I know it feels like you've done everything right. You worked hard, earned the degree, even went for that advanced certification, you show up on time and do everything that's asked of you. So why are in the same place, while those around you are being invited to special meetings, being mentored and getting that promotion you thought should be yours by now?
As much as you think you may be doing it may not be enough. After all, your career won’t manage itself. Take back control of your career by avoiding these six (6) most common missteps that people overlook in advancing their career.
Any one of these can send your career spiraling off track.
1. Undervaluing your worth. Padding your resume with a list of things you've done isn't enough. You have to know how your strengths, skills and superpowers contributed to the bottomline of your organization. When you know that, you can bolding ask for the raise or promotion that's on par with your contribution. If you're current company doesn't see your value, you're uniquely positioned to share how you can improve the bottomline of another one.
2. Misunderstanding the art of self-promotion. Self-promotion is an aspect of professional presence and includes the empowering act of sharing your unique problem-solving capabilities. Research has shown that it’s particularly difficult for women to toot their own horn. In fact, women tend to wait for others to notice and acknowledge their accomplishments or successes so their contributions are less remembered and celebrated. Don't let that happen to you. Share EVERY successes and accomplishment with your superiors, post it on LinkedIn, write an article or blog about it, seek testimonials for your great work, and share it more than once!! The best way to feel confident about doing this is by ensuring you take on projects that highlight your strengths. Do you know what they are? FIND OUT! Remember, false modesty is not a virtue and in fact it’s self-defeating.
3. Focusing on other's progression instead of your own. In other words, stop gossiping. If you find that you have enough time keeping tabs on what's going on with your co-workers career, chances are you're not doing enough to advance your own. Whether it’s social or professional, follow the rule, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." Overall it just makes you look petty and unprofessional.
4. Being a "Debbie Downer." Along with not talking bad about others, don't bring people together for the purpose of trashing the company. If you hate where you work, it may be time to find new employment. If they're violating the law, engaging in discriminatory practices, have shitty leadership and employment policies you should both report them AND leave. Life's too short to be stuck in something that makes you miserable. If you don't feel you can leave a bad job, it could be that the disfunction of your workplace has impacted psychologically more then you realize. Bad bosses and workplaces can horribly impact your confidence and self-esteem and prevent you from seeing all of your true gifts and talents. If you're just prone to being negative or criticizing others, try a little positivity. However, if it's not you but the place you work, get out or get some support.
5. Underestimating the value of what you wear. Research shows that your appearance strongly influences not only how you feel about yourself, but it also impacts other people's perception of you. That includes your financial success, authority, trustworthiness, intelligence, and suitability for hire or promotion. And since we all know perception is reality, you want to ensure that you're viewed in the best possible light at all times. What few people realize is your wardrobe and clothing choices are a critical component of your professional presence and brand. It only takes 1/10th of a second for an impression to be made, and first impressions can fortunately, or unfortunately, last forever. Your image can mean the difference between gaining the competitive edge or taking a back seat to others around you.
6. Using the company's technology like your own. My savvy clients know to keep their personal and professional business separate. That includes having 2 phones, 2 laptops, 2 calendars, etc. Whatever it takes. Your company is likely to check your internet log from time to time and if you’re spending significant time each day on Indeed.com or other personal sites, you might find your employment ending sooner than later. You'll also want to watch how you're using your social media channels and how much time you're on those sites on company time. Just like the constitution separates church and state, keep your private and company business separate too.
Summary. It doesn't take much to send your career off the rails. You can avoid that happening by remaining professional, valuing your worth, focusing on your successes (and going after more), and creating a powerful professional presence and image that makes everyone around you take notice.
Securing the services of an executive or career coach can help you create a career management plan that will continually position your for success and keep you from becoming complacent in your career.
Live, laugh and unapologetically shine,