In my last article, I shared the story of one of my clients, Susan who like many mums get caught up in the treadmill of work, family and life and don’t take time out to actively manage and make plans for progressing their careers.
3 fundamental questions were asked to help Susan get started:
- What does the bigger picture look like and where am I currently in it?
- What am I really doing here?
- How am I able to progress within my organisation?
In this post, I share 5 tips that Susan is taking to manage her career and how you can utilise them as well.
5 tips to manage your career
1. Be seen to be strategic
Demonstrate that you know and understand what the key priorities and challenges of your organisation are. Know who your key stakeholders are and seek out opportunities that will help you to engage with or be known to them.
Identify how your role fits into the bigger picture and the contribution that you are making and communicate this when opportunities arise. Keep up to date with trends and publications in your industry and use them to influence your work.
Continue to learn and make use of in-house training and development opportunities. Seek out a mentor, sponsor, or champion to help you advance your career, give you an independent perspective, objective feedback and provide a sounding board for your current challenges.
2. Be known
– Build your profile
Build your profile within your organisation by getting known amongst the senior, executive and board level staff. Speak up at meetings and do not be afraid to put forward your perspective and in challenging those senior to you in an emotionally intelligent way. The more you do this, the better you will become at it. If this is an area that you are lacking in confidence, work on your communication and presentation skills or seek the help of a coach.
– Promote yourself
Self promotion is vital for your career growth. Women are not usually good about talking about their successes and achievements. You may have many accomplishments and think that your work speaks for itself and as a result others will notice. Don’t leave it to chance, take control and begin to actively manage and communicate your achievements.
Seek out ways to let people know what you are doing. You don’t need to brag, keep your comments brief, modest and tell the facts. Weave them into conversations when appropriate, for examples in meetings, updates, success stories in company bulletins, newsletter, intranet….
3. Become an effective Networker
Identify influential people and those who can help support your career. They might have qualities and behaviours that you admire, a specific skill that you would like to develop, or have influence within the organisation.
Make of list of 12 of these people and do some research on them – what are their roles, achievements, areas of expertise….? Knowing something about them before hand enables you to make a connection and have something to talk about when you meet them.
Find out how you can get access to them. For example, do they eat in the cafeteria, which events, functions, meetings etc….might they be present at? And when the opportunity presents seize it!
Networking outside of your organisation can provide role models that may be missing in your own organisation. It will also give you insights into different organisations and a foot in the door for future job prospects.
Seek out people with influence who may be able to connect you with others or be able to provide formal or informal mentoring.
LinkedIn is a site for professionals and can help you to build your online visibility and brand. Here you can nurture your existing network by sharing information about your profession and sector and expand it by connecting and building relationships with peers in other companies and industries.
You can also join groups related to your sector; keep up to date with trends and thought leadership – all of which will help to support your career growth
4. Be bold
Ask for help if you need it and be willing to share your own knowledge and skills, for example by mentoring a junior member of staff. Raise your head above the parapet and ask for what you want.
Let it be known that you are interested in leadership roles and talk about your ambitions when relevant and appropriate. Look for opportunities that will take you out of your comfort zone such as stretching assignments, projects, tasks…This will provide you with different experiences, exposure and increase your resilience.
Seize them when they present themselves and refrain from falling into the trap of trying to rationalise and make assumptions about what they might entail and subsequently talking yourself out of it.
5. Be your best self and develop your leadership brand
Do how others see you match the way that you see yourself? Is there a gap? Do people see the ‘real’ you?
Think about how you can manage perceptions so that it is authentic to you. Undertake a 360 appraisal and get feedback and use areas for development and successes as food for continual learning and development.
Work on developing this ‘authentic you’ so that you lead, communicate and build relationships in way that is unique to you. Build on this personal brand so that you are constantly developing the ‘best you’ and making your mark .
Cheering you on, Vera
What tips would you add? How are you managing your career?
Busy hardworking mum? Join me on my BE BOLD programme to take time out and be strategic in your vision for your career, business and life and make 2013 your best year yet
I work with women who are advancing their careers and businesses, women who have left employment to build profitable businesses AND develop teams and people within organisations through coaching, mentoring and leadership development programmes. Connect with me on Twitter @verawoodhead and on LinkedIn