You've held the same position with the same employer for five years (or even 10), and during this time you've watched several coworkers with apparently similar skill sets climb the ladder while you stay behind. Why is this happening? Your deodorant works, you're pleasant to talk to, and you execute every task that's asked of you. You're rarely late, and you always dress well. So what are you doing wrong? Review your daily behavior and try these five simple fixes.
1. Losing Your Cool
Of course you know better than to lose your temper, yell, or burst into tears in the workplace (at least you try not to do this on a regular basis). But that's not quite enough. You may still be handling setbacks poorly in a subtle way that undermines trust.
For example, when your work is criticized, do you listen respectfully in order to fully understand the problem? Or do you try to close a painful conversation quickly by offering excuses? When you make another attempt, do you let your fear of further criticism keep you from taking risks? Or do you treat the criticism as a useful tool and stride forward with confidence?
There are plenty of smart and foolish ways to deal with setbacks. The path you choose can a have a big impact on your career.
2. Not Clearly Explaining what You Want
After three years at the associate level, you may be assuming your boss will show up at your desk one day and simply hand you the promotion you obviously deserve. But this doesn't usually happen.
The best way to take your career to the next level (or make a lateral move to another division), is to clearly state this desire to the nearest person who holds the power to help you. This person is usually your boss, so make sure he or she knows exactly where you'd like to be in a few years, a few months, or a few weeks.
3. Not Tooting Your Own Horn
If you've done something amazing, something difficult, something that resulted in a benefit to the company, or something that includes all three, your boss needs to know about it. She may not find out unless you tell her, and even if you do tell her in a subtle, self-effacing way, she may not remember. Get a bit louder than you're used to and step outside of your comfort zone when it comes to self- promotion.
4. Not Asking for Feedback
When you ask for feedback and advice from your boss, she may or may not remember what she tells you, and she may not check in with you later to determine whether or not you took her advice to heart. But she will certainly remember that you asked. And she'll know that you care about your professional growth and you care about how your work and efforts are perceived by others. Be brave and ask your boss how you're doing periodically—don't sit still waiting all year long for your annual review.
5. Not Leaving when It's Time
You're responsible for your own career growth, but you can't move yourself forward in a vacuum. To advance to the next level, you're going to need training, experience, exposure, and support. And if aren't getting what you need from your current employer, it's time to move on. Visit MyPerfectResume for the tips and guidance you'll need for the next steps.