of getting ahead are low. Stand up for yourself and take credit where credit is due so that you receive acknowledgment for your great work and ideas. If you struggle with self-confidence, consider your skills and talents, focusing on your strengths and abilities. Think about why the company hired you in the first place.1 Then concentrate on your weak areas. What is holding you back at work? For example, if you have poor public speaking skills, take a class.

Make climbing the ladder a top priority

Wanting a higher position at work is not enough to get it. Very few people stumble their way into great opportunities in life. Most individuals who have achieved success have worked very hard to get there. Is there a specific position that you want at work? Do you have a salary figure that you’re working toward? Regardless of the goal, it needs to be your number one work priority now. Take a look at your weekly schedule and figure out how you can make changes to devote more time to this pursuit.2

Steer clear of office politics

Avoid office politics and petty gossip at all costs so that you can maintain focus on growth, opportunity, and innovation. Far too many people believe that staying involved in politics and gossip keeps them in the know. It is important to be aware of these issues, including unspoken rules,3 and the people who spur them, even going so far as to form necessary alliances. However, you don’t want to get involved and risk being associated with some sort of negative image or dynamic that can stagnate your career.4

Present yourself for the job that you want

One of the oldest job tips in the world is to dress for the job that you want, not the job that you have. If you’re an hourly worker who wears jeans and old t-shirts to the office and clocks out at 4:57 each day, bosses aren’t going to believe that you have a strong commitment to your current position, let alone have any desire to move up within the company. Presenting yourself professionally goes beyond dress. You should also be professional in your written and verbal communications and in your actions. Taking a few extra minutes to re-read an email and correct grammatical mistakes or to stay late and finish up an important deadline goes a long way.5

Network with decision makers

Identify ways to add value to leaders within your organization and seek out opportunities to connect for breakfast or lunch to discuss.   Listen to the organizational leaders to understand priorities and initiatives so you are well versed on what’s important to THEM while you have face time. Demonstrate your commitment to the organization to leaders every chance you get.   When the ideal job is presented; before you apply, set up 20-30 minutes with them to receive their input on your candidacy. At the end of the day, it’s not what is said to you that will get you the job, it’s what is said about you when you leave the room.

If you’re struggling with any of the previously mentioned concepts, consider talking to a kp companies, Executive Recruiter, job coach or other professional consultant. The time and/or money that you may spend on these sessions will be well worth it when you secure that next promotion.

1http://www.careerpath360.com/index.php/the-importance-of-confidence-in-the-workplace-3-7637/

2http://garfinkleexecutivecoaching.com/articles/advance-your-career/4-ways-to-get-ahead-in-your-company

3http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/careers/sns-jobs-steps-promotion-story.html

4http://www.forbes.com/sites/glennllopis/2013/10/14/6-ways-to-immediately-get-noticed-at-work-without-self-promotion/

5http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/careers/sns-jobs-steps-promotion-story.html

A Step by Step Guide to Executive Career Planning

In the Broadway musical, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, a bright young man named Finch manages to work his way from a lowly mailroom clerk to a junior executive after only one day on the job. Within a few weeks, he ascends the ranks further still, becoming a Vice President, and eventually Chairman of the Board.

Of course, things don’t really work that way, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of executives with dreams of making a similar climb. And it certainly is possible to work your way up the corporate ladder, and even reach the very top. The only difference is, in the real world, it takes more time, effort, and planning. Here’s a step by step guide to executive career planning.

Outline Your Goals

Where do you want to be, jobwise, a year from now? How about five years, or ten years from now? Where do you ultimately want to end up, and what do you want to be doing? Map out your career goals, from the very big, down to the very small. You’ll never get anywhere if you don’t know where you’re going.

Create a Strategy

Now that you have an outline of your goals… What’s it going to take to achieve them? What will you have to do? What obstacles are in your way? Again, look at both the ultimate, big picture goals, and the smaller, more immediate ones. Use this information to create a timeline of exactly what you should be doing and when, in order to help you towards your goals. Note that this could mean moving up the corporate ladder within your company, or moving to another company that better fits with your goals.

Evaluate Yourself

What are your strengths that will help you along in your career? Skills, experience, natural aptitudes, or anything else that could be helpful. Now, what weaknesses might hold you back? Bad habits, personality clashes, knowledge gaps, etc. Now, set about honing your strengths and overcoming your weaknesses. Is there a particular set of skills that you need in order to reach the level you’re aiming for? How can you get it? Do you always react in a particular, negative way when faced with certain circumstances? Be aware of it and try to eliminate that behavior. Turn yourself into the type of person that the position requires.

Develop Your Personal Brand

You won’t get anywhere in your career if no one knows who you are. You are a brand, and your goal is to get someone else to invest in it. Make sure you have a perfect and polished executive resume, as well as stellar references. But your brand isn’t just limited to job hunting. Whether you’re in an interview or merely going through your daily work routine, how you present yourself to those around you is key. If your company offers any sort of paid additional education or training, take it. Taking the initiative is a great way to make yourself stand out from the others. Of course, don’t oversell yourself. Don’t deliberately go out of your way to show off how great you are when you know that the higher ups are looking. Instead, present yourself in the best possible light at all times and establish your brand as one that others will be interested in.

You never know when or where you may meet someone who can help

you along on your journey. Make connections wherever you go. Within your own company, see about getting someone to mentor you. Not only will you gain valuable knowledge from their experience, they’ll also have an active interest in you, and may recommend you for a promotion or other advancement. Likewise, when you meet people at conferences, trade shows, and other events in your field, they may be able to help you move your career forward in all sorts of ways. Connect with them and touch base regularly, just to stay on their radar.

Be Flexible

Things rarely, if ever, go exactly the way you want them to. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Be on the lookout for opportunities that don’t necessarily fit in with the plan you’ve mapped out, but could still represent an important step up for your career. By being willing to follow an unexpected opportunity, you could end up somewhere better than where you originally planned.

Advancing your career at the executive level takes a lot of time, hard work, and commitment. But in the end, anything is possible. With drive, initiative, and careful career planning, you can reach your goals and get everything you’ve ever wanted.

How to Reach Your Potential at Work

Do you ever feel like you’re wasting your talents? Particularly at work—you know your job and you know the company backwards and forwards. You feel like you should be able to rise higher or earn more, but something’s holding you back. How can you reach your full potential at work, in order to achieve your career goals? Here are a few tips.

List Your Strengths

The Greeks said, “Know thyself.” Harvard Business Review says it, too. They recommend beginning by taking stock of your current skills in your job and the things you do well. Just list the two or three biggest or most important ones on a piece of paper. What is it that makes you good at these things? What can you accomplish with these skills, both now and in the future?

List Your Weaknesses

Write down your two or three biggest weaknesses. What do you struggle with? What do you need to work on? This one is a little tougher. It can be difficult to admit there are things you can’t do, or problems in your job performance. It might help to talk to your coworkers and superiors about it. Once you’ve got your list, figure out how to improve your performance by fixing these issues. It might require coaching from a professional. Whatever it takes, do what you can to conquer your weaknesses and improve your work overall.

Identify Your Goals

What is it, exactly, that you’re trying to accomplish? Do you want a promotion? More money? A better job at another company? A position that offers better hours, or an opportunity to travel? Write down where you want to end up, and what you want to be doing. Include both long term and short term goals: what you want to be doing in five or ten years, but also next week and next month. Then break down exactly what it’s going to take to accomplish those goals, and turn those steps into new goals.

Create a Timeline

One of the biggest obstacles to reaching your potential is thinking in too broad of terms. You want to be Executive VP—great! But there’s a difference between having an idea of where you want to go and actually working towards getting there. Now that you’ve got your list of goals, motivate yourself by creating a timeline of how (and when) you’re going to achieve them. Then, once you have your basic timeline in place, of goals for the next five or ten years, get more specific. Create a timeline for the next month, and then one for the next week. Every day, at any given moment, you should be able to identify what it is that you’re doing right now to achieve your goals and reach your potential.

Get a Mentor

Nobody ever achieved anything all on their own. Talk to the people above you. Let them know what it is you want within your company and ask what you need to do for them to give it to you. In particular, find someone whom you respect and ask them to help you on a more personal and individual basis. Get them to mentor you and help you improve. Not only will this make you a better worker, but it will give you an ally in the company who will be more likely to consider and recommend you when it comes time to discuss promotions, raises, etc.

Reaching your full potential in the workplace is an ongoing process. Once you’ve achieved your goals, there will be new goals you can work towards, in terms of both achievements and performance. Never stop striving for excellence. That’s the best way to succeed.