If you haven’t experienced it already, you will soon find out that promotions, raises, and career-accelerating assignments often go to the most visible people and not necessarily to those who are most “deserving” of opportunities for professional growth and advancement. It’s not about luck or talent; it’s about strategy and ongoing effort! Use these tactics (alone or in any combination) to improve your odds of being one of the chosen.
1. Build Your Success Brand
Everything you do on and off the job should be directed toward building your unique identity. Make sure it accurately depicts you as someone who can deliver, regardless of what job you do. There is a degree more valuable than an MBA. It’s called the GSD (gets stuff done). If you don’t have it yet, make it your number one priority to get it as soon as possible!
2. Acquire Expert Status
Specialists always earn more than generalists. Position yourself as an expert in a critical area. Drill yourself a niche an inch wide and a mile deep. Attend conferences even if you have to pay your own way. Get published. It’s much easier than you think with no cost internet-based article marketing options available to you. Later you can add speaking about your specialty and gain more recognition and visibility even if all you do to get started is offer to give presentations about your department to others in the company.
3. Develop a Reputation for Innovation
Any improvement you come up with that makes your work or the work of others easier can help you make a name for yourself as someone who is an asset to productivity through innovation. Don’t miss any opportunities for sharing your gems with others; however, don’t take it personally if no one immediately adopts your approach. Just the fact that you have improved methods in general and others know it benefits you. If they don’t “sell” in-house, you can still write and speak about them in other places. Either way, you’ve increased your visibility and that is key to your professional development strategy.
4. Deliver Presentations with Style and Confidence
You can get all the practice you need in private when you join Toastmasters. Nothing says you’re a person to watch more than mastering the skill of speaking in public so you can deliver better presentations. It’s worth every minute you spend honing your skill and developing vocal power. And anyone can do it with a little practice and a supportive audience.
5. Don’t Miss Chances to Step Outside Your Comfort Zone to Create Opportunities
You can get ahead by doing what’s expected on the job better than anyone else but you’ll get ahead faster by creating your own opportunities. Every company has overlooked and overworked areas, problematic key relationships (with customers and/or suppliers, competitors, or even their own employees) as well as emerging or stagnant markets. You’ll score points for creating well constructed proposals with ideas for addressing these creatively and practically whether or not your ideas are adopted by the powers that be.
The bottom line? It’s never too late to make it a “brand you” day.