Career advancement tips are a dime a dozen.
Write down your goals and review that list often. Check. Update your LinkedIn profile with your latest achievements. Check. List your core competencies and your career objective on your resumé. Check. Update your wardrobe and be well-groomed at all times. Several hundred dollars later – check.
What about the key actions you don’t always hear about – the invaluable secrets of success that the pros are privy to?
Here are some of the best ways to move up in 2015:
1: Learn a completely new skill. Take risks. Challenge yourself. Go outside your comfort zone.
Learn web design, for example. Study a language. Become a public speaker. You’ll be fresher and more interesting to employers as you expand your skills and range of knowledge. Even the most experienced people can get stale if they're not careful.
“The complaint I often hear about people’s careers isn’t that they’re underpaid, overworked or unappreciated – but that they’re bored,” said Jill Jacinto of WORKS, a career consultancy run by CEO Nicole Williams. “If you’ve been phoning it in for years, find ways to make your job more challenging, not less.”
While this doesn’t guarantee a promotion or more pay, it can lay the foundation for that in the near future. “When the time comes to sit down with your boss for a performance review, you’ll be much more prepared to get a ‘yes.’”
Do advertise your newfound skills on social media, by the way. “You never know when your next career opportunity will arise,” added Jacinto. “You can bet it won’t come from being stagnant at the office.”
2: Commit to one-on-one networking. Too often we think of networking as something that occurs only in groups.
“We think of a vast ballroom of strangers, how we need to meet people, exchange business cards and make small talk – and then we never see them or speak to them again,” said Michele Woodward, an executive coach in the Washington, D.C., area. “Truly impactful networking is different. It’s about interacting with one individual, creating a deeper relationship and being of service. It’s quality over quantity and the proven way to generate opportunities.”
The interaction may begin through a friend, colleague, neighbor or acquaintance. However or wherever it occurs, be sure to nurture that contact if you see work opportunities. Find out what that person’s latest projects are. What his goals are. What she’s building. If you have skills or ideas that might help, the time you spend engaging on a deeper level may prove promising.
3: Become more visible externally. It’s always smart to do this within your current organization, but it’s even smarter to commit to stepping outside of your current four walls. Seeking and achieving a leadership role externally isn’t as hard as it may seem: The muscle gets stronger as you use it.
“Take the initiative to become more active in industry-related professional organizations,” said Julianne Franke, a certified career coach in the Atlanta area. “Get yourself a speaking engagement at a conference. Participate in relevant career groups. Then write about it or reach out to the media to get publicity.”
There are multiple opportunities to stretch yourself professionally if you look for them, including at local colleges, clubs and industry organizations. And generally, one move tends to lead to another – and you never know who you will meet.
“When recruiters are looking for people to fill jobs, they look for individuals who are visible and who are thought leaders within their industries,” Franke added.
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