Most professionals want to advance at work. Some do not (because they would prefer not to move into a management position where they are supervising others), but the majority of us want to advance in some way and, at least, continue to feel challenged by what we do. According to SHRM (The Society of Human Resource Management), in 2016, 45% of employees reported that they would be likely or very likely to look for other jobs outside their current organization within the next year. This is often due to wanting to advance or tackle that next challenge.
Here’s the rub: advancing can be easier said than done because of local and global competition for jobs. An average corporate job opening attracts 250 resumes (Glassdoor.com). So getting to the next level in your career requires work, creativity, and thinking outside the box. Ann Landers said: “Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don't recognize them.”
Creating an opportunity can mean many things, from creating a new position at your company to moving into a different department to enhancing your current role so it’s more rewarding. But the reality is that creating new career opportunities requires taking initiative, which causes many to shy away from the idea. In reality, creating your next career opportunity isn’t as hard as you may think. In fact, it can be quite satisfying.
Here are three ways to take the reigns and create your next career opportunity.
1. Identify what your organization needs. This is the first step, because in order to create an opportunity in your organization, you need to uncover what it is that’s lacking. This could be a solution to a problem or a more effective way of accomplishing tasks. Take some time to think about what your organization needs, what your competition is doing, and take notes. Pay attention to when your supervisor or a peer or employee complains about tasks or broken systems and add them to your list as well. Brainstorm solutions to these issues. Keep in mind that this may be a long-term project, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t come up with an effective idea or solution immediately. Keep an eye out for them and be willing to take on a long-term challenge if needed.
2. Interview yourself. Once you have decided on the best ideas for your organization, make sure that you are the right person for the job. Go over your resume to determine if you have the skills needed, keeping in mind transferable skills that can translate to the new opportunity and strengths that you are not currently using at your job that you can leverage. Write down the skills that you have next to the ideas on your list. If you find you are lacking in some of the skills needed to implement your ideas, is there a way you can sharpen those skills? Perhaps an online course or a night class at a local college?
3. Present your ideas. Once you have a logical solution, a reasonable way to implement it, and a concept for your idea, take it to your superiors. Think about who would be most receptive to your idea and ask to schedule a meeting. It is important to present your idea well, so make sure you have reports, graphs, pictures — whatever they will respond to.
After you’ve presented to them, if you find that you have a lot of great ideas but don’t have the skills to implement them, you may be on to your next career opportunity anyway. Organizations value big-picture thinkers. You will get noticed for sharing your ideas, as long as they are solid, and you’ll make an impression simply by speaking up. Don’t be afraid to talk to your superiors about your ideas and your potential to fill that kind of position.
Guest Blogger Hallie Crawford is a certified career coach and founder of HallieCrawford.com. Her team of coaches help people find their dream job and make it a reality. She is regularly featured as an expert in the media including the Wall Street Journal, CNN, and US News & World Report. Visit her website at www.HallieCrawford.com for more information about her team's career coaching services. Set up a Complimentary Career Strategy Session with Hallie Crawford to get advice on your career goals. *Mention you saw us on Talent Zoo and receive a free bonus if you purchase a product or sign up for coaching.*
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