Classroom to Career-Part 6

I am back. Nanowrimo (that is, National Novel Writing Month, where writers strive to write a 50000 word novel in November) and Nanowrimo prep has taken up quite a bit of my time in the past few weeks. But, I know you’ve  gotten more comfortable in your new role and you might be wondering, what’s next?

Climbing the Ladder

Image by nattavut,

Image by nattavut,

How do you get to the next level anyway? Consult your research. Some companies, like mine, have very specific criteria for moving ahead but, oftentimes, the path isn’t always clear. In that case, performance is your best bet. Know your job inside and out and go above and beyond what is expected. If there are others in the same role, be the one to stand out.

Several years ago I had heard one of my hires was a little disappointed with her manager. Although she hadn’t said anything to me we were both at a luncheon and I could tell she was down. I gave everyone at the table the same advice, but I was talking to her and she knew it. “Remember, we are a promote from within company,” I said, looking around the table, my eyes lingering on hers for a few minutes. “Some of you might be working with people who you feel could do better.” I leaned in closer. “Out-perform them.” Her eyes sparked and she sat up straighter in her chair. Within months she was promoted to upper management

It has been said, If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Be honest with yourself about areas in which you could improve. Write out the career path you’d like and the action steps you’ll need to take to get there and don’t forget to consider the obstacles that might hinder you.

Overcome Obstacles

You’ve heard the phrase, If it was easy everyone would do it. So what are some of the challenges you face?

Are you shy? Join Toastmasters to improve your presentation skills. Since you’ll be presenting in front of an audience you will automatically face your fear. But this isn’t the only route to overcoming shyness. As a Manager I had to deal with customers and accounts on a daily basis. And, although my knees were often quaking, I just forced myself to do it. Little by little I grew more confident over time. In fact, now I love getting in front of an audience. And people don’t believe me when I tell them that at one time it was a struggle for me.

Have you fallen short in your job? That was my obstacle my first year as a recruiter. It was, in a word, abysmal. I went back to my mentor, made a marketing plan for the year, focusing on my weakest areas and within two years I won back-to-back awards for my efforts! Own up to your mistakes and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Is your image holding you back? Make sure you look and act the part (see part 2). If that isn’t your area of expertise ask someone who already looks the part for advice.

Maybe there aren’t any opportunities. Keep working hard. Remember, you’ve only been there a short time. A year or more is not an unreasonable time frame for promotion. In the meantime,you might receive some “in-kind” promotions: bonuses, extra time off or the opportunity to manage a project.

Do something great, then make sure people know about it. About a year into recruiting I realized we were spending an exorbitant amount of money using agencies to help us hire. I buckled down that year, utilized our other sources and reduced that number completely. That was great then, but what about recently? Well, last fiscal year I exceeded my forecasted hires and now I am setting new goals for this year.

Remember to walk before you run, work hard and make wise decisions. Keep these tips in mind as you become acclimated to your new role and it will pay off in the long run.

Make it a great year!