Career Success Part 2: Get Ahead of the Crowd

Sections of this topic

    The person who is going to be successful is not going to succeed just because of good work. That is a given. It is expected.

    You get ahead of and stay ahead of the crowd by managing your competitive advantage. Here are three ways to do it.

    1. Think of Your Career As A Business.
    The business of career management is that—an independent business that you manage—even if you work for someone else. In this world of downsizing, restructuring, and mergers, you, not the company, must be in the driver’s seat of your career. Always think of yourself as self-employed – as a career entrepreneur.

    Ask yourself these tough but important questions: What business am I really in? What is my product line? What is the target market for my products? For example, if I am an accountant then, what is it that I really do that people will pay for? Do I know my current worth in the marketplace? It doesn’t matter what your title is. What matters is, if what you do has value and is needed by someone or some company.

    2. Have Skills, Will Travel.
    What do you bring to the employment table? You carry with you, wherever you go, a large suitcase or portfolio that holds all of your skills, experiences, and accomplishments. What’s in your portfolio? Is it heavy with many skills or light with only a few? Do you know if it would be valued in lots of different places or just a limited number?

    To be competitive, you need to periodically audit your portfolio. How do you compare with your peers in terms of education, experience, training, career progression? Are you new and improved? Or, are you just the same person you were three, five, ten years ago? Do you have the right mix of skills, knowledge and experiences to position yourself for the future? Or, do you need to repackage yourself in some way? Avoid becoming a professional dinosaur.

    3. Play the New Career Game
    What will keep you in the game as the workplace continues to change? Initiative, visibility, and flexibility are the three keys for success in the new career game. You can’t afford to sit behind your desk, buried in your everyday work, and hope for the best. Go beyond your job description and direct your energy to the top priorities of your boss, your department, your team. Make yourself indispensable.

    Then promote yourself by the outcomes or results of what you’re doing. You can start making a name for yourself by being involved in successful assignments that allow you to be visible to a wide range of people who could have an impact on your career. These assignments could include for example: Building a new team from scratch; or overseeing the introduction of new technology; or taking on projects that require liaison or communications between departments, functional areas and vendors.

    Carer Success Tip:

    The great physicist Albert Einstein said: “You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.” Can you play better than anyone else? Part 3: Make The Right Things Happen.

    Do you want to develop Career Smarts?