3 strategies to forge your own career path
Thursday, May 16, 2013
By Leanna Cruz
There’s an upside to the constant change and uncertainty in today’s workplace —
opportunity. Your career path may be unclear, but that puts you in the driver’s
your company has programs to accelerate your career success, you’d be smart to
include them in your career development plan. If not, that’s no reason to let
success pass you by. In both situations, you drive your success.
these three strategies when plotting out your career roadmap:
1. Commit to lifelong learning and proactive career development. To
continuously advance your career, you must remain relevant. Keep your skills
and knowledge current and learn new skills and knowledge before you need it.
Read voraciously. Attend conferences and seminars to learn from speakers and
about new trends, practices and successes from fellow attendees. Webinars and
teleseminars are useful when time does not allow you to attend live events. Audios
are convenient while commuting and an effective resource for repetition.
your company offers leadership, management or professional development
programs, arrange your schedule to take advantage of them. If your company does
not offer these opportunities, be proactive and identify outside opportunities
and resources that will help you advance.
being a proactive leader and ask for what you need to enhance your value and
effectiveness. Do not allow your career to stall by sitting back and doing nothing
while waiting for instruction. Not making time for development indicates an
inability to manage time, an apparent disinterest in career advancement and the
potential to be overwhelmed if given the responsibility of a position at a
2. Show them what you’ve got. Women, especially, must demonstrate
leadership skills before being promoted. While it’s not unheard of for
organizations to advance individuals without already having the skills needed
for a new job, the demotion rate of such promotions is high.
skills do not automatically come with promotion — and many companies fail to
offer the support that managers need to transition to leadership. You need to
develop you own plan to develop the skills you’ll need. You may not have a
complete arsenal of skills when a leadership position is presented to you, but
you can give yourself every advantage to succeed.
3. Take risks. Doing your current job well does not necessarily
identify you as someone who expects career advancement — in fact, it may send a
signal to leadership that you’re content where you’re at. To climb up you need
to step up by seizing new responsibilities, even those stretch assignments
outside your comfort zone.
develop new skills, demonstrate your unique abilities and forge new
relationships. You’ll discover what you don’t know, what you need to learn and
how to ask for information, help, support, feedback and clarification.
a manager whose primary responsibility is to ensure that projects are completed
and quotas met, you’ll need to look at your career from a new perspective.
Leaders do not always have detailed instructions and goals. Leaders must be
comfortable taking action on their own.
requires risk-taking, and that can be scary. You can
start out small. Be willing to confront the possibility of failure, while collaborating
with others and maximizing your opportunities to succeed.
advancement requires developing new skills, assuming new responsibilities and taking
risks. When you succeed on a bigger playing field, you’ll build a positive
reputation and get noticed. You’ll even notice that you’ll be encouraged to
take risks and forgiven for honest mistakes. In other words, you’ll be treated
like a leader.
Career advancement specialist
Leanna Cruz is president and CEO of Positively Successful Career and Positively
Successful magazine, a resource dedicated to helping
mid-career professionals get noticed, get promoted and get ahead.
Views expressed in signed blogs
and user comments are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the
opinions of the Network of Executive Women or its Officers, Board members and