Lifestyle

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Go get 'em! Top seven tips to boost your career

Getting that corner office at work is only a few steps away. Just follow Veronica Canning's strategies to rise to the top

Businesswoman working at her desk
Getting that corner office at work is only a few steps away... (Photo: Thinkstock)

Set yourself wildly improbable goals. Surprise yourself into working on the huge things and achieving them.

First off, it's best to realise that working hard, keeping your head down and hoping the boss will notice is not a career-boosting approach. Working hard is a given!

Rising to the top in any career has much more to do with you, your leadership potential and how you develop your personal brand.

So here are seven strategies that I recommend you adopt if you want the elusive 'corner office'.

1. Have a big audacious aim (BAA)

A fundamental key to career success is to set yourself a clear aim, and make it very audacious and scary.

Go forward a number of years and state clearly where you will be, name the position, the salary, the type of company, the impact you want to make.

I find men are so much better at this. They are unabashed about their ambition.

Career women need to cop on to themselves and let their bosses know they expect to go places. State your BAA and own it.

2. Focus on your impact, don't be a master of the miscellaneous

If you want to be recognised as a rising star, the one to watch, be very conscious of the impact you want to make.

Many people are so invested in being taken seriously that they go into performance mode, volunteering for everything, being pleasing and taking up lost causes.

If you think you are doing any of these, you need to focus on one thing at a time and make your contribution count.

3. Leave the little pebbles on the beach

Concentrate on the large challenges in your career, the giant rocks. Set yourself wildly improbable goals, why not? Surprise yourself into working on the huge things and achieving them.

It is easy to get distracted by all the small challenges and to focus on clearing them away before you tackle the large issues, like getting a higher qualification or aiming for promotion.

4. Build a powerful network

I can't overstate the need to get involved in networking in order to enhance your career.

When you network, you escape your own work silo and find out about the wider business world, within and outside your company.

Don't just go to different events, become a productive networker.

Don't hang out with your friends, abandon them at the door and seek out strangers.

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5. Beware the career rabbit holes

To progress in your career you need to get lots of different experiences across a different range of departments.

Be flexible and seek out new work all the time. Your openness will be noticed and appreciated.

But be tactical, look for assignments where you can sparkle, don't just solve messy problems no one else wants to solve.

6. Manage people not tasks

It is crucial that you learn how to manage people early on in your career. Your relationships with people will literally make or break your career.

Too many people get promoted up the ranks because they are good at their speciality, for example, programming or project management, and then they stall in their progression.

Suddenly, they are in charge of a team and no one has ever developed their people-leading skills.

When choosing people for serious promotion a key question is "can she bring people with her?". Make sure the answer for you is yes.

7. Find the best and benchmark against them

Do you know who is the the best person in the world in your field? If you don't then you are not benchmarking against the best. If you do, take a bow!

When you know the best person in your field in the world, that is the standard you set for yourself -- the best.

Study them, subscribe to their blog, Twitter account, e-zine, buy their books, read their research.

Find out the ingredients of their excellence and their success. Emulate their approach. Learn from them and their advice. You can't go wrong when you start at excellence and work from there.

Veronica Canning author of Your Brand: Advance Your Career by Building a Personal Brand just published by Chartered Accountants Ireland See veronicacanning.com

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