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10th Oct 2017

Position yourself for Promotion

Sinead Sharkey

It’s that time of the week again and we’ve another fantastic blog from Sinead Sharkey of Generation Women, this week she shares with us how to stand out in your career.

Sinead is the Founder of Generation Women, and is a Career and Leadership Coach. She has almost 20 years’ experience of developing leaders in global corporates. Her passion for helping women excel in their careers has resulted in her clients landing the jobs they want, being head hunted, and stepping up into leadership with confidence.

She’s the Director of Leadership Development for Lean In Ireland, and a passionate advocate for equality.

A common phrase from I hear from the people I coach is ‘I should be further than this by now’. I remember starting my first graduate job in a large company. In my naivety, I think I thought I’d be CEO by the time I was 30.

I wasn’t just oblivious to the amount of time it takes to learn and to work your way there, but I was also clueless about what you can do to really help yourself.

Cinderella Syndrome

I now realise I suffered from Cinderella Syndrome, and maybe you do too? Waiting for someone to notice how amazing I was and sweep me off into senior management!

After a while I realised, it just doesn’t work like that. Sadly, there’s not much reward for those that play small and get on with it. People need to know who you are and what you’re capable of. See the thing is, everyone, including your boss is so caught up in their own stuff that they haven’t got the space left to notice yours unless you make it simple for them.

This isn’t serving you or the business you’re in, so enough! It’s time for you to stand up, take control, and show the world what you’re capable of.

7 Ways to Standout

Of course, there’s lots you can do here are 7 areas to focus on to make sure that you standout:

1. Personal Brand: What do you want to be known for? And how are you putting that out there? If you want to stand out it’s vital to spend time thinking about your brand. You know you’ve got it right when you are the name at the front of everyone’s mind when your perfect project comes up. Think about how you use opportunities to put it out there. Essentially every interaction you have is an opportunity to strengthen your brand identity. (See my last blog for more pointers)

2. Performance Review: Most people mistakenly get their objectives, put them away in a drawer, and don’t think about them again until their performance review comes around. If you want to make your superior performance an inevitability…think about how you build your objectives into your week. Every week.

3. Networking: Most of us know, in theory anyway, that our networks are important. There’s a danger, especially in large organisations, of taking things for granted. Your network isn’t the number of connections, but quality of relationships. When you build great relationships that you nurture, then you will get so much in return. Take time to think about what you can give and do for others, and you will build much more authentic bonds with people.

4. Manage upwards: This isn’t about being manipulative, as some may think. This is about communicating efficiently in a way that works for you AND your manager. Where you consider their style, you anticipate issues, you’re proactive, and understand theirs and the business needs. Your goal is to make your area of the business shine by performing at your optimal level.

5. Sit at the table: There was a point in my career where I was getting really frustrated with not being noticed and not being involved. My manager said, ‘just start turning up at the meetings you want to be involved in’, after that it wasn’t long before I was considered a key contributor…a promotion soon followed. If you’re not there, how will you be noticed? It may not work in your company culture to just turn up, but how can you get a seat at the table? How can you show you will be a valuable addition to the team?

6. Presenting: This is the number one way you can advertise how amazing you are at what you do. Remember, most people aren’t fans of public speaking, so when you volunteer and get good at it, you stand out. Once you’re up there speaking, it’s your platform to let people know what you’re great at. If public speaking isn’t something you’re good at yet, get help.

7. Create opportunities: Don’t wait for the good projects to come to you, look for where you can add value in your business and get out there and let them know. Advertise your brand, speak to your network, let your manager know how you want to learn and grow. Make it happen for yourself.

Your progression and development are your responsibility. No-one else has the time or the passion to invest in it as seriously as you do. Set your goal, get your plan, and go for it. And if you really want to accelerate your career, then get yourself a coach!

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