I’ve coached a lot of folks in my day. Most advice naturally comes from my own personal experiences of navigating the direction of my career. Many of the action items I share with clients take a lot of work and effort but like with anything you really desire- the hard work can pay off.
You can’t just sit on the sidelines and wait for the opportunity to fall in your lap. You have to go out there and shake some hands and kiss some babies. Ok, you don’t have to kiss babies, but you do need to pound the pavement and get the word out that you stand for your own professional growth and development. I call these actions campaigning for your career.
Here are some steps to run for “office” in your office:
1)Determine Your Platform
a) What do you stand for? What is your career mission/goal? Take some time and marinate on what you want to do in your organization. Brainstorm it out. I knew where I wanted to go next on my first day of work. During a career development meeting, I shared these goals with my Supervisor and we developed a strategy. He became my running mate. It’s up to you to know where you want to go and ask for help along the way.
b) Develop your campaign “slogan.” Create a quick sound bite or elevator pitch to inform mentors, recruiters or possible networking connections of who you are and your career goals.
2)Get On The Campaign Trail
a) If you haven’t already, join professional organizations that interest you. Attend events that will give you visibility, network to get your contact information out there. This is where you will get your face out there and noticed.
b) If you’re growing within your organization, develop projects that will increase revenue and share best practices. If there’s a department you want to work in, make sure you connect with the department head and develop ways to make that department and ultimately the company successful.
3)Don’t Just Focus On The Big Donors
a) The people who will help you get where you want to go don’t always hold the highest positions. There are mentors (campaign supporters) of different levels of influence all around you. How well do you work with your fellow teammates? Don’t forget that people of influence don’t always have to be the CEO of the organization. The key is to seek out leaders at all levels to learn and grow with them. Fostering solid business partnerships is key to building your support system.
4)Invest In Your Cause
a) Campaigning for your career will take up a few resources like money, time and energy. If you’d like to get a career coach, take a prep course for a certification to build your skills, or get a degree you may need some financial support. See if your company has a tuition assistance program or provides discounts for certifications related to your field. Look online for scholarships and grants that may support you desire to grow.
b) Be mindful that your commitment to career growth may mean giving back to the organization that supported you. A lot of companies that provide assistance will ask for you to commit several years to support the business’ growth. Keep your commitment. You’ll definitely build more bridges staying and developing more than hitting the proverbial piggy bank and running.
5)There Is Such A Thing As Bad Publicity When Developing Your Career
a) Be present on social media in responsible and professional way. Be mindful that recruiters and companies may look at sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to check out who you are and how you operate. Your image and how you conduct yourself can give folks a snapshot of how you may behave in a professional setting. What story are you telling folks when you share your photos, stories, etc.? Does your brand at work reflect what you’re showing others out of the office?
6)Don’t Lose Sight Of The Key Issues
a) There is such a thing as over campaigning. You still want to give 150% to your current role so that you can add value to the business. Try not to let the future position distract you from your current job. Every step you make can lead to amazing career opportunities. Make every day count.
b) Don’t just be visible when the job opening has posted. Hiring managers and recruiters can see the fake effort a mile away. Show up every day and be the leader you want to be whether you get the job or not.
7)Don’t Be A Sore Loser
a) How you show up after a turndown will be observed. Badmouthing the hiring manager or the candidate that was selected for the position is not good form. This is where your character is really put to the test. Ask for feedback on how to build up your skills so you’ll be the candidate of choice next time an opportunity arises.
8)Gratitude Goes A Long Way
a) Always thank those people that supported you in your efforts to grow and develop. They were there for you at the very beginning of things. Gratitude is a major leadership characteristic. Heck, its just good manners!
b) Another cool thing to do is keep in touch. Check in with your supporters and let them know how your campaign is going. People who support you genuinely want to know how and where you are on your campaign trail. I’ve kept in touch with my supporters for over 20 years now. No matter how busy they are, they are happy to hear from me. Don’t be afraid to keep people in the loop.
Good luck with your campaign! And if you need a Campaign Manager to help you along the way, I’m here for you. Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for a consultation.
I’m Joyel Crawford from Crawford Leadership Strategies and I approve this message.