More than often, Latinas leave the responsibility of advancement in the hands of their immediate manager, or hope it will happen by chance or solely because of hard work. If only it were that easy. So what exactly are you responsible for? What do you need to do to advance, secure that promotion, or move up the career ladder? The answer lies in taking the lead on your career and committing more energy to it than anyone else. Below are a few pointers to help you gain some perspective.
Start With A Self Inventory
Be honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses. Identify the things you are exceptional in and those in need of improvement. Solicit formal and informal feedback from trusted individuals that can help you identify those areas. Leveraging your strengths and working on your weaknesses will make you a well-rounded professional and better prepare you for advancement.
Set Goals and Envision Yourself Where You Want To Be
What are you working towards? What heights do you want to reach? Identify your goals and get a realistic perspective of what you are aiming for. Review your goals regularly to ensure they are in line with what’s really happening and adjust them if necessary as things change. Don’t forget to use the performance review process as an opportunity to further identify goals recommended by your manager.
Focus On Performance
Skills are doubtlessly important, as they are your first line of defense in proving yourself and your abilities. Understand your job responsibilities and be prepared to consistently deliver results. Don’t assume you’re doing an outstanding job. Ask your manager, even if informally, as well as your colleagues. Outstanding performance and strong skills gain you respect and opens up new opportunities. A job well done is a job remembered.
Hone Your Skills
Look for consistent ways to improve your skills or obtain new ones. For instance, if public speaking is not your forte, look to improve it. This will help your confidence and speaking abilities when in front of senior leaders. Many organizations offer training and development courses, as do most local colleges. If you’re gearing for a new role, figure out what that new role requires and get the training necessary to excel in it. Ignoring chances for self-improvement means you’re holding yourself back from accelerating.
Raise Your Hand and Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
Staying in your seat with your head down pushing out work will not get you noticed. Step out of your comfort zone by raising your hand for stretch assignments that will challenge your skills and get you recognized by senior leaders. You can do the best job possible and have excellent skills, but if they are not being put to use or you are not being noticed, your chances for advancement remain low.
Build A Board Of Directors
Seek out professionals to ask for their guidance, learn from their experiences and benefit from their wisdom. It is important to build a support system comprised of trusted individuals that advice, counsel and champion for you. The very best relationships are informal so don't get caught up with formality. Also, keep in mind that mentorship relationships don’t necessarily have to be with senior leaders. Creating a networking comprised of lateral relationships is extremely helpful, as are relationships outside of your immediate division and/or organization.
Gain From Networking
You need to meet as many people as possible in your department, in the company and outside of it. Never pass up on opportunity to meet other influential leaders and colleges. Get your name out, learn what people do and allow people to learn what you do. When opportunities open up, they are going to have you in mind.
Build Your Brand
When people think of you, you want to make sure they do so in a positive light and in terms of your capabilities. Build a reputation that is associated with top potential. You want people, especially those in upper management, to know about your skills, leadership abilities and any competencies that are associated with executive leadership.
Career management is one of the least thought of, yet most important aspects of advancement. Indiviudals look for a path to follow but oftentimes there is no set path. Instead your advancement is dependent upon the path you establish by stepping up to create the career and opportunities you so desire. Failing to focus on this dimension of your life is simply a waste of your talent and potential.