Should you advocate for your career? If you’re like me, you might have felt some fear around this — most women do. In fact, a lot of people feel fear when it comes to advocating for their careers. And you know what? It’s completely normal to have the fear! However, if you’re looking to advance in your career or get the promotion you’ve always wanted, then advocating for yourself is absolutely necessary. If you’re not sure where or how to start, then here are 3 tips to help you outline your steps toward promotion:
- Get clear. If we’re not clear about where we want to go in our career, then we won’t be able to share this direction or vision with our managers. That’s why it’s important to take some time to think about what it is you really want and where you’d like to be in the future.
- Make a plan. In life, we’ll go through different seasons and stages, and looking to the future will help us decide where we need to go or want to be. The beautiful thing is you can always change your destination, but having a plan will actually help you get there. Once you know where you’d like to go in your career, it’s time to map out what that looks like and how to get there. In my online course as well as my book, God’s Not Done With You, I tell people to create a Career Advancement Journey where you outline the position opportunities you want, the responsibilities of the job, and the type of training you’ll need. Don’t worry about the skills you don’t have currently or how little you feel you know about your desired position. Eventually, you’ll acquire the skills needed for the job over time — just like you always have in the past.
- Talk with your manager. The next thing you’ll want to do is talk with your manager. If you haven’t shared with your manager where you’d like to go in your organization, chances are they’ll never know. I know a lot of times we want to be recognized for the skills and talents we possess and all the hard work we do every day, but that doesn’t happen all the time. If your goal is to be chosen for a position, then your best chance of making that happen is to share your plans with your manager. In fact, if you’re transparent with what you want out of your career with your manager, you can be recommended for strategic projects in the future. I suggest checking in with your manager frequently to have a regularly scheduled meeting about your progress, especially now when fewer managers are tying reviews with career advancement discussions. These meetings can be done monthly, bi-weekly, or even weekly!
Having your Career Advancement Journey written out will also help you consider whether or not certain projects recommended to you are actually in alignment with your advancement. For instance, if your boss gives you additional work, knowing where you’d like your career to go will help you discern whether or not this additional work is beneficial to you in learning needed skills, gaining more insight into the division you’re hoping to advance to, or if this is just busywork that anyone could do that may keep you stuck in the long run. Understanding which projects are worth your time and effort is just one benefit of mapping out your plan for promotion and puts you in the driver’s seat of your career.