If you want a successful career, or if you want to advance your career, you have to make it happen yourself. You can wait for years and pray that management recognizes your hard work, or you can do something about it to make sure that they do right now.
Establish goals that you truly want to achieve
When you work on a goal that you’re not too crazy about or not too confident in, or worse, one that you don’t really believe in, you’re setting yourself up for failure. This can harm rather than help you advance your career. Make sure that you spearhead projects that you have mastery or expertise on so that you can lead with confidence, determination, and inspiration.
You have to know the things that you’re doing well so that you can keep doing it until you get better and better. You also need to know the things that you’re not good at, so you can change and improve. This feedback, both positive and negative, is important if you want to get ahead in your career. Listen and take note when you get them from your bosses, mentors, or colleagues.
Build your social and professional network
It’s not just about your LinkedIn contacts or Twitter and Instagram followers or Facebook friends. It’s more about people you have worked with in the past or people you would want to work with in the future. Maintain a strong online presence and engage with your network on a regular basis to be in the loop. While you’re at it, keep your online resume or portfolio updated. Make sure that what you post is true to the brand or image that you’re building, so no wild and racy photos, please.
Never stop learning
To get ahead in your career, you should know a lot of things and be able to do a lot of things. More often than not, a university degree just won’t be enough. Sign up for certification programs when your schedule permits it. You can also take up an advanced degree. Enroll in seminars and workshops. You can even take up online courses or watch online video tutorials. Download educational materials from the internet. Purchase books, audiobooks, and DVDs that will help you polish or learn new skills. There’s still much to learn, so make sure that you learn something new every day.
Ask for more responsibility
Not a lot of people are willing to ask for more work. If you ask for more responsibility, it shows that you are more eager and enthusiastic to do and learn more. Make sure that you only ask for a workload that you can handle and that won’t affect your current workload. Don’t do it to show off or to suck up to the bosses. Do it for yourself and for your career.
Speak your mind
Let yourself be heard during meetings. Share your ideas during brainstorming sessions. Give constructive feedback. Ask meaningful questions. Show that you’re interested and very much willing to learn. Being inquisitive or curious certainly demonstrates that.
Establish your own executive presence
Most importantly, work like you’re already successful. Speak and communicate with authority and confidence. Dress the part of the consummate professional so that people will respect you and take you seriously. Practice what you preach, and lead with passion and professionalism.