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Steer Your Career: Eight Strategies to Promotion

by Darlene Foster

People often wonder why they get passed over for promotions. What they fail to realize is that getting promoted doesn’t just happen; you have to work at it.  Here are a few tips to help propel your career within the organization.

  • Get involved in the big picture. It is important that you do your job well but also be genuinely interested in other aspects of the company. Find out what other staff members and departments are doing and how your job affects or is affected by them. Offer to help out in another department from time to time to learn more.
  • Ask questions. Be curious about the future of the company and see how you can fit in with that future. Let it be known that you actively participate in continuous learning. Take courses related to your job and your industry. Find out what training you will need to move ahead. Consult with more senior staff members about the best courses to take. Find a mentor inside or outside the company, someone who can guide you along and give you good advice.
  • Share ideas with co-workers and management. It doesn’t matter if your ideas are not always implemented; it shows you are innovative and willing to communicate ideas. How many times has a great idea been suggested, implemented and become very successful only to have you wish, “I thought of that! Why didn’t I mention it first?”
  • Take on special projects; demonstrate you can be a team leader. The right people will notice. Be a team player, get along with everyone, even those you may not agree with or even like. Team players get promoted.
  • Walk the talk, look the look. Many successful people dress the part long before they get the position. Be enthusiastic and demonstrate a positive attitude and inquisitive mind.
  • Use your cultural background to an advantage. You possess some unique knowledge that could be a huge advantage for the organization. Unless you demonstrate this, no one will know.
  • Similar to looking for work you need to network within the company and outside. Get to know the players in the industry, not just in your company. Join groups related to your industry or area of expertise.  Promote the company, organization or industry even though you may not be in marketing.
  • Make use of social networking. Set up a professional profile on LinkedIn, start your own blog, post on Twitter, etc. Chances are your boss checks out these sites and if you present yourself to the world as an expert in your field, you will be seen as an asset to the organization. It is also good to be seen as technically savvy and current in today’s rapidly changing world.

You are ultimately responsible for steering your career where you want it to go, and if you are looking for advancement in your current company, you have to be visible and prove you are a valuable employee.

“There are people who make things happen, there are people who watch things happen, and there are people who wonder what happened. To be successful, you need to be a person who makes things happen.”

 – James A. Lovell


Darlene Foster is a Job Search Keys Facilitator at Employment Essentials, MCC Employment & Community Development, in Vancouver.

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