Five Ways to Create Your Own Successful Career Path
It remains a mystery why so many people leave their own career success to others instead of going for the gold themselves. Many people watch co-workers move up the corporate ladder while they continue high-performance with neither recognition nor promotion.
The cruel reality is that, unless you hire an agent who will promote you to others, you must create your own self-promotion strategy. Accept the fact that, while you may be the single most effective employee at your company, if no one knows it, your career can become akin to the sound of one hand clapping.
Understand that consistent self-promotion is the key to career achievement on a large scale. If no one but you is aware of your performance and major contributions to your employer’s operating efficiency and profits, the result is often disappointing. Promotions will be difficult, if not impossible to achieve.
Your goal should be to make a lasting, long-term impression on those around and above you on the corporate ladder. Performing and publicizing a one-time achievement may initially burn bright, but often, like a galactic super nova, burn out just as quickly. Your self-promotion needs to be consistent, albeit low key. Here are some suggestions to help you create a winning strategy of self-promotion that doesn’t appear to be self-serving to most observers.
Five Ways to Create Your Own Career Path to Success
- Take on tasks that others disdain. Volunteering graphically displays your value to the employer, positively promotes your personal “brand,” and creates your long lasting reputation as a reliable, dependable professional.
- Identify a long standing unresolved issue that continues to plague your company. Try to select a troubling issue that matches your experience, expertise, and skill set. Don’t be shy and wait for management to uncover your efforts – or the existence of the problem itself – be proactive. Construct a memo or plan for management that outlines the issue and displays actions you will take to solve the problem. If your action plan is similar to other failed efforts, try to put a fresh spin on the strategy and indicate some additional features of your approach.
- Be a strong proactive participant at staff meetings and strategy sessions. While wearing a neon lit sandwich-board may be a bit over the top, be a vocal participant, displaying your knowledge base, expertise, and achievements. Stick to the context of the meeting focus and expected objectives, though. Talking about how much money you saved your department on paper clips is inappropriate at a meeting to discuss a global marketing strategy. But, if you developed an enhanced and cost effective marketing plan for the East Coast market, be public and precise.
- Take copious notes. Don’t dismiss this suggestion as a mere afterthought. It should be an automatic and important component of your self-promotion strategy. You should record even the most miniscule contribution you make to your employer’s bottom line. Now is the time to play your “paper clip cost savings” card. You may even consider your more important achievements as fodder for the “not that outstanding” file. In most cases, you’d be wrong. Most people have a tendency to forget their contributions fairly quickly. Writing down your actions, their results, and the impact these actions had on company operations will help keep them fresh in your mind when you need them. You will have more ammunition to promote your cause when it is appropriate to share your achievements.
- Create win-win situations with all of your self-promotion activities. It can be easy to fall into the win-lose trap with self-promotion, which can destroy all of your good work and credibility. Consider the effects of your actions on co-workers. Never try to increase your value by de-valuing the contributions of others. You should not risk making enemies while appearing to be the company saviour. Conversely, by creating win-win situations, you will be branded as a winner and a leader who should be followed.
Don’t worry if your first ventures into self-promotion are outside your comfort zone. This is normal. Over time, this strategy will become much more natural and transparent. All the superstars of business, sports, and politics understand the importance of self-promotion as a tool to enhance their career paths. So why wouldn’t you adopt this proven, effective strategy to carve a successful career path for yourself.