by: Ed Sykes
Economic times constantly change and organizations adapt to these changes. For you to find career success, you must be pro-active about your job. What are the career secrets of those who soar to the top in their careers no matter what the economic environment is in the world?
The following are ten career secrets you can use to “recession proof” yourself and find career success no matter what the economic situation is:
1. Find Out What Your Organization Needs for Career Success
Invest the time to investigate and understand your organization’s mission, goals, and values. Your organization may be facing challenges and the person who can tune into what the organization needs to be successful and provide the solution can write his/her own career success ticket.
Remember, to get what you want in your career, you must help your organization, your department, your manager succeed. Focus on what is important to your manager and provide the solution. If customer service is important, speak with your manager in terms of creating customer solutions. If your manager is a numbers person, quantify all your results, etc.
2. Be a Change Agent for Career Success
Organizational change will change the way you do your job. There is no escaping the changes that are happening around us all the time. Learn to embrace these changes so that you can learn how to take advantage of the career opportunities available from being a change agent.
How do you do this? Be pro-active and ask questions about the change. How does it affect the organization? What challenges will there be implementing the changes? How will these changes affect the way you do your job? And the most important question, “What can you do to help implement the changes?”
Once you receive the answers to these questions, and are able to act on the answers, you are way ahead of the “change curve” and will be looked at as someone who can “make things happen” within the organization. This will lead to countless career opportunities
3. Be the Master of Your Job for Career Success
Invest the time to learn as much as there is to know about your job. Many times, employees will become complacent and master only the few tasks that they do 80% of the time. Then when a career opportunity comes up, this employee doesn’t have the skill set to take advantage of a promotion or raise.
Take the time to read trade journals, go on the Internet to job related sites, and ask questions to master the understanding of your job. With the wealth of information there is in the 21st century, there is no excuse for “not knowing.”
4. Volunteer to Make a Difference for Career Success
Volunteer for assignments that expose your skills. Look for especially challenging projects that other people have declined.
Also volunteer to mentor others within your organization. This will show and develop your leadership, management, and interpersonal skills. Keep management posted on your challenges and how you are working with the person you are mentoring to overcome these challenges.
Volunteer to write a department or organizational newsletter. This is another way to benefit a large group, while showcasing your skills and ideas.
5. Be a Solution Creator and Not a Problem Maker for Career Success
Anybody can find problems within organizations. My experience is that you don’t need to find them…they will find you. Some people have a special skill for finding problems and reporting them.
Develop the skill of looking at these problems as “opportunities for advancement,” step back and analyze the opportunity, and develop ideas for overcoming the problem. Make sure you communicate these solutions during meetings, e-mails, memos, and conversations with management. You will soon be looked upon by management as someone who can overcome obstacles and make things happen within the organization.
6. Handle the Next Level at This Level for Career Success
If you are a manager and want to become a vice president, then start working like a vice president. Find a vice president that is open to mentoring you for the next level. Remember, that vice president will not be promoted to the next level unless the organization sees that the vice president has developed someone to take his/her spot. It might as well be you. Plus, you can lighten the vice president’s work load.
Explain to the vice president what you want to accomplish so that everyone has a clear understanding and that this is a win-win situation for all involved.
I hear, “I’m too busy already to do this.” Well, let me ask you, “How badly do you want the promotion?” We are all busy. It’s up to you to enhance your time management and delegation skills so that you can take on these tasks that will prepare you for the next job level.
Note: Dress as if you are already at the next career level. When you dress for the next level, this makes it easier for the decision makers because they can already envision you at the next career level.
7. Announce That You Want It!
Many times employees miss out on promotions because the decision makers and career influencers do not know they are interested in being promoted.
Announce that you want to go to the next career level!
Take time to sit down with your supervisor, manager, director, etc., and let them know you are interested in going to the next level. Ask them for their honest assessment of your skills. Then ask what you need to do to be ready when the next career opportunity appears.
Also announce your career aspirations to influencers in the Human Resources Department. Remember the more people they can hire from the inside, the less work they need to do. Make it easy for them to hire you.
Announce it to any one who can influence the decision for your promotion.
8. Network and Join Groups to Accelerate Career Success
Join and be active in committees within your organization for career success. This shows management that you care enough to make a difference. It also allows a larger assortment of managers to experience your skill set outside of your normal duties.
Also join professional groups and associations for career success. Professional groups and associations are a perfect way to let influencers outside your organization become aware of your skills. Remember, these influencers most likely work for other organizations and may be in positions to hire new employees. Don’t just join, participant in the association’s activities to show your creativity, teamwork, and other skills.
Join and let your organization know you’ve joined these groups. This will show your organization that you are an employee who is taking action to stay ahead of the “career success curve” and can contribute to the organization.
9. Tell Your Job Story for Career Success
Let as many people within your organization and outside your organization know what you do and how well you do it. Make sure you tell your job story at meetings, company conferences, and retreats and to customers. Make sure you tell them with passion!
Many people are shy about telling their career story in a group setting. Because of this fear, you may miss out on the one opportunity to let other people know what you know. One of the most important groups that you could ever join to overcome this fear is Toastmasters. This is a worldwide organization with over 175,000 members dedicated to helping members improve their public speaking, evaluation, think-on-your-feet, and leadership skills. The main reasons you should join Toastmasters are the following:
* Toastmasters can give you the confidence to approach any opportunity with confidence.
* Toastmasters can give you the speaking skills to stand up in front of a group and present your point in a persuasive manner, while others may shy away from this opportunity.
* You develop your leadership skills by learning how to do effective, positive, and encouraging feedback and evaluations, while learning how to empower the receiver to do better.
* You have the opportunity to develop your leadership skills by volunteering for positions at the club, area, state, regional, and international level. I always say if you can’t get the skills at your organization, you can get it at Toastmasters.
10. Build a Nest Egg for Career Success
One of the biggest barriers to creating career success is not building a financial nest egg. When you are at a financial disadvantage, you are less likely to pursue job opportunities, invest in educational opportunities to increase your skills; and, most importantly, you may develop an overwhelming fear of losing your job while in your present position.
Eliminate your debts so that you can freely pursue any career opportunities that present themselves. It’s no fun knowing that you wanted a certain job but couldn’t pursue it because of financial obligations.
I challenge you to apply these ten career techniques today! You will see immediate job results and go to the next career level no matter what the economic environment may be.