Are you ready for career advancement but struggle with how to get there or even what it looks like? As I have advanced in my own career the one thing I have learned is that you need a plan – a key focus for advancement.
You need to be clear, not just on where you want to go next in your career but also why someone should consider you for that next level job.
In my keynote addresses and workshops, I ask the women in attendance to fill in the following sentence:
I help ____________ advance _____________ for/to ______________. I am looking
to get involved in ________________ and need help with ________________.
Let’s break down your brand:
Who do you help? Actually, picture the person in your mind. Be specific. I help companies…is too broad an answer. I help managers, is still too broad. Try to be as specific as possible. It might even help to put in the name of someone you have helped in the past.
I help accounts receivable managers or I help small B2B business owners or I help college-bound high school students….
What does the person you help advance? If you work with AR managers, do you help them advance their receivables percentage – you help them collect on past due accounts? When someone works with you, what part of their life, their business, their department is the focus?
And when you help them with that specific endeavor – what are the expected results? You help the AR manager advance the collection of outstanding accounts to improve their bottom line. For every way that you assist a person, what result can they expect? Are they more organized so that they finish their work on time? Are they better at written communication so that their requests are quickly compiled with?
Let’s break down your career advancement desire:
The second fill-in-the-blank sentence has to do with clearly articulating what you want. If you can’t clearly communicate your goals for the future, it will be difficult for those who are in a position to help.
I am looking to get involved in ________________:
Again, here is where being specific is an advantage. If you just want to get involved in “more” that is a little hard to pin down. Is there a different department within your organization that you’d like to work with? Is there a foundation that you are interested in helping? Is there an industry organizational meeting that you’d like an invitation to?
and need help with ________________:
Trust me when I tell you that people want to help you but they need to be told how. Do you need help with advice, an introduction to someone, to sit in on a board meeting or to find a sponsor? Make sure that once you have this person’s attention, you are very clear on what you need.
As you begin to focus on your career advancement, start by understanding your value and then what you next step is. Once you have completed these sentences you will be ready to spread the word and begin the journey up the ladder.
- Investing in Your Network
- Getting From Here to There
- How to Communicate Your Professional Value More Effectively
- 100% isn’t Always What is Needed
JJ DiGeronimo — the president of Tech Savvy Women — is a speaker, author, and thought leader for women in tech and girls and STEM. Through her work, JJ empowers professional women and consults with senior executives on strategies to retain and attract women in technology to increase thought and leadership diversity within organizations.
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