Making Moves at Work
Career Growth

Making Moves at Work

IF YOU'RE LOOKING TO MAKE A MOVE WITHIN YOUR COMPANY, START BY BUILDING THE RIGHT RELATIONSHIPS NOW.

Movin' on up at work can offer you new skills, decrease career burnout time, and in some cases, increase the overall employee benefits you're eligible for. And it's often considered easier to move up the ladder at your current company than to search for a better position somewhere new. What's not to like?

Don’t get too excited yet. Often moving into a new position at your current company requires just as much, if not more, work than landing a job at a new company. Why?

Hiring managers know that any job should go to the individual that has the skills and the strengths to perform the job efficiently—not just the longest-tenured employee. They know that employees who perform tasks that allow them to utilize their skills are often happier and more energetic. And the happier the individual, the more productive they will be.

Bottom line: Being a chair-filler at a company long-term will not open a mystical portal that grants you any position you want. Be prepared to fight for that new job—even if it's right across the hall.

Being a chair-filler at a company long-term will not open a mystical portal that grants you any position you want. Be prepared to fight for that new job—even if it's right across the hall.

Here’s the gameplan: Be the right person for the job—long before you even go after it—and make sure the right people know all about it. {Click to tweet}

Here are three steps to outshine all of the other applicants (both new and familiar) for the job of your dreams:

STEP 1: BECOME INDISPENSABLE

Recently I found myself ever-so-slowly surrounded by new, inexperienced employees at work. Management needed someone to train the new employees and increase their efficiency to ensure production did not stagnant. Even though that was not "my job", I stepped up to meet the challenge.  

Becoming a very valuable employee gives me an edge over other potential candidates for jobs at my company. If I ever express interest in another role at the company, my manager can speak honestly about my strengths, using concrete examples of what I can bring to a new position. And given my proactivity, there's a higher chance that my name will be brought up in management meetings as a key member of the team.

As you look for opportunities to pursue other roles within your company, the opinions of your managers will play a vital role. The more entrenched your worth is in their mind, the higher the chance they will offer the right recommendation. 

The opinions of your managers will play a vital role. The more entrenched your worth is in their mind, the higher the chance they will offer the right recommendation.

Here are some steps to make yourself a must-have employee:

 - Be more productive (and proactive) than everyone else.

 - Brainstorm and pitch potential solutions to problems (instead of just bringing them up).

 - Become a rock for newer employees to lean on until they become used to the job.

 - Know the minor details on every projects. Keep an eye on all of the moving pieces.

 - Give honest feedback about the state of a project or campaign.

STEP 2: NETWORK AT WORK

The more the hiring manager or leader of the department you wish to move to hears and sees you contributing to the team, the more they will begin to think about you as pseudo-member of the team. Once hiring commences, the interview process will be aided by your established position as an unofficial team member.

Below are some more realistic tips on how to network your way into the position you want.

Meet your potential team members.

Introduce yourself and become friendly with your potential team members. Carefully read their body language, facial expressions, and gestures.

Do more than talk shop. If the relationship is cultivated in the right way, a new contact can:

 - Give insight on the job’s responsibilities.

 - Help you develop the skills necessary to obtain your dream role.

 - Talk you up to their manager.

Interact with other managers.

Face-to-face interactions will allow potential hiring managers to witness your skill and work ethic firsthand. This can give you a key advantage over all of your competition who were either too timid or not ambitious enough to think ahead. Here are three ways to kick-start this aspect of your networking strategy:

 - Pitch ideas or projects that could add quality to the team.

 - Ask well thought-out, unprompted questions or present findings on industry trends. 

 - Admit when you’re having issues, and demonstrate that you’re working to improve.

Utilize social media.

Social media is on the rise. (Yes, still.)

Currently, 87% of companies utilize social media accounts to connect with their customers. This means that either the department or the individuals within the department will likely have social media accounts they utilize for work. Social media can be an ideal way to supplement your other networking efforts, especially if the job you seek is in marketing.

Start utilizing social media by:

 - Interacting with the department or individuals via social media.

 - Sharing the content posted by the department or individuals via social media.

 - Engaging in intellectual conversations with leaders in the industry.

STEP 3: RECRUIT ALLIES

Networking, in its purest sense, is forming relationships now that you can utilize later. But it is not an altruistic activity, nor is it a parasitic one.

Networking when done right is symbiotic. {Click to tweet}

You help your managers or coworkers, and then they return the favor. You become allies.

In order to get the most out of your networking efforts within your company, be proactive. Start now.

Reciprocate.

Building relationships is about balance. You shouldn’t ask individuals for favors without proving that you will be a good ally to have on their side.

Building relationships is about balance. You shouldn’t ask individuals for favors without proving that you will be a good ally to have on their side.

Now is the time to start helping your allies. Begin small. Let them know when you discover little errors in their work (before they turn it in). Give your contacts a heads up when you hear something they might be interested in.

Before getting in too deep, ask them about their goals.

Knowing the long- and short-term goals of your allies will help you determine how you can best help them. Repeatedly offering stellar (and relevant) tips will cement your position as a skilled influencer in their mind, and encourage them to begin reciprocating favors to you.

Share your own goals.

Don’t be too modest. You have professional goals—when the time is right, share them. With co-workers, you can share your goals when you ask about theirs. For managers, your on-on-one meetings or official reviews are great times to share your professional goals.

Ask for that favor.

Part of a manager's unofficial job description is to identify talent, and then guide that talent toward a position that will help the company as a whole. Utilize that fact.

Here are a few tactics you can use to encourage your manager to help you with your networking efforts:

 - Be up front about your goals for the company.

 - Ask about the skills and experience that will be required to meet your goals.

 - Ask the manager to work with you to form a plan that will allow you to hone those skills.

 - Express an interest in potential special projects or duties that will give actionable experience. (You might want to tie those projects to how it will help you with your current duties).

 - Ask if the manager will keep you in mind, when the position once again opens.

* * *

Careers are not static, so building relationships—both inside and outside of your company—is always necessary. Various tactics can be utilized to reach your end goal.

As you pursue your ideal career journey, don’t discount the power that your managers and co-workers can have on your future success or failure. Don’t wait for a new position to be offered to you—proactively pursue the role you want by establishing relationships now.

How have you built strong, reciprocal relationships within your company?

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