At times, it may feel like your career is in the hands of others (your manager, company leadership, the economy, etc.). It is not. Your career is totally in your own hands. You ARE the CEO of your career. Take charge and start building your personal brand and thinking bigger. Here are some ideas to get you started.
1. Expand and cultivate your professional network. A strong network is a career gold. Join an industry-related association or volunteer for a non-profit organization. Seize opportunities to organize events or take leadership positions.
2. Approach interviewing as a way to network and learn more about your company's competition. Always entertain the conversation. You never know when an unexpected career opportunity will present itself.
2. Measure your career success by the success of those around you. Take 360 feedback to heart and be the facilitator of positive business outcomes. View every project, initiative or team you are a part of as an opportunity to create a win.
3. Be a problem-solver. It is easy to identify problems or issues. They can arise anytime and exist everywhere. What are you going to do about it? Avoid standing around the water cooler complaining with your peers and colleagues. Instead, organize a brainstorm and rally a team to present solutions to leadership. Be a positive cultural influence at your company.
4. Recognize that context is critical. Avoid forming an opinion before you understand all sides of an issue. Gather facts from all involved parties and seek to gain perspective. The truth normally lies somewhere in the middle. Avoid jumping to conclusions and gossiping at all costs.
5. Get a career mentor. Find someone who will advocate for you and help guide you in your career. Invite successful leaders or colleagues to coffee, learn their story and ask for insight as it relates to your career. Do not be afraid to start the conversation. People like to talk about themselves, so ask thoughtful questions and learn from them.
6. Do something for someone else every day and tell no one. Hold the elevator, open a door, or offer to help carry a box, etc. Go the extra mile for a colleague, your team or a client. Ask for nothing in return.
7. Compete with one person and one person only – yourself. Beat YOUR personal best. Set goals based on your values, want and needs, not on those around you. Focus on you and your work, not on what someone is or isn’t getting around you.
Being the CEO of your career is about taking charge of your personal brand, seizing opportunities and creating them. It is about being positive influence inside and outside of your organization.