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Six steps to heaven

Speak up for yourself and you can take control of your career, says Karen Young, who offers six suggestions to help you do just that

May 2016

Shouting about your successes and career ambitions can feel uncomfortable for many people, but this skill is important if you want to get ahead in your career. Our latest research, the Hays Global Gender Diversity Report 2016, found that both men (32%) and women (44%) do not feel they have the opportunity to communicate their ambition and self-promote in the workplace.
Making sure other people know what your goals are will help make sure youíre considered for future opportunities, and give you greater control of your career path. Here are six ways to raise your profile in the workplace to help you with your career progression:
1. Meet your targets: First things first Ė perform well and meet your targets. This shows your employer your future potential. If you want to be recognised professionally it needs to be for the right reasons.
2. Shout about your successes: and show your enthusiasm Donít be afraid to shout about your successes to others. If you are working hard and performing well donít be embarrassed to share your success with your boss and colleagues. Be sure to shout about the success of peers and colleagues too, as it helps show you thrive in a high performance culture.
Be open about your enthusiasm to learn and take on new responsibilities, whether this is through shadowing a colleague, becoming a designated IT expert or volunteering to learn new skills and take on projects that go above and beyond your job description.
3. Invest in your own development: Nothing shows you are keen to progress like investing in continued development of your own skills. You will be learning technical accounting skills as you study for your exams, but think about any additional training you might need to develop your IT or communication skills. Put yourself forward for training opportunities or request opportunities to shadow your colleague in another department for example.
4. Find yourself a mentor: To get noticed you need to be pushing yourself outside your comfort zone. Find yourself a mentor, someone whose career path you admire and who can give you regular guidance on what skills you need to develop to progress. The benefits of a mentor are two-fold. Not only can they offer you guidance and support, they can also be a positive advocate for you to other people in the organisation, or potential employers in their network in the future.
5. Itís about your attitude as much as your aptitude: Nothing will affect your reputation like a good attitude on top of your aptitude! Get yourself into a positive frame of mind. When you see a problem or challenge take a solution to your boss, not just a problem. When your boss gives you feedback take it on board and act on it in a tangible way. This will demonstrate that you are serious about your development and respect their views.
6. Stand out and speak up in meetings: This means preparing well for meetings by getting sight of the agenda and delegates in advance. Start to formulate your views, ideas and relevant action points beforehand so that you are fully armed to stand out in that all important meeting.
Above all, itís about taking ownership of your career, being proactive and taking the initiative without being afraid or embarrassed to communicate your successes and raise your profile in the workplace. If you donít take control and take steps to self-promote and push ahead in your career, no one will do this for you.
Find out more about ambition in the workplace at http://gender-diversity.haysplc.com
ē Karen Young, Director, Hays Accountancy and Finance

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