Are you "a star where you are, but little known anywhere else? That limits your future. The more people, peers and more senior people who know you the better your future prospects are. In effect, the more widely known your brand is, the more "buyers" there are. Who do you eat lunch with or hang out with away from work? Are they the same people most of the time? Break the routine and sit with someone else at lunch. Call someone in another department and ask if they would be willing to have coffee and help you understand how your department connects with them. Are there volunteer groups that do Habitat for Humanity or other civic projects. Try one and let other people learn who you are. Some day, maybe sooner than later your name will come up in their conversations with others. The more people who know you as a person, as well as a professional, the more likely your name will be in the promotion pool.
Working hard is only part of ensuring you are in the promotion pool at work. Showing initiative is important too, but unless the key decision makers know who you are, what your work quality and quantity is like, your chances of moving ahead is severely limited. Key executives tell me that their careers really took off when they made the conscious effort to Take Charge of Their Careers. I actually considered that as a title for one of the drafts of Fast Forward Your Career. Taking charge doesn't mean manipulating, grandstanding, or becoming the king or queen of office politics. It does mean, however, treating you career as something that needs to be planned and managed...by you! As the other career mistakes have suggested, leaving your career to anyone but yourself is not a g
How broad is your career plan? If you are in IT, accounting, customer service, for example, are you only thinking about promotions in the area you are now in? Are you assuming your boss or someone else in your department must get promoted or move on to make room for your next advancement? Why not seek opportunities in other areas of the organization. Almost all of the 60 executives I interviewed for my Fast Forward Your Career book reported that they moved around the company, often into areas they had no special training or experience in. How? Many took lateral transfers to get more experience, or they volunteered for cross functional task forces. They met new people outside their normal comfort zone and gained a broader perspective on the business. Management noticed their effort. While the initial move may not be a promotion, one CEO said that after two seemingly lateral transfers that his friends thought were not a good idea, he received one of the greatest promotions of his career. The senior team noticed his willingness to grow. When planing for your future, think both vertical promotions within your traditional area, but don't limit yourself to just that. Avoid career mistake #2.
Trusting Your Career to HR or Your Boss. They may want to help you, but planning for your future is too important to leave to others. The consensus of the 60 executives I interviewed for Fast Forward Your Career told me that HR is focused on building a pool of candidates for future position openings and they may not even know of your interests for the future. They can't play favorites. Your boss may also have the best intentions for you, but he or she may also be unaware of what you want. You may be reluctant to share that you want to move on, perhaps outside of your boss' department or division.