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  • garysimon7

CAREER ADVANCEMENT IS NOT ABOUT WHO YOU KNOW, BUT WHO KNOWS YOU!

Ever felt passed over for a promotion you were sure was yours? You're not alone. The frustration of watching someone else ascend the career ladder while you remain stagnant can be maddening. Often, it's not about qualifications or experience; it's about visibility.

 

Picture this: You're in a room full of equally qualified candidates, vying for the same promotion. Who gets the nod? More often than not, it's the person the decision-makers know best. It's human nature to trust the familiar over the unfamiliar. So, what's the solution?

 

Unfortunately, many very capable candidates ignore this aspect of their career, and in the worst case a business may look outside of the organisation to fill a role that could easily have been filled by an internal candidate.

 

So what’s the solution? How do you get known? 

 

Networking.

 

Don't shy away from internal networking opportunities.  The internal and informal lunches and other gatherings can be important for getting known, not only within a functional area, but also when there are inter-departmental meetings that encourage collaboration.  They're prime opportunities to get noticed. Don't be afraid to mingle and make connections.

 

Take a calculated risk.

 

Opportunities to make an impression come and go, but if you talk to any successful finance professional, they will have taken on a project at some point in their career that “made them”.  It's often a project that others fear to take on board, because it is highly visible and carries significant risk if you fail.  However, successfully tackling a challenging job, such as the implementation of a new system or overseeing the on-boarding of an acquired business and doing it well is a chance to shine. It can be a very effective way of raising your profile and can speak volumes about your capabilities. 

 

Identify mentors and influencers.

 

There are two sorts of people that can make a difference to your career.  They are mentors and influencers.  The former can assist you to develop appropriate skills and capabilities for your stage of career.  They can be a safe place and sounding board to express your concerns and to provide guidance on your career objectives and accomplishments.  They are crucially important, but not necessarily in a position to support your advancement in the organisation.

 

On the other hand, influencers can be pivotal to career advancement.  They are likely to be much more senior and part of the decision-making team when it comes to promotions.  These are the relationships that you have to cultivate so that they know you as well as some of your key accomplishments and capabilities. 

 

So firstly, you need to understand your organisational structure and who pull the strings when it comes to promotions.  Secondly you need to find imaginative ways to get their attention in the normal course of business.  Be proactive.  It could be as simple as delivering a report yourself, into their hands directly, rather than sending it as an email attachment.  Catch them in their office early in the morning for instance, introduce yourself and briefly why you wanted to give them the report personally.  You'll be surprised how often they are delighted to meet somebody in the organisation who wanted to meet them. 

 

Lastly, don't be afraid to make your ambitions known. Take a page from the book of a wise CFO who once said, “Not enough people knock on my door and say one day I want your job.” 

 

So take charge of your destiny, make sure that the ‘movers and shakers’ in the organisation get to know how well you are doing, so that when it comes to the next promotion round, you'll be at the top of everyone's list.



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