Advancing Within Your Company

At LDS Employment Resource Services (LDS Jobs), we'll help you become gainfully employed through education and networking with local companies.

In today’s tumultuous economy it is more important than ever to understand the fundamentals of how to manage your career. With the rapid rate of technological change and the effects of globalization, jobs are changing or even disappearing altogether. By applying time-tested principles you will be in a better position to help yourself and your company be successful:

Develop a Five-Year Plan

Write down where you would like to be in five years. This plan can include job titles you are interested in, locations where you would like to live, companies you would like to work for, and so on. Career plans give you a chance to define the steps you need to take to achieve your goals and to find the people that can help you reach them.  Your plan can also include a tag line of what you want others to think about when they hear your name. View this as your particular “brand,” something that highlights the kind of person you want to become—your professional image. Attending the Career Workshop taught at an employment resource center or self-reliance center will help you to develop a career plan. You can also log in to to record and track your plan. 

Identify Coaches and Mentors

People can’t achieve all their goals without help from others. As you look at your plan, see who can coach you and which people can help you navigate both within and outside your company. As you identify coaches, look for individuals you trust and who are successful. These individuals can identify potential pitfalls and introduce you to others who can help.  In addition, identify someone who is a few titles above your current position, observe what that person does, and ask for advice. Most people want to help; all you need to do is ask and let them know how they can help you. 

Develop Capabilities

Given the rapid rate of change in today’s world, you need to be on the lookout for how your job is changing and if there are any new directions it’s taking. These changes will help you understand what new skills you need to develop. Most large companies and even smaller ones are aware that they need to help their staff develop new skills in order to remain competitive. Take the initiative and ask your manager or supervisor what changes are on the horizon, what you can do to be prepared, and what training opportunities exist. This is also a good time to ask your coaches and mentors what recommendations they have.  

Be a Great Employee

You can discuss strategy all day, but if you cannot excel in your current position, you will not be considered for any promotions. Employers want their employees to be timely, considerate of their team members, productive, and innovative. Are you aware of what your company’s goals are? Do you know what your boss is evaluated on? Take time to ask and find out how you can contribute to these goals. 

Volunteer for Special Projects

If you have opportunities to volunteer for special projects, do so. They afford you a chance to show initiative, learn new skills, and work with people you may not otherwise meet.

Learn to Communicate Well

Effective communication is one of the most important skills in business. Most people believe they are great communicators, but in reality, most of us are not as good as we can be. For example, do you take time to prepare yourself for meetings or do you shoot from the hip? Communication is much more than just sharing an opinion or preparing a presentation. It is the ability to share an idea in a concise fashion and achieve a certain objective. The best leaders are able to communicate clearly. Take time to learn what effective communication really is. 

Learn from Constructive Feedback

Feedback is a gift, even if it is not given well. We all have weaknesses, and we should value what others say about us. When you are given feedback, take time to write it down, and do not get defensive. The most important skill you need to exercise during these moments is the skill of listening. Express your gratitude for the feedback and take time to internalize it. After you have pondered it, if you have questions, go back to the individual, and be prepared with questions and for the responses. Take this feedback and build on it. 

Manage Your Time Effectively

Time management is a skill that will propel you to higher levels within any organization. It requires you to be disciplined and to know when to politely say, “Sorry, I can’t.” There are many books and tips on the subject, so make time to learn about this important skill.

Keep a Record of Your Accomplishments

Create a document where you can keep track of your accomplishments (both in and out of work). This information is something you should use during annual reviews and as points in your résumé. For additional ways to use this information, learn about power statements.  With a list of impressive power statements, you can share with others how you can be a benefit to them. 

Help others with their careers and share your expertise. Help make contacts for people, encourage them, and give them credit for their contributions.

Remember, it is not anyone else’s responsibility to manage your career but yours. The wonderful thing about trying to improve is that you can chart a course and move forward knowing you’ve done your best and you have people to help you. 


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