How to fast-track your career in spite of the economy

Are you wondering how to get promotion? Would you like to be better valued and rewarded at work? Review your mindset and beliefs and follow these ideas to help you get proactive about your career.
The past few years have been an uncertain time for many people, with redundancy and the threat of job losses hanging over businesses in many sectors. Now more than ever, it’s crucial that women manage their careers proactively and are not backward in coming forward. To progress your career, you may need to change your mindset and underlying beliefs to be more like a man’s.

According to Dr Val Singh of the Cranfield School of Management, women’s lack of assertiveness can hold their career back: ‘The way business works is not the way women work. Women believe in a fair system in which the promotional and work structure will work for them if they do their job well.’ This is in contrast to men, who will make sure that their managers know they have performed well and will do more self-promotion.

Nobody likes people who continually blow their own trumpet, but there are lots of ways to be proactive and keep visible within your organisation. The mindset of believing in your own self-worth, what you have to offer and what you have achieved is key, so that you’re motivated to think proactively about your career.

Tell your boss about your ambitions

Firstly, talk to your boss about how you would like your career to develop – he or she is not a mind reader and this can demonstrate your commitment to your work and organisation. Don’t let your boss assume that, just because you have children now, your career ambitions are any less.

Then, stretch yourself. If there have been redundancies in your organisation, the people left will more than likely have to do more. Offer to take on things that interest you and could develop you, rather than waiting to be dumped with something you’re less keen on.

Develop yourself

Developing yourself is vital, too. Employers will always want people who are confident, can communicate well, are technology-savvy, work well in a team and are organised. If you feel you could do better in any of these areas, make sure you take advantage of any training inside or outside your organisation, as well as developing your technical or work skills. This way, if you do need to find another job, you have up-to-date transferable skills to offer.

Be visible

Keep your visibility high by participating actively in meetings, presentations and training. If you prepare well beforehand and research relevant issues, you can ensure you have a good contribution to make. Other ways to get known outside your own team could be to get involved in any exhibitions, events, or charity work your organisation does, to write an article for the in-house newsletter or volunteer for cross-team projects.

Build your networks

Contacts are also an important resource for your career, so build your networks inside and outside your organisation. There are plenty of professional networking groups that are industry-specific, or on-line and off-line networks for women, such as Every Woman, Women in Business, Ladies at 11 and Athena – for more information look at Mum & Career – Networking. Networks can be a good way of accessing training as well. And don’t underestimate the importance of building excellent relationships with customers and suppliers.

Don’t hide your light under a bushel

Make sure your boss knows when you’ve done well. Keep any positive feedback you get and note down your achievements throughout the year, so that when it comes to your appraisal or performance review, you have plenty of examples of successes to draw on. Then if jobs cuts come near, you can demonstrate your value to the organisation, or if the worst comes to the worst, you will know how to promote yourself to a new employer.

Author: Anne Williams has a background in HR and coaching and now works as a hypnotherapist. She helps people overcome fears and negative thinking patterns that hold them back in their work and personal lives. For more information about how hypnotherapy could help you, visit Transforming Health.

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