You want the coveted title, the nice office and all the perks that come along with them. So what do you need to do to get there? In fact, it may not be what you need to do, but rather, what you need to not do to advance your career.
Here are 13 behaviors in particular that leave you stuck in a career rut:
1. Showing up late.
Stayed up too late watching your favorite TV show and now you can’t get out of bed when your alarm clock goes off? That’s what services such as Netflix and Hulu are for. You don’t have to stay up to catch the latest episode. Get to bed on time so that you’ll be ready to go on time in the morning.
2. Only doing what you’re paid for.
From time to time, you’ll be asked to do things that aren’t in your job description. Turning them down won’t keep you from getting a paycheck, but it will keep you from proving you’re ready for the next step. Only doing what you were hired to do communicates to your boss that you’re content at your current level.
3. Networking only within your company.
You may work for a great company, but there are other great ones out there too — and they may be looking for someone to step up and fill the kind of position you dream of. You’ll never know about it unless you talk to people at other companies, so be sure you’re using LinkedIn and other online networks to supplement your in-person communications.
4. Staying home.
You’re required to be at your desk during office hours, but what about the company picnics, the get-togethers and the Christmas party? No, you won’t be paid for them, but going to extracurricular functions shows your boss you’re a team player. Unless you absolutely cannot make it, start going to the “outside-the-office” social functions related to your job.
5. Relying on your former education.
Too many people get through their required training and then stop learning. To rise above everyone else in both title and pay, you have be continually learning new skills and improving yourself. This doesn’t have to mean going back to school. You can attend workshops, ask mentors and continue your education to gain new skills that’ll help launch you into your next role.
6. Waiting on someone to find you.
Yes, recruiters are out there, but relying on them to find you amongst everyone else will kill your ability to move up. Make yourself known. Tell them about yourself and why you’d be an asset at a higher-level position. If you want to move up within your company, make it known that you’re looking for advancement and actively seek opportunities, instead of waiting for them to be handed to you.
7. Working alone on your goals.
We all need a little help sometimes. Other people can see things in us that we can’t always see ourselves, allowing them to offer a perspective that’s much different than our own. If you need help, there are coaches out there that specialize in career advancement, such as a resume or small-business coach.
8. Failing to follow through.
Sometimes, you’ll receive difficult tasks that’ll test you in various ways. No matter the task, if you say you’ll do something, make sure you deliver. Failing to do so, even in the face of obstacles, will cut short your ability to advance your career.
9. Being passive.
You don’t want to be known as the hothead of the office, but it’s no better to be the wimp. Voice your opinions and showcase your work. Your boss may not know your worth if you never demonstrate it.
10. Keeping your dreams to yourself.
Tell other people your plans. It helps you be accountable for them, and it also opens the door for them to help you. Keeping quiet about your dreams will ruin your chances of making the key connections needed to move up.
11. Having the reputation of “just another guy in the office.”
Average workers don’t get promoted. Work hard and become the go-to guy for projects and special assignments. Being “just another employee” will damage your ability to advance.
12. Staying in your comfort zone.
Promotions will often take you outside your comfort zone, so be prepared. Take on things you aren’t sure you can handle and find ways to do them anyway. Staying comfortable might sound nice, but it won’t help you advance your career.
13. Reading and hoping instead of doing.
Columns such as this one are published every day, but reading them is a waste of time if you don’t take action. Failing to take action ensures you’ll stay right where you are, killing your upward momentum.
By Sujan Patel