It takes more talent and drive to get ahead today than ever before. With crowds of baby boomers far from ready to retire, stiff competition in the job market and the relentless downsizing of corporations, many people's careers are stalling at lower levels and at earlier ages.
But by learning fresh skills, staying on top of new technology and seeking added responsibilities at work, you can move up and off a career plateau.
Here are a few tactics to consider:
Fortify yourself with knowledge. Take courses at a community college or specialized school to learn a new skill such as advanced computer work or a foreign language. Also check executive MBA programs, which often offer weekend classes. Ask your human-resources department if your company will subsidize your tuition. You may be surprised.
Get involved in community or business projects. You can broaden your experience and heighten you visibility by holding office in a professional group, writing an article in a trade journal, becoming a mentor or organizing a conference. If given the chance to make a speech, seize it.
Look for new responsibilities to add to your job description. Be open to innovative possibilities, such as managing interns or suggesting new projects and ideas. It's a delicate balance to shine for your superiors without alienating your immediate boss or co-workers. What you need is an idea that will make your superior's department look good. Propose the plan to your immediate boss. With his or her approval, you can present it more formally to the company's higher-ups. If they let you try it and it works well, you're in a position to bargain for a new title, a raise or more authority. By showing an eagerness to grow in your present job, you'll avoid being classified as deadwood.
Confront your situation. Tell the folks on top exactly what you think you can do to contribute further. Don't be taken for granted. Regularly ask for feedback from your bosses and people working under you. It may be that you're not communicating, delegating or producing as effectively as you might think.
Article from CareerJournal Today – June 2005
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