The importance of being happy in your career and feeling a sense of satisfaction can never be overstated. Everyone deserves to love what they do, find their calling, and fulfill their purpose. My goal is to encourage each of my clients to be inspired and excited to go to work every day. If moving up to an executive-level leadership role is a career dream in your heart, then here are ten tips to help you get there.
1. Have a Teachable Mindset
To move ahead, be coachable and teachable. This means readily accepting feedback from supervisors who will be more willing to share their experience and knowledge with you if you are open to it. Your willingness to accept feedback and coaching will be noted by those around you and will ultimately lead to more opportunities. When you have the attention of supervisors and industry leaders, ask questions as you will learn more simply by absorbing what they have to say.
2. Become a Lifelong Learner
Taking courses, pursuing new certifications, and partaking of online training will keep you abreast of the latest developments in your industry and ensure that your skills remain relevant. By becoming a lifelong learner, you open yourself up to more opportunities as employers take note of those willing to learn and grow. This is especially true of industries where there is constant change such as in technology.
3. Industry Experts Are Valued
Discover as much as you can about your industry. Read books, articles, and blogs by leaders in your field. Conduct research about your industry, trends, and changes that are occurring. Talk to experts in your business to become an expert in your own right. You may need to return to school, take a few courses, or attend some seminars to get up to speed. Connect with those you respect at the top of the corporate ladder for advice and find out if they would be willing to mentor you.
4. Network and Connect
Most people find out about job openings through their professional connections and social networks. This is just as true for executive positions. Connect strategically with others to increase your visibility online as well as in person. For example, if you want to work for a certain company, reach out to those employed there via social media or phone to network. Not only will you likely find out about job openings, but you will also have better odds of getting your foot in the door.
To become a great connector, help others in their job search where you can. This will allow people in your network to view you as a great connection and they will be more willing to help you in turn.
5. Know Your Brand
Think about the knowledge and experience you have to offer, your accomplishments, and what you can do for your company that someone else may not be able to. Rather than simply focusing on the skills you offer, show potential employers and your current boss how valuable you are to the company and how what you offer they can’t do without.
6. Be Respectable, Dependable, and Honest
By building a reputable persona, you’ll open the door to more opportunity. Being respectable, dependable, honest, and kind never go out of style. Extend consideration to everyone you meet on your way up the corporate ladder as you never know when you may need their assistance. Avoid burning bridges as you change positions or companies. You won’t just be remembered for working your way to the top, but how you got there as well. A good reputation can support your career while a bad one can snuff it out.
7. Authenticity Counts
Interviewing for a new position, particularly an executive role, can be overwhelming for even the most seasoned professionals. Just remember to be yourself, as people can tell when you are being genuine with them. Having faith in who you are and your capabilities is an important leadership skill. By clearly and critically assessing yourself, the company you are interviewing with, and your potential fit, you ensure your status as a favored candidate who can be counted on to make important decisions in an executive role.
8. Inspire Others
Leadership is not about commanding others, but about inspiring those who work for and with you to achieve greatness. Through your character, integrity, and heart, you can lead others to excellence. Show employees that you care about them and not just the company’s bottom line. Connect on a personal level with others, ask them questions, and consider what they have to say. When you inspire others to follow you, they will embrace your vision and do everything in their power to support it.
9. Loyalty and Action Pay Off
Proactive employees and those who are loyal stand out in the minds of managers. If a problem arises and you have a solution before you are asked for one, or you have already taken action to correct it, your supervisors will take note and turn to you when a promotion or other opportunity arises.
As a business owner, my employees who are proactive in handling issues, are loyal, and graciously accept feedback are the first ones I think of when growth opportunities present themselves. These are the same employees I also invest in through training and ongoing development and will create new roles for because they can be trusted and relied upon.
10. Have a Vision
Demonstrate to the hiring panel that you have what it takes to set goals and map out a plan to achieve them by planning ahead. Conduct some background research on the company you are applying at, the team you would be leading, and the role you wish to acquire. Reach out to the hiring manager, human resources, or recruiter you are working with and ask questions about the strength and growth opportunities of the team and company. With this information, you can develop a 90-day action plan for your first several weeks in the position you want to achieve. You’ll be able to express your initiative, value, and ability to lead by sharing your plan with the hiring team.