When I took my first job at CareerBuilder as an account executive, I swore I was never going to work anywhere longer than seven years, ever again. Well – I’ve been here for 13 years, now serve as Vice President of Sales, and I credit that longevity and personal growth to a great company mission and a laser focus drive to make every day count.
I want to share with you three lessons and strategies that have shaped my professional career: creating opportunities for myself, asking for and chasing promotions, and knowing what’s right for me.
Create opportunities for yourself
Each time I was ready for a new challenge, I asked myself how I could create opportunities for growth and advancement. I looked at where I thought I added the most value to the team. In sales, success is based on a formula, and we can learn a lot from that strategy. We all have something that we excel at, repeatedly, regardless of position or industry.
I ask you to think about, “What is your formula, and what can you bring to a team?” What makes you unique and successful, over and over again? Apply those experiences everywhere you go and ask tons of questions, and you’re going to win.
Be direct and ask for what you want
There were a couple of instances when I was asked to take on more, or rewarded with a better title for what I accomplished, but my big gains came when I just went after it. I had a vision of what I wanted to do, built a plan around that, gave that plan – and the data to back it up – to my boss, and said “This is what I’m going to do.”
Know your numbers and drive them to the highest level, and know and understand your worth within your organization.
Create a path for promotion by making sure the right people know what you want, showing them what can come from that ambition and asking them to take a chance.
Know what’s right for you
It’s also worth noting: saying “no” to a promotion can sometimes be the right answer. Only you know when the time is right to take on more responsibility.
You should ask yourself not only why you should or shouldn’t take a job, but also why you stay at one. For me, it comes down to baseline filters about what’s important in my life and career.
When I think about why I am still at CareerBuilder, after 13 years, it’s because every role that I’ve taken on has been a great opportunity to learn and grow really fast. As I’ve been challenged and as I’ve grown, this experience is not stopping. The evolving is not stopping.
Your career is yours. No decision you make is the wrong decision. You either learn, or you grow. Feel confident in whatever it is you’re doing, and don’t let anyone get in the way of your success. If I can provide one succinct message, it would be: hone your craft, learn and absorb everything, and then put blinders on and go!