When it comes to career growth, most people want to do more than just make a bigger salary. While raises and additional benefits are certainly welcome, most people want to also experience the satisfaction of growing more competent at their job, being given more responsibility and possibly even taking on more of a managerial or leadership role. In today’s business world, tenure is not always the most important factor in determining who gets raises, promotions or more prestigious titles. If you want to get ahead in your career, here are three key mistakes to avoid making.
1. Asking for a promotion without having earned it:
Again, just being on or at a job for a certain period of time doesn’t automatically guarantee you a raise or a promotion. You have to actually prove you are a valuable member of the team and can successfully handle an increased level of responsibility. In many cases, the people who successfully negotiate promotions are often already doing far more than their job description entails. Having said that, however, it’s also important to ensure you aren’t taking on tasks or responsibilities that your supervisor or coworkers don’t actually want you taking on. A willingness to do more than is asked of you is important, but it’s just as important to make sure you are also “staying in your own lane.”
2. Not understanding or fitting in with the company culture:
In today’s business world, “soft skills” are turning out to be one of the most important factors in ultimate success. Among other things, these skills and qualities help you navigate the specific culture unique to every company, group or organization. Just simply doing your job well is not enough. It is also important to ensure that you are doing it in a way that fits in with the overall values, mission and vision of the company as well as in a way that fits in with the values, work style and ethics of your coworkers. Remember, your superiors can give you a title, but they cannot make you a leader. As the old saying goes “if you think you are leader but no one is following you, you’re just standing in a field.” Moving up the corporate ladder involves far more than just impressing your superiors, it also involves establishing yourself as a leader among your peers and subordinates as well. That requires a great deal of skill, tact and emotional intelligence.
3. Lack of networking:
Networking is not only important within your own company, but outside of it as well. Networking within your company can help you keep your “ear to the ground” so to speak so you know what’s coming and can read the writing on the wall. Networking within your company can help you build a solid framework of champions and supporters who can come to your aid when necessary. Networking outside of your company, however, can also give you a safety net when your internal supporters can’t save you. Networking outside of your company also helps you keep your options open and to determine if the company you are working for is still a good fit. While you certainly don’t want to bounce from company to company the minute something better comes along, there may come a time when your growth becomes limited where you are and the only way to move forward is to move elsewhere.