Maybe you like your job, but you still feel like something is missing. You want a new challenge, or you wonder what you need to do to advance your career.
Those concerns are natural, and they’re pointing you in a positive direction. However much you excel at your job, the truth is you’ll probably need to do something more if you want a promotion or a significant raise. It is up to all of us to manage our own career path.
That’s where expanding your role at work comes in. Here are steps to create your career plan, and how to implement it.
Steps to Take Yourself:
1. Schedule the time. If you’re already working overtime to take care of your current duties, carve out time on your calendar to develop your career plan. Make yourself a priority. Perhaps you can do it on your commute, or carve out a half-hour twice a week, find the time, and put it on your calendar. We all are better at accomplishing things when they are on our calendar with that reminder.
2. List your top 5 strengths. Understand what you’re good at, and what you like to do. Then, see how you can use those strengths in expanding your role. Ask others for their input.
3. Strategize. Managing your career path isn’t just when you are looking for a new job. See where you want to be in five years, and break that down into smaller steps to give you mile stones to hit, and keep yourself on track to reaching that goal.
4. Continue learning. Adding to your knowledge and skills makes you a more valuable employee. Sign up for training courses at work, or online, and read the major publications for your industry.
5. Take on a project. If your options at work seem limited, think outside the box. You might be able to add to your qualifications by freelancing, creating a personal project or volunteering in your community. Develop your potential while you support a worthy cause. Reach out to a charity you care about, and offer to provide IT support or copywriting or whatever matches your strengths. Stretch yourself!
6. Stay positive. While professional success requires hard work, reminding yourself why you are doing this, and seeing yourself there, will help you stay positive and focused on those days when you aren’t feeling it.
7. Accountability. Find a colleague or friend that you trust, and have them help you stay accountable and on track to reaching your goal.
Steps to Take with Your Manager and Coworkers:
1. Consult your manager. Ask them for a meeting to discuss your future, and possible next steps. If you already have ideas of what you would like to do, write up a proposal, and share with your manager before the meeting. Show your appreciation if they’re willing to mentor/coach you, and advocate for you. If not, seek out someone else that would be willing to mentor/coach you.
2. Focus on impact. Let your colleagues know how they’ll benefit from your ideas. Maybe you can help your manager gain a new client or take over a task that a coworker wants to hand off. Again, think outside of the box.
3. Start small. Pulling off a minor victory may give your manager more confidence in your abilities. Which leads to getting larger tasks/projects that demonstrate your value to your manager.
4. Maintain your performance. Hit your milestones for your current role first, and then do the additional tasks/projects. This goes a long way with demonstrating to your manager that you are up for more responsibilities.
Whatever your job description says, there are ways to take on more responsibility at work or find opportunities in other areas that will strengthen your professional brand. When you’re willing to stretch yourself, move out of your comfort zone, even when it doesn’t feel good, and might not work right away, you take control of your career path, and find work that gets you excited about Mondays again!
Please reach out if you would like help mapping out your career path, happy to help!