Ten proven strategies to advance your career

To succeed in any career you must set clear and measurable goals, embrace a desire to take risks and build the confidence to take action. But is advancing your career really that simple? The following ten points, which will be presented in three parts, are aimed to help you advance your career and allow you more control over your future through addressing specifically tailored issues and challenges facing women.

1. Take Ownership of Your Career
2. Find Your Passion
3. Develop a Positive Attitude
4. Communicate Clearly
5. Develop a Sense of Humour
6. Seek Others for Support
7. Develop a Life Outside of Work
8. Become Strategic in Your Career Moves
9. Seek Promotions
10. Act Like a Leader

1. Take Ownership of Your Career
Taking ownership of your career means developing a positive mental attitude and initiating whatever you want to happen in your work environment. If you desire more responsibility, a pay rise or a change in direction, it is up to you to strategically become the catalyst for these changes. This may require assessing yourself and determining whether your current job is merely a roadblock to achieving your career goals. It may require finding another job or to look for the opportunities within your current firm. By continually creating alliances outside of your current job or through the involvement of general business community functions and activities you begin creating networks that generally present career opportunities. Through the development and promotion of the “You Inc” philosophy you will take ownership of your career and build your own skills and networks.

2. Find Your Passion
What motivates you to wake up in the morning and seize the day? It must be something that stirs the passion within. Do you want to make the world a better place? Are you passionate about your Company’s product results or service offering? Or do you want to create something that your children can look up to, or benefit from, when they grow older? Whatever it is, search your soul and bring to the surface the happiest and most productive times in your career and life. Once you find it, develop it and turn it into a career plan where you will seize every day thereafter because you are passionate about your career. If you struggle with this one, it might be useful to find a good executive coach to guide you through this process.

3. Develop a Positive Attitude
A strong positive attitude is essential to advance your career. Without it, you are destined to fail. You need the conviction and the confidence to say “I can achieve my goals” and you must firmly believe it. You need to be so convincing in your belief that others will believe it too. The senior people in your company are more likely to promote people who they can visualise as leaders – people who visualise themselves as being leaders. Remember that your attitude also comes across in your non-verbal communication. Do your shoulders slump while you are at your place of work? Your direct reports will read this and act accordingly, but a clearly energetic and proud, positive leader will inspire and motivate direct reports and results will follow. Once you advance to a more senior role, it is essential that you develop and carry a positive attitude that builds a confident and empowering team. This will result in success and the rewards will follow. Understand the basis for problems, articulate them clearly and then find and present possible solutions. Never find an excuse for why things are the way they are. Find the solution with a positive attitude. When presenting issues to management, logically present the challenge and directly follow it with solution proposals.

4. Communicate Clearly
One significant area where women tend to fail compared to men is in communication. Generally, women are fearful of speaking their opinions in a business environment. This impacts the perceived contributions of many women and often limits their ability to receive promotions for leadership roles. It is important to clearly contribute ideas and opinions that add value to the business as a whole. To build confidence and develop a more direct approach to communication, enroll in public speaking lessons to help you speak confidently and to help you think on your feet.
The key element in communicating to senior management is to provide information that they can use to take action. Tailor your message to your audience. Do not bombard them with all you know, as they are extremely busy and only need relevant information to make sound business decisions. By stepping up and voicing your ideas through clear communication you are becoming a leader and senior management will take notice.
Good luck into putting these four key points in place.

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