We all have dreams about our ideal job or ideal position, wanting to make a difference, earn a lot of money, or receive recognition and acclaim for what we do. It can be discouraging when our work lives don’t pan out as expected, or when we don’t get the promotion we desire. Professionals, however, don’t have to feel helpless when it comes to their careers. With the right strategies, training, and innovation, they can take our careers to the next level.
Everyone has to start somewhere, and many successful entrepreneurs, such as Bill Gates, knew that there would be a lot of uncertainty when trying to establish themselves. Gates had dropped out of Harvard University to start his own company, driven by a vision he had; a revolutionary new idea that he had faith in. Similarly, Steve Jobs had a long road before he found massive success with Apple. It took a lot of experience, trial and error, persistence, and hard work before he reached the peak of success we know him by today. No matter what the dream may be, whether it is to be a CEO of a company or to become a manager of a restaurant, anyone can be successful with the right approach.
Setbacks and struggles in the corporate food chain are a by-product of the work world in which we live, and getting ahead in the workplace can sometimes seem like an impossible task. With office politics, co-worker competition, and a tight budget, workers can find themselves at a professional standstill. While there are many uncontrollable variables that are out of reach, professionals can find comfort in the fact that, with persistence and an ability to persevere through obstacles, achieving their goals isn't as far off as they appear. Here are a few of the practical strategies professionals can employ to fast-track their careers and set their dreams in motion:
Promotions and raises won’t just present themselves. To get ahead, go above and beyond regularly assigned duties and roles. Pushing the boundaries of their skill-set and tasks can allow employees to stand out as assertive and possessing strong initiative. Taking on more work or participating in a team project can act as a way to differentiate their presence from the pack.
Quality of work is the most important factor in business success; however there is another key aspect that influences career growth. Possessing the ability to network, forge relationships with coworkers, and even bond with the boss can allow employees to personalize themselves and become a face as opposed to just another number. Developing personal rapports within the office can turn a 9-5 job into a thriving career.
Being able to prioritize tasks and ranking them in order of importance can allow 100 percent focus on the tasks that matter. The tasks that hold less weight can then be reassigned to coworkers who have fewer responsibilities and less demanding roles. Being a quality employee means being a strong leader; proper delegation can lead to less stress and to more productivity. The more attention employees pay to important assignments, the better the quality of work that will be produced.
The only way for a professional to get ahead at work is to make themselves indispensable to the company. To do that, employees should think about cross-training. Training (whether it is language training or skill training) can broaden a person’s skill-set and ensure that there will always be opportunities at hand. The more well-rounded employees are, the more they become in-demand for the company, and for their boss.
As superficial as it may be, we are not only judged in the workplace for the quality of work we produce, but also by the impression we make on others. By putting thought and effort into their image and work, identity employees can ensure that they are creating a likable and professional persona that subtly impacts others. Dressing powerfully and appearing put together reflects on the quality of work itself.
Looking at the bigger picture of the company itself can help make an impact. Employees who think outside their job description and contribute to solving the bigger issues the company faces are creating notoriety on a larger scale. Troubleshooting effectively and strategizing to come up with solutions in a larger dynamic opens doors and reveals a whole new professional dimension.
Logging extra hours, doing more tasks and taking on multiple roles can be pointless if employees aren't getting the credit that they deserve. Employees shouldn't take for granted that their boss may be watching; they must make it known what they want. Professionals looking to get a raise or a promotion should be proactive. Drafting a pitch stating all the extra tasks being done outside their job description, all of the projects they have done in a leadership position and making a good case for their promotion shows initiative and a strong will to get ahead.
Remember, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Any employee who ventures to ask may be faced with a no. That’s okay; this lays a foundation for the future. If faced with a no, this is just an even bigger opportunity to pursue a promotion again in three, six, or twelve months. The more visible a professional is to their boss, the more present that face will be in their mind the next time a position or possibility opens up.
Famously, Oprah Winfrey, J.K. Rowley, and Abraham Lincoln, all household names now, succeeded later on in life. They encountered many setbacks, obstacles and rejections before they broke through to professional success. The key to success is to try. Trying a new tactic, approach, or angle can allow anyone to rise up the ranks and go from entry level to CEO. Through carefully thought-out strategies, employees can turn ambition into achievement. The trick is to try.