Striving for promotion, career change or greater job satisfaction, these Quick Career Boosters will help
Wouldn’t you love a dollar for every time you’ve heard ‘WOW – it’s April already… where has the year gone?”
We start each year with ambitious goals and great intentions. Yet ‘busyness’ soon takes over and career neglect is often its first victim. By Easter you notice your career has unintentionally taken a back seat to everything else.
With so much to do and so little time, you may be missing the quickest and easiest ways to take your career to a whole new level.
While it’s important to have a clear professional direction and a career development plan to make it happen, simple actions can reap surprising rewards.
Here's how to:
Get a Promotion, Make a Career Change or Simply Increase Job Satisfaction
1: Decide What Matters MOST
Sweating the small stuff gobbles up time, increases stress and reduces perspective. It also creates doubt and may suggest you’re not coping.
Be clear and mindful of your top priorities and dedicate time every day to progress them.
If you’re unclear about your priorities or believe you’re overloaded, talk to your manager and seek help to manage your time.
2: Be Interested and Fully Engaged
Endless meetings can seem like a distraction from our real work. Sitting in them week after week can fuel frustration and boredom. But communication is vital and meetings are the real work!
Ask what the purpose is and know why you’re attending. Decide in advance what value you can offer and what you want to learn.
Before the meeting starts, park whatever else is on your mind. Turn off your phone and be 100% present.
Prepare in advance and actively take part by listening and contributing your expertise.
3: Shift Your Focus from Tasks to Results and Outcomes
'To Do' lists are an insidious trap and like household tasks, they’re never ‘done’! Being task focused increases the risk of work becoming mundane and mindless.
Instead identify the result you want to achieve and why it’s important. (Ask, how will this help and what difference will it make?)
Then break each result down into simple steps.
4: Find Ways to Proactively Help Others
When you’re focused only on what you need to achieve, your self-absorption blinkers miss opportunities for instant fulfilment.
Helping someone else solve a problem or lightening their load builds appreciation, confirmation, trust and credibility. Even if your offer is declined, that you cared enough to offer will be noted.
Life is karmic. Giving without expecting anything in return often results in the recipient helping you in a way you couldn’t have expected.
5: Be Generous with Thanks and Praise
When no one notices an achievement or contribution, motivation and morale plummet. Eventually commitment, effort and quality suffer.
A simple thank you costs nothing but the payback is instant. Without it, your colleagues may feel unappreciated as what they’re doing seems pointless or unimportant.
Create regular opportunities to recognize others’ efforts and openly give credit to your team.
This helps build your reputation as someone who not only notices but is genuinely appreciative.
6: Actively Play to Your Strengths
Your strengths are your greatest asset, yet we often use them without thinking.
Strengths are like muscles – if you don’t consciously use them, you lose them! They also hold the key to overcoming weakness or gaps.
Strengths unlock your potential, while keeping work challenging and satisfying. Once you know your strengths, you have a responsibility to use them!
Become aware of your unique strengths and find different ways to apply them every day.
7: Achieve Quick Wins
OK, so Rome wasn’t built in a day and many work goals take time to achieve. That’s all the more reason to break projects down into manageable steps with key milestones.
Tangible achievements are compelling to recruiters seeking high potential candidates. Those who can clearly demonstrate success will always be ahead of those who are vague about what they've achieved.
Quick wins build success and are even more attractive when you demonstrate how you'd transfer them to another role or project.
Create opportunities to achieve small results along the way. Keep an Achievement Running Sheet (What, Why, When, How) and share them in your performance reviews, resume and interviews.
8: Create 'White Space' Blocks in Your Calendar
If each week is flying past faster than the last, and you're forever in back to back meetings, it’s a sure sign you’re bogged down and overloaded.
Step back and rearrange your calendar to include regular, nonscheduled time. This can be used to work on big projects that require concentration and your career development.
Choose a time slot that's least likely to be sabotaged to ensure you get into 'flow' and feel the satisfaction that comes from completing important actions.
Be disciplined and use the time wisely. Steady progress, persistence and completion create the best career breakthroughs.
9: Review, Reflect and Acknowledge Successes & Lessons Learnt
The most successful people are those who regularly review progress and reflect on what they’ve learned. Applying the lessons of what works and what doesn’t will save time and angst and fast-track your success.
Recognise your successes to build on and failures to learn from. Identify how you contributed to both.
Note for perfectionists: regardless of the result, be content knowing you did the best you could with what you had!
To build your own powerful Hindsight Knowledge Bank, simply keep a daily journal.
10: Act With Intent
As humans, we’re creatures of habit who go through the motions every day, largely on auto-pilot. It takes less effort but leaves the impression that you’re coasting, even if you’re ‘busy’.
Being intentional in all you do reduces procrastination and distraction, keeping you focused and on track. Clarify your purpose and deliberately do what it takes to achieve it.
Deliberately make every conversation, email, meeting and document matter and be noticed for all the right reasons.
11: Create a Conscious Personal & Professional Brand
You may be surprised by the gap between your desired and actual reputation. While we’re busy projecting the image we want (albeit sub-consciously), it’s often received in a different way.
Actively creating and using your professional brand will ensure you're recognised and remembered for what you want to be known for.
Create the reputation you want and need to achieve your career goals by:
- Deciding how you want to be perceived
- Discovering how you are perceived
- Creating a plan to close the gap
Professional Career Coaching can help you identify and establish the reputation and brand you want.
12: Decide Where You Are Heading
Without a clear sense of what you ultimately want to achieve and the legacy you’re striving to create, at best your career will be an interesting collection of different jobs.
At worst, it will be a futile waste of years, energy and your potential.
Likewise, being too specific will shut out unexpected and compelling opportunities to make your unique difference.
Take control of your career by:
- Clarifying your professional aspirations, passions, interests, experience, strengths and skills
- Decide how you want to use these for the next phase of your career - do something that truly matters to you
Create and implement a Career Development Plan to act as your compass and map
If your career has plateaued or you're just not sure it's still the right one for you, this will help:
Career progression doesn’t need to be time consuming. Many of these tips are more about changing the way you do what you’re already doing!
Choose one to get started and give your career an instant boost.