Updated: May 1, 2018
Well if you are a "scrapper"- someone who overcame adversity like myself versus "silver spooner" - someone who has faced little hardship, you'll be happy to know these few "success hacks" won't require you to carry a four leaf clover in your pocket. In addition to persistence, career management is a continuous process that requires STRATEGY + HARD WORK throughout your career. You may have a friend or know of a coworker who seems to navigate their career with ease. They may possess this likable "it" factor or they may know these same rules of engagement I'm about to share with you. The bottom line is...your career is YOUR responsibility, take ownership before your career starts managing you. I can’t teach you hard work but here are a few strategies for managing your career that often don't make the list of top water cooler conversations:
1. Grow your network – Build relationships and get connected. Throughout your career you will need a community of people that can vouch and endorse your quality of work and job performance. Connect with those in similar roles that you would like to pursue in the future or at companies you would want to work for. Introduce yourself to key players that are in your organization or join networking groups, you never know the person you meet could be a game changer to your career. Remember it's called net-WORK-ing for a reason, it takes genuine effort to put yourself out there. I have mentors and executive sponsors that got me the opportunity to be in front of hiring managers for several of my previous roles. Expanding your network increases your career opportunities.
2. Have self-awareness – It is very important to know what your strengths are and where there is room for improvement. Invest in your personal development by reading books like "Now, Discover Your Strengths" by Marcus Buckingham & Donald Clifton. Another good approach to identifying areas to grow is by asking for feedback. You want sources that will be real with you and that will tell you what they think you DON’T want to hear versus what you want to hear. You should always know what is said about you behind closed doors. I always own my strengths and, even more so, my areas of opportunities to grow with an action plan on how to close the gap.
3. Be You (Authenticity) – If you are not being true to yourself then you will end up shooting yourself in the foot later. Trust me, early in my career I felt like I had to “fit in” to get ahead, but instead it made me lose sight of who I was. I found myself trying to keep up with the Jones' and that was a full-time job in itself. I soon realized if being myself made others uncomfortable, that was okay, I let my work speak for itself. Be YOU, don’t forget where you came from, stick to your values, let your voice be heard, and OWN it!
It is very simple take time to build meaningful relationships, focus on your personal growth, and be comfortable with who you are. If you intentionally do these 3 things, you are on your way to managing your career to success!