Joel Garfinkle is recognized as one of the top 50 coaches in the U.S., having worked with many of the world’s leading companies, including Oracle, Google, Amazon, Deloitte and The Ritz-Carlton. He is the author of seven books, including “Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level.” View his books and more than 300 FREE articles at Garfinkle Executive Coaching.
One of the keys to getting ahead is to create a positive perception of yourself in the eyes of your superiors, your peers and everyone else with whom you come into contact at work. This means making sure people know your strengths and skills so they view you as an important asset to the company. However, you can’t influence the way others see you if your own vision is skewed.
For example, a client once told me, “I’ve met people who think that because they can design a deck to their house, they’re capable of leading a design team to build a 15,000-square-foot addition to a shopping mall.”
Having confidence in yourself and your abilities is essential to getting ahead. It helps to establish trust, respect and confidence from others. But first, you must be realistic and honest with yourself.
Before you try to convince others of your awesomeness, take some time to evaluate your skills and determine whether you truly are ready to move up to the next level in your career. Asking yourself the following questions is a good way to start.
1. What is the next step in my career path?
You must know where you are going if you ever expect to get there. What is your next career goal? Decide what job title fits the position you’d like to advance to next.
2. What qualifications do I need?
It’s time to do a little research. Go to a popular job-search website and search for openings. What type of education is typically required for this position? Do you need to go back to school for another degree or take some continuing education courses? Are there certifications required that you do not possess? Take steps to obtain the training you need to be qualified for the position.
3. Do I have enough experience?
Sometimes, you need two or three years of experience in one position before you can advance to the next level. But while you are waiting, you can improve the way you are perceived in the organization so you are already positioned to get the job when the time is right.
4. Am I performing at the next level?
Ask your boss for opportunities to work on projects that will stretch your abilities and help you grow. Demonstrate that you are ready to take on more responsibility by taking the initiative without being asked.
Once you have a realistic picture of your strengths and skills, you will be able to determine whether others in your organization view them accurately. If you have the skills you need to move up to the next step in your career and others don’t realize it, then you need to work on the way you are perceived. But if you don’t have the right skills and qualifications, be sure to work on that first.