Create Your Own Path

by Brenda Koritko

Tired of watching other workers advance their career as you continue to exceed all expectations in your position? If you have experienced this situation, even once, you know that you can’t continue to wait for others to decide when you should be offered a promotion. Even if you are not ready to make a job change today, you will benefit from knowing how to put into action a successful self-promotion plan.

Unfortunately, if no one knows how much you contribute to the company, you will continue to miss the next great opportunity. Letting people know that you are interested in advancing your career is the first step in an effective self-promotion plan. You can simply advise your immediate supervisor or a representative from your human resource department, but remember the old adage that “actions speak louder than words”, and plan to make a lasting impression.

One successful technique is to single out an unresolved challenge that exists in your company. Try to pick a situation that your combination of experience and skills will benefit. Write a memo that outlines the need you discovered and highlights how you will use your skills to resolve the problem, and contribute to the immediate objectives of the team or department involved. Send your memo to the person that would benefit most from your unique approach, for example, your boss or a human resource representative.

Don’t wait for your organization to discover the same need. By waiting, you take the chance that they may decide to post the position, or they may decide to promote one of your peers. By being proactive, you create a win-win situation. You may gain a challenging opportunity that you will enjoy and eliminate the need for a competition. Even if a new opportunity does not result from your actions, you have successfully created an opportunity to demonstrate your value to the organization, and possibly increased the likelihood that they consider you for the next rewarding opportunity.

Volunteering is another way to demonstrate your value while expanding your knowledge in critical areas of your company. Volunteering also provides a great way to earn a reputation for being reliable, professional, and cooperative. Keep in mind that while you are volunteering, you may discover a need that you have the skills and experience to resolve. A great advantage in this situation is that by being involved, you know the right person to contact; it may be the person you are working with in your volunteer position.

The more you know about yourself, the more you will communicate about your value to the right people at the right time. Record everything that you do to enhance the company’s bottom line. Start today by dividing a blank sheet of paper into three columns with three separate headings: action, result of action, and impact of action. Keep this paper with you as you do your job.

Your key accomplishments are probably actions that you take for granted. For example, if you are responsible for accounts payable, in column one write paying invoices; in column two write the result of this action, for example, paid in time – no interest payments, and in the third column write the impact of this action, for example, a decrease in the cost of production. Did you think of this action as related to decreasing cost, or did you think of it as doing part of your job? How do you think others view this action?

Scheduled performance reviews provide the perfect opportunity to showcase your accomplishments. By being proactive and creating opportunities, you improve the likelihood that you will gain the attention of your employer and the promotion that you deserve.

Brenda Koritko is the author of “I Manage Me” a timely ebook providing techniques to help you achieve your immediate career goals with benefits throughout your career. Secure rewarding opportunities with companies that are actually hiring.