Drive your own career

As I reflect on my own career, the most important thing I have learned is that your need to manage your own career. Doing a great job, even being the best and hardest worker on your team does not guarantee a promotion or even a good raise.  To make sure you get what you are entitled to, you have to make it happen yourself and cannot rely on your manager to see you doing a great job and hand you a promotion without you asking. So how do you make it happen?

Stand Out - You come to work on time everyday, maybe even stay late, and you don't make any errors in your work. You deserve a promotion right? Wrong! You are simply doing what your company hired you to do. If you want to get to the next level, you need to show how you are going above and beyond. Show how the company would be lost if you were to leave. This may mean finding ways to improve processes, save the company money, or take on new responsibilities. 

Network - Ok, so you are showing people you are an invaluable asset to your team. Who knows about it? Your team and your manager? Well, that's a good start, but it's likely not enough to get you promoted. You need to make sure your manager's manager knows and the Senior Leader of your department. Do you have an opportunity to present at a management meeting? Can you lead a project team or at least a stream of a project to get your name out there? Raise your hand for any opportunities to showcase your awesomeness to senior leaders. 

Find a mentor - Find someone in your organization who you want to be one day.See if they would be open to meeting with you on a regular basis. If they agree to this, you need to make sure you drive the conversation and use them for advice. I would recommend someone who isn't in your reporting line, but is in a closely related field. This relationship can help you with new job opportunities as well as a voice for you in promotion decisions. 

Know your worth - If you are doing all the above and made it known you want a promotion and you are getting passed over. There are one of two things happening. Either you are not proving the value you think you are or your company doesn't appreciate you. In either case, it may be a good idea to move on to a new company. Many times you can get a raise by making a move to a new company and get paid market value. Perhaps this new company will be just what you have been looking for!

What experiences have you had in your career?