Dig for diamonds and gold under your own feet
Finding a career path within your current company is a worthwhile pursuit. The time, energy and effort it takes to go to a new company can stall your career growth hurting you and the company you are leaving. Getting on the radar for advancement and finding positions on the “right” team takes some effort, and here’s how.
Build a Reputation and Manage it.
Whether you want to find a new opportunity or not, it’s important to manage your reputation. What people think about you matters. That means doing your job well. Everyone has had jobs they really didn’t like or perhaps even despised. Whether you like your job or not isn’t as important as how well you perform. Most importantly is for you control your attitude while you are doing it.
Ask yourself, Are there skills inside your organization for which you can get training? Whether your company pays or not, be investing time and resources into sharpening your saw – this is a great way to demonstrate your reputation as constantly upgrading skill sets.
Understand your Reasons
Take time to understand the reason behind your desire or urge to do something else. Are you running away from something? Is it a terrible boss?
Whatever the reason, be sure to document well where that desire is coming from and what you hope to accomplish. Most importantly, don’t forget to remember what you love about your job, company or team that you want to maintain in your next role.
Seek out an Experienced Mentor
Find a trusted advisor that is 2-3 steps ahead of you. It may take interviewing 4-5 different potentials before you find the one that can commit. A good mentor will offer advice, support and be willing to meet on a regular basis.
If the organization that you are working for is large enough, finding a mentor inside the company should be relatively easy. Otherwise, it’s not out of the question to seek a mentor outside the company if they have unique value you can’t get inside the company.
Engage your Human Resources
Mature companies will have a well defined human resources function that includes talent and organizational development. Locate your fellow employees in the HR function that understand the structure of the company. Are there teams that are growing? What investments are being made?
Informal conversations with HR can be insightful and highlight areas where the company may need support or staffing. Keeping in touch with your HR teams 3-4 times per year is a great way to maintain a pulse on future opportunities.
Meeting People Across the Organization
Meet different employees inside the company. Build an understanding of their role, duties, and responsibilities. Identify a list of people with whom you would like to maintain and incubate relationships critical to your future career plans.
Set a weekly or monthly goal of how many new people you would like to get to know better. Most people can manage 1 person per week. That would be 50 people per year! Math is awesome.
Become a Gap Finder
Often companies aren’t aware of a gap in their organization. As you are networking inside the organization and learning more about it, find where there are gaps that need filling. Document them. Create a best-case solution or ideal outcome.
Offer solutions to your leadership or even the teams that would most benefit from its execution. See if you can get authorization to implement the gap filling. Whether it’s your job or not, you will be recognized as a strategic team-player with initiative.
Keep a Pulse on News
Many corporations have a social media presence, a communications department, and even investor relations. Each of these groups are communicating things to the public about the company. Be sure you are following AND reading these communications to see what direction the company is headed.
This could also mean getting plugged into financial reports, press releases, webinars, and other press events. Most importantly, collect published names of players attached to these communications. If it peaks your interest, reach out for networking conversations.
Study the Competitive Landscape
If indeed it appears that growth or opportunity may not yet be available in your company, it’s perfectly prudent to look outside. If you don’t already have a list, find the top 4-5 competitors of your company as well as the upstream and downstream suppliers.
Once you have identified companies, you can move to meeting people at these companies that you find through LinkedIn or Google search. Simple searches by company and keywords in your domain would yield a group of potentials.
Actively Managing Your Career
Statistics tell us that the average tenure with a company is roughly 46 months, according to the U. S. Labor Department. This number is currently on a downward trend to shorter tenures.
The answer to this reality is the ability to actively manage your career. Companies are strategically planning annually and tracking financial results monthly and quarterly. Take the cue from good business practices to actively understand your career on an annual basis and track your progress weekly, monthly and quarterly.
What challenges are you facing? Leave me a comment below.
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