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How to prepare for your next promotion

If career growth wasn’t one of your New Year’s resolutions, it’s not too late to add it to your list. This is a great time of year to review the trajectory of your career and set goals. If you’re looking for the next rung on the “career ladder” and want to get noticed by management, here are some things to keep in mind:

Separate yourself from your position. Taking pride in your work is one thing. Being known by your title is another. No matter the role, never rely on it to define you. It could end up pigeonholing your responsibilities, and people may fail to see you as a potential candidate for another position. Be as genuine and authentic as possible, and let people get to know you for you.

Find growth opportunities. A job is about duties, whereas a career is about growth. Periodically, take a step back and observe yourself in the workplace. Get to know your strengths and areas in need of improvement. Then, look for ways to build on those strengths, and seek out opportunities to add to your skill set. Focusing on growth will inevitably move you forward into a career.

Act with integrity. No one gets by at work without gaining some sort of a reputation. What do people say about you? Is it good? Always do what you say you’ll do when you say you’ll do it, and you’ll have nothing to worry about. And if you make a habit of going the extra mile, all the better for your reputation.

Be responsive. One of the easiest things you can do for your career is to be responsive. Reply to emails, calls, and texts as soon as possible. Even if you don’t have an answer, make sure the other person knows you’ve read or listened to the request and are working on a response — and give him or her an idea of when to expect it.

Make yourself uncomfortable. Comfort zones can sometimes be detrimental for your career. It’s only when you feel uncomfortable that you’re actually challenging yourself, and a challenge is often the most effective way to initiate professional growth. Get out of your comfort zone by taking on additional responsibilities, involving yourself in a special project, or attending an event or workshop.

Network both internally and externally. Contacts aren’t the same as connections. You always want to build relationships with the people you work with (not to mention, other professionals in your industry). Look for ways to make connections with contacts, and go so far as to put a system in place so you never forget to reach out with some regularity. You never know when a simple “Hello” can turn into a job opportunity.

Talk to leadership. There’s only one person who’s thinking about your career, and that’s you. Make leadership aware of your plans for your career, and ask for some advice on what steps you’ll need to take to get you there. If you have a boss willing to mentor you, take full advantage of that opportunity.

Not everyone lands on a job that leads to a career right out of the gates. It can take time. Be part of your employer’s budget talks by positioning yourself as an individual, working towards growth, and establishing a solid reputation. This will also give you the best opportunity to become as successful as you want to be.