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How to maximise your career potential

Posted on from USP Business Development Limited

How can you raise your profile, increase your prospects and keep yourself firmly in the foreground when leadership decisions are made? Sue McCauley provides her top tips and practical steps.

Making your voice heard at work

How you express yourself, interact with others and make yourself known in your organisation illustrates your capabilities and confidence, your values and commitment.

Do you:

  • Say what you think or think what you say?
  • Let others speak up and then agree/disagree?
  • Blurt out misplaced comments or humour? 

How you interact and participate is noticed by your colleagues and bosses, so you need to be aware of your style and the impressions you create.

Are others clear about where you stand on issues, and why, and do you know how you impact on others. Are you communicating what you mean to say, in the way you mean to say it? If you are, you can go on to build high levels of trust, vital to creativity, collaboration and sound working relationships.

Practical tips to making your voice heard

  • Be consistent and reliable in what you do and say
  • Put your hand up to lead on projects or initiatives where you have good skills/experience
  • Introduce new ideas, confidently; identifying any weaknesses you are aware of
  • Take the initiative when you encounter problems, suggest solutions and how they can be applied
  • Speak positively and constructively, particularly if you want to influence change
  • Listen to what others have to say and be prepared to offer your support           

Proving your value

Are you good value? Do you know what you are worth to your organisatio - not what you're paid, but what is an hour of your time worth? The difference is that you cost your organisation far more than the package that you receive, so there is an expectation that you will give back, in terms of personal effort, initiative, behaviour and attitude to help the business grow and prosper.  

Are you still the enthusiastic achiever who boldly reeled off skills, experience and capability to get yourself selected or promoted? Do you bring x-factor qualities that build value in your team and your organisation, such as energy, superior knowledge and relationship building skills?

  • People with energy drive motivation 
  • People with knowledge drive progress 
  • People with relationship building skills drive sales and business development 

Be sure you appreciate the qualities you bring to your role as well as the capabilities.

Finally, how are self-publicising what you do? Having quiet confidence is too subtle in a large organisation and if you want to progress it’s important to make your achievements and contributions obvious, in a way that does not diminish others. At the very least, ensure you use appraisals as an opportunity to update your line management with clear facts on where you and your team have made a difference to the business.

Practical tips to increase your value

  • Be aware of how your organisation is growing and how you can keep contributing to that growth
  • Learn how political, environmental and industry changes affect your organisation
  • Embrace learning and development opportunities, both on and off the job
  • Participate in CSR activities to build your experience and connections with colleagues
  • Keep your CV fresh with new achievements, skills and experience

Lots of us allow our CVs to gather dust as we make our way through our career trail; only giving it daylight when there is a crisis. Yet this document should be a record of our on-going achievements. It can act as a spur to galvanise some new learning and development or a confidence boost when appraisals are due.

Grab fresh career opportunities

If you believe you have reached the limit of your capabilities, you probably have. If, on the other hand, you're frustrated because you believe you are capable of much more - then reach out and grasp some fresh opportunities. Increasing your potential means taking risks and exploring new possibilities and that requires a genuine desire to change or improve.

  • When was the last time you really took a risk?
  • Volunteered for a task that would make your stomach churn?
  • flew by the seat of your pants?
  • risked putting forward a bold and daring new idea?

If all of the above makes you feel a little queasy, start with some smaller challenges, outside your workplace and build your confidence slowly. Be inspired by individuals who let nothing stand in their way. Move out of your comfort zone into the ‘growth zone’ widening your reading, socialisation, learning and say ‘YES’. Failure and errors are a part of taking risks, so be prepared for some misadventures and have the resilience to jump back in at the deep end.

Practical tips to increase your career potential

  • Set your goals 1, 5 and 10 years from now – take daily actions to accomplish them
  • Find a role model and emulate the behaviour and traits that you want to own
  • Expect to succeed. No-one ever got anywhere by wishing and trying is just an excuse
  • Invest in some self-motivation books, DVDs and assert a ‘can do’ attitude
  • Stop watching TV and playing games and learn a new art or join a new social group

Believe in yourself and you can achieve anything.

USP Business Development Limited

USP Business Development Limited

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