Have you been feeling stuck? You’ve probably hit a career plateau, and that happens to the best of us. Sometimes the plateau is caused by being uninspired by the work you’re doing, but it could also be a result of your actions. The difference between a career that flattens and skyrockets is the impression you make on others and key stakeholders within your organization. Instead of becoming stuck within a continual loop of frustration with a position that isn’t going anywhere, you should focus your energy on things you can do to take your career to the next level.
Exercise your authority.
People who can communicate effectively with a sense of authority can gain influence and respect amongst organizations, which also heightens their chances of showcasing their ideas. Although your career can progress if you can demonstrate work ethic and do a good job, you’ll travel further if your voice is being heard and respected. To access your authority, it can help to audit presentations to make a note of your body language and presence. Take note of your posture, eye contact, and participation throughout your remote meetings, then watch how people respond to you.
Be warm and approachable.
Another essential attribute is the warmth that you’re able to convey to your organization. Warmth can be communicated by being humble, vulnerable, empathetic, and attentive, and measured by how good a listener you are. Warmth is necessary to create trust and be relatable, which is crucial to solidifying your position on a team. Do a self-reflection and ask yourself, Do your colleagues trust you? Do people feel comfortable challenging your ideas or giving feedback? Do you acknowledge others during interactions?
Demonstrate collaborative energy.
Demonstrating positive and collaborative energy is an emotional commitment and connection that makes you memorable, impressionable, and persuasive. Harness your energy within the workplace by tuning into how you engage with others and being aware of how others react to you. For example, do you talk too fast? Not enough? And do you truly listen in a way that makes others feel energized by your interest in them?
Ask for feedback.
Show your colleagues and manager that you are interested in the progression of your career and personal growth by asking for feedback on communication styles, projects, and time management. In addition, seek out feedback from trusted friends, mentors, and colleagues about what kind of impression you make. For feedback to be valuable, you have to be ready to receive the truth to move past your blind posts. Remember, feedback is an opportunity to grow and ascend.
Connections you make can impact you ten—even 20—years down the road. People are the best resource to navigate career moves and strengthen your knowledge base.
The good news is that it’s never been easier to network. Thanks to social media, you can join a virtual community of your peers at the click of a button. Whether you engage in a LinkedIn group that’s tied to your industry, take part in a live Twitter Chat, or seek out local lunch and learns and meetups, taking the first step is critical. Trust me, putting yourself out there is worth it. You’ll thank yourself later.
Be a Problem Solver, Not Just a Problem Identifier
We all have that one friend or colleague who tends to see the glass as half-full. They have no problem speaking up when they notice something is wrong, but they usually have no solution to offer. Don’t be that person. You add value when you come to the table with an idea. If you notice something that needs improvement, think about fixing it instead of just pointing it out. Don’t be afraid to flex those problem-solving skills early. Your peers will see, your boss will notice, and you’ll be on top of their minds when new projects and promotions become available.
Always be Prepared
This piece of advice is timeless. No matter the stage of your career, preparation is the key to success. Show up to your meetings prepared. Set aside time to research who you are meeting with and prep any materials of use for the meeting at the minimum. If you are not sure what that means for your new role, ask!
Being prepared is a sign of respect. When you come to meetings, prepare, and show up on time, you communicate that you’re reliable, competent, and courteous. All of these traits will serve you well throughout your career and your personal life, too.
Attitude Is Essential
Skills are essential, yes. But so is attitude. My advice? Having a chip on your shoulder makes you stand out—and not in a good way. While navigating corporate life can be difficult at times, focusing too much on corporate politics will hurt you in the long run. Be pragmatic, not pessimistic. Build others up, don’t tear them down. Look for ways to build consensus, not divide.
Have SMART Goals, and be Flexible
Having goals for the future is a great way to stay motivated, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t get that promotion within a year! It takes time to understand the ins and outs of a new company. My advice is simple: if you’re looking for ways to grow, then take some time to understand your business and how each person and team contributes to success. Once you understand that piece of the puzzle, you can become a more active and intentional contributor. Just be patient and remember that every company is different. What takes three months in one place may take nine months in another, and that’s okay. Just stay focused on your goals and do your best work.
Quality Over Quantity
Remember that bit of advice about having a positive attitude. There is one caveat. Having a “go-getter” attitude is great, but remember that it is impossible to do it all. Don’t take on too much, or the quality of your work will suffer. Time management is critical. Talk to your leadership and find the best to prioritize your projects. It’s better to do a few things well than many things poorly. Quality counts.
Ask Lots of Questions
As you’re just starting in your career, take every chance you get to learn from others. The best way to do this is to ask questions. Your more seasoned colleagues are an invaluable resource. Tapping into the situational experiences that they have navigated can provide the best starting point. Every time I have asked the question, “What would you do in this situation?” I have gotten fantastic advice. And asking questions shows you’re curious, eager to learn, and open to feedback. Those are all good things.
Talk to our experts today and let us help you propel your career forward~!