career advice, career management, Careers, leadership, personal brand management, Personal Branding

Commit To It: Take Control of Your Career

Mary Rosenbaum | June 2nd, 2011

How committed are you to managing your career? Too often we get stuck in the routine of doing our job. With a 24/7 mentality in most work places it seems daunting enough to just get the work done well without having to think about the future.

The past recession (many believe we are in recovery mode) taught us not to be complacent about our careers, jobs, and businesses. But with layoffs in what seems like the distant past many of us have gone back to the same old habits we had before 2008.

Well, let this be a wake up call. What the recession has created is a work environment that is highly competitive, extremely fluid, change focused, results oriented, and interested in value added. You can take control of your career but if you don’t others will do it for you.

There are many ways to manage your career and here are a few “must do” steps to take.

1. Commit to managing your career, not to just doing your job. Get into the mindset that you have control and once you do that, you are ready to take on the tasks of taking control.

2. Set goals with specific time frames for achieving them. You want to be able to have short and long term goals that provide you with direction. For some, those goals might be a promotion to a more senior level, for others, greater leadership responsibility or a new role within your organization. Setting achievable goals within a realistic time frame  and keeping o it provides you with direction and structure. This lets you know where you want to go and how fast you need to move to get there on time.

3. Find a role model. If someone has the position or responsibilities you want it would be valuable to compare your offerings, abilities, experience, and talents with theirs. An honest and thorough analysis of the hard and soft skills they have and the behaviors they exhibit will enable you to see how you measure up, where your added value lies, and what areas need further growth and improvement.

4. Manage your personal and leadership brand. Understand how others see you. Knowing how others view you is a great starting point for enhancing and managing your personal and leadership brand. What areas need further amplification so others see you the way you want to be seen to ensure that more opportunities for the career growth you want will come your way. A 360 assessment is a great way to help you complete this step.

5. Grow your tribe. Build your tribe of supporters and collaborate with them in their growth and development. Your tribe is your greatest asset. They can be relied upon as advisors as well as providers of information and contacts. At the same time, the reciprocity of benefits you derive and provide to the others in your tribe will create an atmosphere of trust and respect – perfect for achieving growth and success.

6. Find a mentor and ask for help. Find someone whose experience and wisdom in navigating his/her way to success can help you on the road to achieving your goals. Issues such as navigating the organization, dealing with generational differences and work/life issues, and structuring your career path can be daunting and any help along the way is always welcome.

7. Increase your visibility. Make sure the decision makers inside your organization are exposed to you, to the work you do and to your accomplishments. Take on or volunteer for projects or write articles for your company newsletter that spotlight your skills and abilities and have greater visibility across different areas within your company. It is a great way to “show rather than tell” that you are ready to take on greater responsibilities.

8. Communicate your goals. Let those in power know what your goals are so that when an opportunity arises you can be considered in the mix. Silence is not golden.

The smart move is to take control of your career. The Nike commercial says it so well – “Just do it!” I would change it a little bit to – Just commit to doing it!

Utilizing her experience of over 25 years Mary Rosenbaum empowers careerists and entrepreneurs to gain greater clarity and more effectively communicate their unique promise of value. Strong leadership means leading with your strengths. Get her free report Top Strategies for Getting Visible and Getting Ahead.

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