Maybe you've been at your company for a while now and feel like you're ready to take that next step in the organization. Or perhaps you recently started a new position and want to make sure you are setting yourself up for a future promotion. Regardless of your situation, getting noticed by the leaders of the organization is essential to help you land that next position. Try these three steps to get started.
1. Internal Mentoring Programs
First, see whether your company has an internal mentoring program established. Mentoring can be defined as a professional relationship in which a more experienced professional (the mentor) assists someone with less experience (the mentee) to help him or her grow professionally. The mentor can share his or her own experiences with the mentee, teach the mentee new skills, and share resources to facilitate professional growth and development. It is different from a typical manager-employee relationship because the focus is on overall professional development, not just how the mentee is performing in his or her current role. Mentoring programs can be beneficial for the company as well as the mentee, because the mentee will develop new skills that can ultimately contribute to the company.
2. Informal Meetings
Even if your company does not offer a formal mentoring program, do not be afraid to take it upon yourself to network within your organization. But remember, a relationship takes time to develop. "[Networking] isn't getting a list of 10 people that [you] want to meet with because they are key decision-makers and then meeting with them for 30 minutes and then never talking to them again," Elissa Dactelides, head of learning and development for Cetera Financial Group, said in AIU's recent Serious Talk webinar, "Who's Getting Hired and Why." "So it's very important that you establish the relationship, but that you build it over time." And how do you find the right people to connect with if there is no formal mentoring program in place? Dactelides recommends simply asking your manager or peers, "Who are some people in the organization that I should speak to if I'm interested in X?" That works better than, say, just picking some names out of an internal directory, she said.
Tom Latourette, managing partner at sales management and training company M3 Learning, added, "If somebody reaches out to me and I am two or three levels above them, and they come to me, and they say something like, 'I just want to get better inside this organization. I want to do X. I want to do Y. I'd like to pick your brain. Can I have a cup of coffee with you?' I guarantee you that 90% of the time, that executive will find time to talk to somebody like that." So while you may not be establishing relationships with leaders to flat-out ask for a promotion, letting them see your initiative can help you in the future, should a position become available.
3. Keep the Networking Chain Going
Whether you are participating in a formal mentoring program or having lunch with the leaders of your organization, don't forget to ask whether they know of anyone else you should meet to further your career development. You may not feel comfortable asking this question right away, but as you stay in contact and develop your professional relationship, it is one worth asking. Chances are, they will be happy to help you reach your career goals. As Latourette said, top executives may have been in a similar situation to yours at one point in their career. "And there was probably somebody who took their hand and lifted them up, and they are looking for ways to do that for other people," he said. Good leaders know that the best way to invest in their employees is to take their professional development seriously, and they will be genuinely interested in connecting you with the right people.
Interested in more posts on job search-related topics? Check out our Career Development blog.
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