The Fellowship Blog / December 10, 2019

6 Ways to Take Control of Your Career, Before it’s too Late

With companies less likely to make the investment employees, especially black employees, must contend with navigating the corporate landscape alone. Unconscious bias, unequal pay, and isolation are just a few of the complexities that can decelerate career advancement.

Ideally your company should invest in your development. If not, here are a few ways you can take control yourself and maximize your career development.

  1. Define success: The best way to hit a target is for you to clearly see it. Construct the ideal career development plan by specifying what your success looks like. Align your career goals and life goals to ensure they are complementing each other. While this may seem intuitive, many professionals lack proper career goals.
  2. Find a mentor: Create a personal support system by asking others to help you crystalize opportunities and strengths you may not see in yourself. One of the best ways to do so is through a mentor. This is someone who can help you identify areas of opportunity in your skill set, provide advice, share their invaluable experiences, and even allow you to tap into their network.
  3. Get a coach: Seek outside counsel. Coaches are an excellent addition to your personal support system because they are there to bring the best out of you. A coach will help you identify and take actionable steps toward achieving your goals, increasing your productivity, gaining fulfillment, and raising awareness about your developmental blind spots in your professional as well as your personal life.
  4. Increase your exposure: The adage of keeping your head down and working hard is outdated. Being good at your job isn’t good enough anymore. Decision makers in your organization must not only know of you but have a level of trust in you. This will allow you to take on stretch assignments and take your career to new levels. You can do so by speaking up when the opportunity presents itself, building your network and cultivating key relationships, and volunteering for high visibility opportunities.
  5. Create opportunities for development: Opportunity waits for no one. Be proactive in your career development. Ask to shadow coworkers to learn about their jobs and the necessary skills. Seek formal and informal rotational opportunities to allow you to have a realistic preview of a role without having to fully commit. Conduct informational interviews with leaders and coworkers to understand the skills required and potential opportunities. You then can apply knowledge gained to your goals.
  6. Own it: Play to win, not to lose. When you are hyper-focused on not failing, as opposed to being successful it shows. Your voice, your body language, your approach will reflect confidence when you own it. When focusing on succeeding, you take on an air-of-confidence. It doesn’t mean that you won’t fail but shows that you have confidence in your ability to learn from your failures, get back on track and get the job done. A little confidence goes a long way.

As you may know, The ELC is the perfect development resource for every stage of your career. Whether you are an entry level or C-Suite Level executive, The ELC offers exceptional programs and training tools to keep you ahead of the game. Click here for more information or a list of our upcoming programs.