For many people with career ambitions, the ideal would be to receive an internal promotion. You know the company and their products or services. You know the team, the clients or customers. You’ve got a lot to offer.
Apart from a passing comment here and there, not many people actually articulate their career goals to their current employer. As a result, I hear from people who are quite deflated because someone else was given an opportunity that they would have loved. More often than not, it is these people who haven’t discussed their goals and aspirations with their employer, assuming the employer will read their mind and magically offer them something.
It doesn’t work like that.
You are the one who is responsible for your career.
You steer the ship: make a plan and implement actions to achieve your goals.
So how do you let your current employer know you’d like to advance your career within the company?
First and foremost, speak up! You don’t have to wait for a formal review or performance appraisal to share your thoughts with your employer. If you knock on the boss’s door and ask for a few minutes of his/her time you will be able to express your desires.
Be prepared. Think about the type of role you want, but don’t make it all about you – show them how you will add value. Just like you would in a resume, present them with results, achievements, examples of more senior tasks you have completed, etc. Don’t leave it to them – you need to take charge and make a case for yourself.
Work hard to build relationships with key people within the organisation. I don’t mean �?crawling’ or being insincere, but get to know them. Grab a coffee together or invite them for a bite to eat at lunch time. Talk to them at company social functions. Ask them about projects they are working on – show an interest in what they do in their role. Learn from them. Ask questions. One of the best ways of getting ahead is to show interest – it speaks loudly to employers.
Put your hand up for extra duties. Is there a special project that needs doing or could use extra hands? Is there an area of the business that is struggling to meet a deadline or cope during a peak period? Volunteer to help. By showing your employer that you can get your job done and still help others, you will impress.
Solve problems. Employers love people who solve problems. Is there an internal system or process that’s not working, a repeated issue perhaps? Make a suggestion. Some of the best ideas in business have come from left of field, from people I wouldn’t have thought would know anything about the situation. And you know what? I have to say that those people who are slightly removed from the problem often saw it for what it was, rather than being clouded because of their closeness to the problem. It’s seriously impressive when you show an employer that you have thought about issues within the business and have the intelligence, confidence and creativity to present an idea.
Ask for an opportunity to learn. Tell your boss that you have aspirations to move into XYZ role and that you’d like to be considered for relief work in that area. When you find out the current employee is taking leave, raise your hand and offer to cover the absence so you can gain experience and demonstrate your abilities. Just don’t be too overbearing — you don’t want the current employee thinking you’re gunning for their job!
Think about opportunities within your current company and be open about your goals. You don’t always have to leave a company to get a better role. Admittedly we don’t often hear of people staying with the same employer for years and years — but if they can accommodate your goals and keep you interested in your role, if you’re constantly learning and growing, then it is certainly worth considering before you thrown in the towel to join another company.
Just remember that you need an advancement plan. Just like a job search plan, you need to line everything up. Determine your value, articulate your pitch and be prepared to implement actions towards your goal.
It might not happen immediately, but often it will work and you’ll have many more years of fulfilling employment with the company.
© Michelle Lopez, Owner/Career Consultant