What makes you more valuable to any company? Specific Knowledge + experience + willingness to sell your growing capability. All of these elements can be wrapped into what I will call, your “promotability muscle”, (PM).
Like building any other muscle, you have to ingest the proper nourishment and you exercise it.
Nourishing your PM comes by way of acquiring more knowledge suitable to your career plan. You can do by taking courses online, attending courses after work hours, attending company sponsored seminars, etc. Even the simple act of buying and reading books to supplement or boost your knowledge in specific areas of expertise.
To exercise your knowledge, regularly reach out to your supervisor to work with you at acquiring broader experiences, more responsible, and more intense experiences that help you move forward within your career plan.
Now comes the single, most-important action you can take to help boost your career. SELLING yourself. In the same way that there is an art to selling products, there is an art to selling yourself to boost your career. The best way to explain this, in my opinion, is to think of yourself as a product and to sell yourself much like you’d sell a product.
Here are just a few tips to selling yourself to help boost your career plan:
- Network. Get involved. Join company groups and events.
- Find a mentor.
- Build strong working relationships with colleagues.
- Proactively engage your supervisors to keep them aware of your developing skills and willingness to take on new experiences.
- Though companies ask for generalists, at times, it is my opinion you must become both a generalist and a specialist. Or, to state that more clearly, evolve into a generalist with a specialty. Make both those capabilities known to others who can affect your career path.
- Be flexible. Opportunities come in different packages, so to say. Though you have a specialty and have something specifically in mind for your career goals and in your career plan, be willing to try new experiences and opportunities which may be slightly outside of your career targets. Often, you will be pleasantly surprised.
- Resist to the best of your ability any assignment or a career path for which you know you will be an utter failure. One tactic often used by companies to reduce knowledge workers is to promote them, or move them laterally, to a position where management expects that person to fail or where business is already so poor that in the near future the company will implement a plan to reduce knowledge workers by declaring them as redundant.
- Know what you have, what you are capable of. Package all that into a readily explicable statement called a “Value Proposition”. [I’ve written quite a few Nuggets on the art of building your “Value Proposition”. Use the search box.]