- Develop and Adhere to Your Professional Goals
A savvy professional knows they are the CEO of their career, creates a personal mission statement to define their path, and understands the steps to achieve their goals. Assessing your strengths and weaknesses, goals, and priorities are important steps to define a career path. Education provides technical competencies, and career development professionals can help you understand the job market, actions steps required for specific careers, and provide coaching to develop your skills and prepare you for a successful job search.
- Access Yourself & Communicate
Know your skills, strengths, motivators, and de-motivators. Create a list of success stories that highlight the capabilities and traits that make you an outstanding employee. There are times when you should graciously talk about your contributions and successes, such as in performance reviews, interviews, or conversations with leadership. Don’t think of it as bragging – rather as keeping decision-makers informed of the value you provide. You are not always the center of an employer’s attention, so others may not be aware of your performance, dedication, and commitment to achieve organizational goals.
- Audit Your Contributions
How does your company benefit from employing you? What value have you added in the past year? How have you helped your organization achieve its mission, vision, and goals? Make a list of your accomplishments and ask your manager for a few minutes to review it with you to ensure you are on-track with projects and exceeding expectations. Be sure your hard work is taking you down the right path and is recognized for excellence.
- Participate in Meetings
Review the agenda and prepare to contribute on topics. While you don’t want to talk just to talk, you do want to add relevant information and insight to help achieve desired results. Sit next to the meeting planner to have a key place in the meeting. And remember to dress for success.
- Speaking of Professional Dress...
Dress for the position you plan to have. It’s important that you look and act like the CFO or Marketing Director if that is the position you want. Decision-makers have to envision you as the right fit for the job Even if you hold an administrative role now, emulate the person who holds the position you aspire to have.
- Work with a Mentor
Ask the CFO (for example) if he/she would be your mentor. Prepare a statement about your desire to learn from them and that you are respectful of boundaries and their time. Establish a brief 15-20 minute time once or twice a month where you could have a discussion on a specific topic. Provide the topic to your mentor via email two days before the meeting.
- Always Go Above and Beyond
Volunteer to take on additional responsibilities whenever you can. If you are working in a sales role and want a career in finance, ask the executive in finance if you can contribute or attend meetings with your supervisor’s approval. Beware that supervisors may not want to lose a good employee in their department, so be cautious about alerting your boss about your intention to leave your position in the future. Also, leaving a vapor trail at 5:00 p.m. every night is noticed. Make your boss look good.
- Graciously Accept Praise and Speak Positively
When your good work is noticed, “Thank you” is the best response. Let others know you enjoy your job and appreciate working for the company. Leaders want to know that you like the company and support its mission and values. Always say positive things about your organization and the people you work with. Negative comments are career-enders.
- Take Risks and Accept Responsibility
To move forward you have to challenge yourself and be willing to take risks, even if it means failing. If you fail, you may learn a great deal and know how to approach a problem differently next time. When you make a mistake, accept responsibility for it and let your boss know you have learned how to improve.
- Be Cordial and Build Relationships
Work much more than you socialize, but it is important to attend company events and develop relationships across the organization. Let others know you support them and work collaboratively to achieve the company’s goals. Successful companies have employees that cooperative to achieve a common mission. “That is not my job,” should never be a thought. Be mindful of boundaries, etiquette, and manners at all times. Consider the importance of relationships. There are times when a relationship is more important than an issue or being correct.
Walsh College alumni have lifetime access to Career Services, including career assessments, career fairs and company presentations, job listings, resume evaluation, job search assistance, and mock interviews. To learn more visit walshcollege.edu/careerservices or contact Laurie Siebert at (248) 823-1625.