How to Progress in Your Career
In the previous blogs, we have been looking at all the best practices to land your dream job. Let’s further into another main aspect of your career, which is, to make Progress.
Securing your dream job isn’t an end in itself. This is the beginning of another phase in your career. Think about it. As much as you might love doing this job, as much as you might have hoped, prayed, and prepared for it to be a success, can you see yourself doing the same thing for the next 10 years? I am fairly certain, the answer is a No.
It is a natural human behavior to expect something better each day but, when there is no change, progress, or growth in your career for a prolonged period of time, staying happy at your job would become a challenge.
And when there is great progress in your career, it would become one of the main motivators for you to perform at your best both at work and in your personal life.
So what would you consider as progress? The obvious and the biggest sign is moving up in the company hierarchy.
In addition to this, you could also target getting a pay hike or gain the opportunity to showcase your abilities by taking on additional responsibilities or getting into a challenging role etc.
The aspect of a timely promotion or a pay hike is also of utmost importance. You should be amongst the people of your tenure to get considered for pay hikes and promotions. You wouldn’t like if you achieve a lower pay hike than everyone else in your team or you get leapfrogged for promotions, would you?
Many people find it hard to make the right amount of progress at the right time in their careers. This is one of the major causes of stress in people’s lives, probably the biggest cause of disappointments, and something that throws a promising career into uncertainty.
Here are some of my tips to help you progress in your career.
Have a Long Term Goal
You might have to deal with issues on a day to day basis, however, that should never make you take your focus away from your long term goal.
Make a long-term plan for a career.
Think where you would want to be in the next ten years.
What would you want to achieve in the next 5 years in your career?
Are you happy with the field that you are in or does your interest lie in another domain?
Spend time, assess, and set yourself a Long term Goal.
Create Action Steps
Once you have clarity on your long term goals, it is necessary that you create a plan to get there.
Create a road map with the help of short term action steps and chart out how you can attain your goals.
Create a set of do’s and don’ts. If you want to go to the next level, make a list of what you need to do to get there.
Make a list of the steps that you need to take to achieve your goals. Figure out if you need to acquire a new skill or if you need some new certifications.
You can alter these goals with time. To make it more effective, make these goals measurable and time- bound.
Don’t Be Afraid To Dream Big
You would never really know what you are capable of. Never underestimate yourself.
It is quite easy to start feeling inferior around people who like to talk themselves up.
You would see a lot of people attracting a lot of attention towards themselves. They would behave as though there is nothing that they don’t know and there is nothing they cannot do, only to hopelessly fall short when it comes to walking the talk.
Never let those self-proclaimed superior characters affect you negatively. Don’t let them make you feel inferior.
Stick to your plan and you might just end up surprising a lot of people, may be even yourself. Have faith in your abilities.
It doesn’t matter what level you have reached in your career, there is always something new to learn.
If you have to make progress in your career, you need to know how to handle things as you move up the hierarchy. This might mean, you might need more technical knowledge or you might have to learn to look at things from a different perspective.
Observe the people around you at work. One of the smartest things to do is to learn by looking at how people work. You can learn how to do things or you can even learn how not to do things.
Upskill at the right time, acquire the skills or the certifications required to be effective in your job.
Don’t Be afraid to ask for Help
Not everyone knows everything, so go easy on yourself. There is nothing to be ashamed or afraid of when you reach out for help.
It shows that you are interested in learning and you are open to feedback.
In most cases, unless you ask, not too many people will offer suggestions.
A word of caution though, don’t overdo it and be careful of the people you reach out to. Get to know the people before you reach out for help. Some people might be great at their work, but they might not be the best at explaining themselves. Also, some people might use this to their advantage, to portray you as someone who isn’t very knowledgeable.
It is all about showing interest, going the extra mile and there is no better way to do that than taking up initiatives at work.
Sharing fresh ideas, plugging gaps, mentoring new hires can go a long way in raising your stock value at your workplace.
Going beyond what you are normally expected will get you noticed at your workplace.
Spend time and get to understand the pressure points in your team. Discuss the single most pressing issue that your team faces, with your boss and find ways to add value and to contribute to your team.
Ask For Feedback
It is a great way to know where you are headed. You could hold periodic meetings with your boss to get his/her assessment of your work. You could learn what you are doing well and where you could get better.
Do not take the feedback personally, but treat it as a learning opportunity. If you think you have been misunderstood, you can always clarify, but don’t get into a defensive shell.
You could also get someone to mentor you. Having someone whom you can reach out to in times of need. This would be a great way to help you develop your abilities.
Maintain A Good Relationship With Your Peers
In addition to the other challenges at the workplace, the last thing any manager would want to deal with is the task of resolving conflicts within a team. Being able to work with your colleagues without causing any conflict is an advantage which could turn things in your favor when it is time for a promotion.
You don’t have to be great friends with everyone on your team. As long as you can get your work done and cooperate when you are called upon, it should be good enough.
Don’t Ever Get Into Your Boss’s Bad Books
If you have to make the right kind of progress in your career, learn to be in the good books of your boss.
A bad work relationship with your boss not only would close most doors of hikes and promotions, but some unprofessional bosses can make your life miserable, if you go out of favor.
Build trust and be polite at all times. You don’t need to become submissive, but show the required courtesy and respect that you would expect if you were in your boss’s place.
Discuss expectations, so there is no ambiguity at work.
Talk to a Professional when-
You might be trying your best, but the people around you could be the problem or, sometimes, there might be so many things on your plate that you might not know where to start and how to tackle things.
You find yourself running into the same set of problems over and over and the “solutions” suggested to you don’t seem to help.
You keep getting overlooked for your promotion or you don’t seem to manage to earn the pay hike you deserve.
Get in touch with a professional career Coach. You could learn a wide range of skills and techniques to survive and thrive in even the most difficult environments. You could learn to deal with the most difficult set of people and achieve the goals you have set out in your career.
Getting into your dream job is the beginning, you need to make a long term plan of what you want to achieve in your career.
Once you have made your plan, create specific, time-bound actionable steps of how you would achieve your goals.
Always be open to new learning. You could learn a new thing every day from those around you.
Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. It shows that you are willing to put in the effort to get better.
Take initiatives. Whether it is mentoring a new hire or finding solutions to a nagging issue, go that extra mile.
Maintain a good relationship with your peers and your boss. Don’t ever get into the bad books of your boss, build trust, and get periodic feedback so that both of you are on the same page.
If you are struggling to make inroads, if you see yourself being stuck in the same place in your career while your peers have moved ahead, get in touch with me.