Whether you are just starting out in the workforce, returning from paternal or maternal leave, or have been consistently employed for the better part of your life, seeking a change in responsibilities can feel intimidating and overwhelming. Following are some things I have learned through my 30+ years of work experience. Sure, my first paying jobs may have been as an 11-year old babysitter, but that is where my story started. I recommend each person take their own life experiences and try to glean nuggets of wisdom from them when you can.
Before pushing to make career advancements, strive to excel in your current position. Are you the type of employee you would want for your own company? What can you do to improve? Be more punctual? Get tasks completed on time – or even early? Check with your boss to see if there is anything more you can take care of before leaving for the day. In college one of my professors ingrained in us, “See a need, take the lead.” Do not wait for others to bridge the gap.
Now that you are an exemplary employee, let’s discuss how to move into your dream role:
- Know your worth. Do not under-value yourself. Too many times in my own career I have felt unworthy of the position I held or the pay I earned. That mental block prevented me from seeking promotions and asking for raises. If you truly believe you are under (or over) paid, you can check the going rates for professional positions at www.glassdoor.com.
- Say, “Yes!” to new opportunities as they are presented to you. Sometimes something as simple as saying yes is the only thing you need to open those doors. You may gain knowledge, perspective, relationships. The potential is limitless.
- Put together a well-thought-out pitch for the changes you are seeking. Are you looking for a raise? Explain to your boss why you deserve additional financial compensation. Do you want that promotion? Boldly explain to the hiring manager why you are the best candidate for the job. Looking to create your own (new) position? Show management how you will be solving a problem they did not even realize they had. You are in control of your own destiny.
- Network, network, network. Many of the new roles I have obtained over the years is directly related to knowing the right people and being in the right place at the right time. You never know when a co-worker today will become your boss of tomorrow. Affirma is often hiring and regularly asks its employees for referrals. I have both been the recipient of a new job due to a referral as well as been able to refer past friends and co-workers for new jobs I had heard about.
In closing, I believe the following to be key:
- Keep your options open
- Allow yourself to be receptive to change
- Give your best effort in all you do
- Be open to constructive criticism