Regardless of where you are in your career, you must take complete ownership of it. It’s imperative to calculate each move yet stay open to unexpected growth opportunities. You need to take responsibility for your successes and failures and see yourself as an expert who is available to offer your services to a company for a price. Loyalty is first to yourself to ensure you develop to your full potential and then to the company you bring your talents and expertise to.
For some people, this mindset might be difficult, especially if you are in a steady, comfortable job. However, your inability to proactively own your career could end up costing you in lost opportunities and higher earning power. To begin this process of owning your career, here are 10 simple steps you can take in the next 30 days.
- Commit at least 1 hour per month to actively evaluate your career progress. What are you doing well? List your major wins and focus on at least one area to develop.
- Review your résumé and update every 6-12 months. Update your volunteer roles and ensure your current tasks are presented in a way that demonstrates the value you bring to the company
- Develop a 3-5-year plan and find an accountability partner. Many plans are often made but we never revisit them. Find a colleague(s) who will hold you accountable as you work that plan.
- Identify key advocates, mentors, colleagues, and mentees. Sit with mentors and advocates and share goals from your career plan. Being the “best kept secret” serves no one.
- Have a candid conversation with your manager about possible opportunities for growth.Your career goals should not be a secret. Share them so your manager knows how to work with you. Even if your organization seems flat and there seems to be no room for advancement, there is almost always room to gain new skills.
- Schedule an informational interview with someone outside the company within the next 30 days so you can get to know that individual and the work they do.
- Look for opportunities where you can volunteer for new projects. This will help to make you more visible in the organization.
- Identify a skill set you would like to strengthen and seek out opportunities to do so within the next 30 days.
- Evaluate the people in your network. Who do you need to reach out to so you have a variety of people at different levels who can help you grow?
- Be clear about your brand, the expertise you offer, and the industries that need what you have.
Karen Hinds is a leadership and diversity and inclusion expert. She used her experience in building talent pipelines for financial services companies to launch her company over 20 years ago. Workplace Success Group is a strategic, talent development firm that works with organizations to cultivate and retain their next generation of leaders.