You come home from work, depressed because you have again been turned down for a promotion. So you decide to log onto your favorite app, Intertops mobile casino to check-out of life until it is time to go to bed. Although Interops mobile casino is a great app where you can have a lot of fun combined with chips, your favorite drinks, and good friends, it is not going to help you in getting that promotion you deserve.
You need to take charge of your career. You need to drive your career train, and not just be a passenger on it.
Step 1: Build your Reputation
“How much do you stand out” combined with your overall professional competence.
Reputation = How much you stand out + competence
It is not just about competence, and it is not just about standing out. It is a combination of both of these items.
In some professions, a person does not get noticed unless something goes wrong. So how do you build your reputation without purposely creating problems, so you can run in and fix them?
You need to be your own cheerleader. You need to help others. You need to get involved in the community. You need to network with other professionals. And you need to build long-lasting relationships. These are the keys to building your reputation.
So how do you do that inside your company? You discuss your wins with your employer and get feedback from your boss on how those wins positively affect the company.
Step 2: How do others view you?
Are you kind?
Are you helpful?
Are you intelligent?
Do you do good work?
Do you produce results?
Do you learn quickly?
Are you good at mentoring and teaching others?
These areas are called soft skills or interpersonal skills. They are the skills that are needed no matter what job you are doing. If you are always complaining and have a poor attitude, then your peers will not see you in a good light. They will not see you as management material.
But this also involves technical skills. If you are not learning and growing, then your peers will view your tech skills as stagnant that will over time drag down the team.
Step 3: The stages of your career
Every career follows a similar path, even if the titles are slightly different.
Level 1: Co-op student or internship – In olden days, this was called an apprenticeship. You are working under somebody with the express purpose of them being your mentor and teacher, so you can learn from the things that no college textbook cannot teach you. The parts of the job that you just have to experience for yourself in order to fully understand.
Level 2: Junior Level – Small things you can do on your own, but larger items you still need help and direction from people more experienced than you.
Level 3: Intermediate Level – You do not need somebody looking over your shoulder as you do your work, but you are not ready to lead and be in charge of others. You are a dependable member of the team.
Level 4: Senior Level – You are ready to be a mentor to other developers. You are the one who takes on the tough projects.
Level 5: Lead Level – You are driving the train, and you are determined to get that train to its destination.
Level 6: Tech Lead – The owner of the company talks to you. You may even be the owner of the company.
These stages are not job titles. They are states of mind. Only you can truly define which level you are on. Nobody else can decide that for you. And there are no set rules on how long it will take to move from one level to another level.
How does a person move to the next level?
Stand out as a problem solver
If you see a problem, fix it.
As you become more skilled and more confident, others are naturally going to look up to you and want to learn from you. You will naturally drift into a position of mentoring others.
Get on a high visibility project
The point is not to be famous. The point is to gain experience and to become known as someone who can get things done well.
Jump on the hard stuff
You won’t learn unless your comfort zone is pushed.
Keep an achievements library – a portfolio
Think of a portfolio as your ResumePlus. You have one version of your resume that is a traditional one-page resume. Your ResumePlus is everything that you would want to include in your resume if you were not limited to one page.
Your ResumePlus could be as simple as a bullet list of your achievements, or it can be as detailed as a different blog entry for each bullet item.
Go for a walk and smell the roses
If you sit inside your house, you will become depressed and become inactive. Getting outside, smelling the fresh air, and moving your muscles will put you in a positive light that will have a ripple effect in other areas of your life, including your career advancement.