Position Yourself for Success at Work

In this blog series, our mbaMission Career Coaches offer invaluable advice and industry-related news to help you actively manage your career. Topics include building your network, learning from mistakes and setbacks, perfecting your written communication, and mastering even the toughest interviews. To schedule a free half-hour consultation with one of our mbaMission Career Coaches, click here.

With new full-time jobs just around the corner for many MBA graduates, we at mbaMission wanted to share our advice about how to position yourself for short- and long-term success within your new organization.  

Most people assume that getting ahead means excelling at your job’s duties—it does not. According to executive coach Joel Garfinkle’s book Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level, you must also manage the following if you want to be an effective leader:

  • How do others perceive you? Perception is about your image and is influenced not only by your direct actions but also by the unconscious bias of those around you.
  • How much visibility do you have within your organization? Visibility is about your ability to take initiative, stand out, and be noticed.
  • How much influence do you have within your organization? Influence is about your ability to alter and change situations regardless of your authority.

Read more about these criteria—including why they are important, how to assess yourself, and how to improve—in Joel’s book.

In addition, you may find Donald Asher’s book Who Gets Promoted, Who Doesn’t, and Why: 12 Things You’d Better Do If You Want to Get Ahead insightful for understanding more about why performance is not enough to get you promoted—specifically, how hiring managers and bosses promote candidates based on their ability to provide future contributions to the organization.

After reading these books, you will better understand that managing your career is not the same thing as doing your job. If you want to achieve upward mobility, you must deliver on job requirements but also do the following:  

  • Position yourself for constant learning. Anticipate required technical and soft skills for possible promotions and gain mastery of, or at least exposure to, them.
  • Meet new people within your department and across other departments. Engage within the firm and build relationships with key decision makers.
  • Bring solutions, not problems, to your boss.
  • Make your intentions clear to your boss. Talk about your career path and goals, understand skill set requirements, and seek feedback on how you can improve.
  • Be a positive reflection on the firm. Represent your department professionally both internally and externally.
  • Track your accomplishments and how your contributions have affected the organization.
  • Set a career plan with specific milestones for reflection and potential redirection.

Finally, before implementing any advice on excelling at work, you must understand and consider your target audience as well as the cultural norms and politics of your organization.

We wish you the best of luck in your new role! Our mbaMission Career Coaches are always eager to partner with you as you work toward moving forward and upward in your career.

Have you been admitted to business school? If so, do you want to get a head start on defining your career goals? Do you need help preparing for job interviews or learning how to effectively network with your target employers? Or maybe you want to be a top performer in your current role but are unsure how to maximize your potential. Let an mbaMission Career Coach help via a free 30-minute consultation

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