Taking charge of your career is a proactive process. Most people want a mentor that we can learn from, to help us determine the career steps to take to be successful. We look for someone we admire that has perhaps taken a career path that we are interested. This individual is generally well spoken, clever and able to navigate through the politics and come out ahead. Unfortunately, many of us don’t have a mentor that helps us map everything out. We have to take charge and make things happen within our careers.
Proactively Take Charge of Your Career
When you go on an interview, you ask the hiring manager or human resources what they are doing in terms of career development. Do you promote from within? What is the career path I can expect if I exceed performance expectations? What opportunities are available for growth and development? Generally, you get an impressive answer that makes you excited about the company. When you start working there, your expectations may not be met and you could feel disappointed. My advice, don’t. Take charge of your career and make things happen.
You want to grow, don’t wait to be tapped on the shoulder. Seek out opportunities. Look to see if there are any high-profile projects and volunteer to be part of the team. Make things happen for yourself by becoming visible in these team projects. Seek out your manager and make sure they know you want to contribute in a meaningful way.
Your Performance Evaluation and Beyond
Typically, your manager goes through your performance review and tells you what you did well and what you need to work on. These may or may not be actionable steps that lead to meeting your future career goals. I suggest you come very prepared to these meetings and become an active participant. Ask your manager if you can meet in three months to go over how you are doing and to discuss possible opportunities. Continue to look out for internal job postings to see if they are in line with your career goals.
Perhaps consider partnering up with a buddy at work. One you can bounce ideas off of, someone that will be brutally honest with you. You can look for someone that has a different skill set, perhaps someone with strengths that are your weaknesses. You can both challenge each other and make each other better performers.
Take a good look at people that are successful in your company as well as friends that you admire. You can learn a lot from one another that will help you become more successful in your career. Nobody can do everything by themselves. You need a network and support system. LinkedIn is also a great resource for reaching out to colleagues to find a great solution or make you think of things from a different perspective.
We can all learn and grow. The important points are to take ownership and accountability for your own career success. The second important point is to seek out the resources available to help you perform at your best. Take charge of your career. If you need a strategy on how to market yourself and promote your growth seek out an expert for help. Investing in yourself is always worthwhile.