Here are five recommendations on how you can grab opportunities in the workplace:
- Be a leader. As organizations begin to restart projects, they'll need individuals to lead these initiatives. Volunteering for these assignments can be a good way to demonstrate your ability to assume more responsibility, gain visibility and build new skills.
When opportunities arise, let your manager know about your interest in them. Even if the project in question isn't the right one for you, he or she may have other projects lined up that are better suited to your abilities. Just be careful not to get in over your head. Volunteering for extra duties when your plate is already full can cause your performance to suffer and even lead to burnout.
- Ask for training and development opportunities. Think about how you'd like your career to progress and in which areas you might need to build new skills. For example, if you are an accountant, you might want to pick up leadership and management skills so that you might be considered a worthy candidate should the opportunity arise.
In a recent survey conducted by Robert Half, 41 per cent of CFOs surveyed across Australia and Asia indicated that leadership skills are one of the three most valuable skills for finance and accounting professionals in today's business environment. Companies may have more funds to invest in training and professional development opportunities in the new year, so be sure to approach your manager first. Make a case for how a particular course, seminar or conference will help you and benefit the company. If few internal opportunities exist, be proactive and seek out training programmes through local educational institutions, professional associations or online providers.
- Find a mentor. Getting to the next step can be easier with advice from someone who is already there. Before identifying a mentor however, make sure you are clear about what your professional goals are and what you hope to gain from the relationship. These factors will determine whom you tap on for assistance. For example, if you hope to earn a promotion, you might look to a manager within your firm who has risen through the ranks. If you're interested in switching careers, you might seek the counsel of a networking contact who has moved from IT to sales. Ask friends, family and members of your professional network for recommendations.
- Network. Networking is an important component of any job search. But even if you're not looking for a position with a different firm, keep in mind that it still pays to grow your network, especially inside your organisation. Expanding your base of contacts can help you identify valuable allies and establish connections that make it easier to secure resources and support. And networking can help you move up the career ladder. Making sure you are well known throughout the company could increase your chances of securing one of these opportunities.
- Keep up with new trends. Those who are best able to advance their careers have their finger on the pulse of the field so that they can identify and take advantage of new trends. Stay up to date of developments in your area of specialisation by reading industry publications, online articles and blogs. You may also consider joining a professional organisation. These groups often feature speakers and thought leaders speaking about new developments and trends. Your research will also help you keep tabs on areas of job growth – or contraction – within your industry so you can determine how much promise your current career path has. Think about both the short term and the long term so that you will always find yourself in the right place – ahead of the curve