Whether it is in my people development representative or mentor roles, I am often asked what people can do to improve their opportunities for career development or advancement. Below are 7 possible things to consider, that I make reference too during conversations, to help in reflection and development planning.

Are you delivering?
As performance is widely measured via the accomplishment of objectives, consider whether you are delivering on the objectives you have been set. Are you behind, meeting or beating the measure of those objectives? Also, remember it is not always about the what, it can be just as important to consider HOW you are meeting them. Are you demonstrating effective and positive business behaviours in the accomplishment of your goals? Business behaviours assessment is becoming increasingly important.

Carpe diem!
Opportunities can present themselves in a variety of guises; a high profile project, a short-term secondment, a process improvement opportunity that you surface. What ever it is, there can be a lot of positive development, press, opinion and network building achieved by ‘siezing the day’. Remember the SAS motto “Who dares wins”

Professional Development
Whether you work in Engineering, Finance, Marketing or Purchasing, it can have a positive impact on your progression and your professional standing if you hold a recognised professional qualification or are a member of a recognised professional body. This has particular relevance where the receipt of the qualification/membership has to be via demonstrated competence, not just by the payment of a fee.

Are you marketing yourself effectively?
Do others know about the value you are adding? Are you using your network to communicate and sense? How much visibility have you and your accomplishments got? Obviously, there needs to be a balance here between getting the message ‘out there’ and blantant self-hype. However, if nobody knows about your successes how are they going to know what you can do and are capable of?

Who are your customers?
In my experience, many people do not recognise the various people that they interact with within the workplace as customers. With that, they do not recognise what people expect or want from them and, therefore, do not deliver to those expectations. The customer for your process is not necessarily the person buying the end product or service of your organisation, they are more likely to be the next person/department in the internal supply chain. Similarly, those people who supply you require just as much thought; all of them have their own reporting relationships and networks, all of which can positively or negatively influence others perceptions of you. Which brings me nicely onto my next point…

How do others see you?
Remember, it is not only your line manager who has influence over your career. Your network, your customers, your suppliers, your peers, your manager’s peers… the list goes on. All of these people, through interactions with you, your interfaces or through observations made can develop an opinion of who and what you are. Depending on what that opinion is and who they decide to talk to about it, can have a significant impact on you and your career progression. I draw a parallel here with an old addage I used to hear about sales, it takes several positive experiences before someone will recommend you but it will take only one bad experience for someone to tell a number of their friends about it.

Are you a problem or a solution?
Be honest with yourself, are you the sort of person who spots a problem and proactively takes steps to fix it or do you do nothing and moan about it? Are you the “it’ll never work” type or do you look for ways to make things work? People who are “can do” and get things done tend to get more favourably looked upon.

Let me know what you think. I would welcome your comments.