Thursday, February 18, 2016

9 Tips To Advance Your Career

Let the Admins Admin
Naturally, with every office job comes the inherent admin work we have to do to keep our own desk in order and I’m certainly not referring to that. And if you are in an admin specific role, I’m definitely not talking to you. But if you are in a career path that is moving in a different direction, women should watch how much they are sucked into admin tasks outside of their job scope. It’s a fine line and one that is case-by-case but I personally think it’s important to recognize that you aren’t there just to make copies because you are female and you don't need to clean up the cake after a party just because you're female. Should you never help with things like that? No. That's not what I'm saying. But women, way more than men, tend to get pigeon-holed into the 'caretaker' role in the office. Stand up for your potential and your job description if someone is tethering you back to that repeatedly without warrant. It’s a slippery-slope and often ends up reducing your value and eroding your stature with others.

Stop Apologizing
On the toes of the above idea, stop saying “sorry” to people. Of course if you have wronged someone or messed-up, then by all means. But don’t say “sorry” because you took a chair at a meeting you were invited to. Don’t say “sorry” because you need more information on a task that you’ve been given in order to do it well. Use proactive and strong wording that values your earned place in the office. For instance, skip: “Sorry, can you clarify this a bit further?” and replace it with: “When you said XYZ earlier, can you clarify what you meant by that?”. The exact same point comes across and you didn’t just apologize for merely existing in the workforce.

Dress the Part
Original thought, huh? But I feel that it's something so easy to miss some days. Believe me; I'm guilty of it too on tired mornings. But I really feel that the way you dress and the way you present yourself at work is the first indicator of your professionalism and potential. “Jeans day” doesn’t mean sloppy gardening clothes day. It means dark wash denim and a looser blouse. Of course this varies by industry and company climate but there is still a standard at your work that you should exceed. Nike is headquartered in a Portland suburb and I have quite a few friends who work there. You are (obviously) allowed to work adorned in Nike athletic clothes. However, my friends have told me repeatedly that it’s still workout clothes that match a professional, hip environment and not just any baggy sweatpants with a swoosh on them. Get to know the culture of your company and dress accordingly.

Get Your Hands Dirty
Pitch-in and help others when you have the capacity. During times of high-volume, see where you can help lighten the load for the office and impact the bottom line for the better. Often times, even offering your services to a stressed-out colleague will benefit you greatly when it’s you who needs the help.

Keep Your LinkedIn Current
It’s easy to tell when someone is working to get a new job when you log into LinkedIn and they’re updating every single thing all at once. You should constantly tweak your LinkedIn so it not only stands out, but remains up to date. Not only does that open you up to current opportunities but it also makes it less obvious if you decide to job hunt while you’re still at your current job. Sidenote: Don’t make your profile picture a car selfie.

Ask Questions Often
If someone says something you don’t understand that is obviously crucial to your line of work, you have two options to remedy that. 1) Ask them then and there what they meant OR 2) Jot down a note about it and find the answer from another source later. Just don’t stay in the dark about it. Many people don’t even notice how frequently they are using jargon that others aren’t familiar with. You are not an idiot for asking for clarification. In fact, you’re the opposite of everyone else who just nods along pretending they understand.

Happy Hour like a “Mad Men” Character
Okay, well not that much. I think we all know that none of those men likely lived past 50 with all the alcohol and cigarettes. However, you SHOULD attend happy hours and team gatherings that exist outside of work in regular enough occurrences. I don’t know what “regular occurrence” is for you based on your job, industry, culture of work, etc. but I do know that when they happen, you should be there. It’s important to engage with your peers outside of the office. How you are perceived by others in the office and your likability factor has a big impact on how others feel about working with you in a professional manner.

 Keep In Touch With Old Colleagues
Most likely, your best resource for your next career move is your previous coworkers. Former colleagues are the networking jackpot for the future. Keep your relationships with them active. At best, that would include some face-to-face interaction at some point. At least, keep abreast of them on LinkedIn. I believe that it’s next to impossible to GET someone a job. But I do believe that people CAN always get someone an interview.  Your former colleagues will be the largest resource for you in this regard or you will be the one recruiting them to your own company. Either way, the networking and relationship can be mutually beneficial (even if it's just to have someone to talk shop with).

Do Your Work and Do It Well
It goes without saying that one of the best ways to succeed at work is to – wait for it, wait for it… - do your job well! Imagine that. But it goes beyond that simple statement. A good employee would think of their work progressively. Get your stuff done. Communicate with your colleagues. Be approachable. Just do your job as well as you can.If you have a 60% day now and again, make up for it with a 140% day immediately following. Be a reliable person who just gets their ish done.

 What do you think about these? Any to add?

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Ashley Lillis said...

I totally agree with you about dressing the part! My husband's company used to be casual dress, and he could literally just wear shorts and a tshirt to work. He started to realize that if he dressed up a little bit, he felt more professional and others too him more seriously too. And socialization with your coworkers is so important! There's a group of us that always try to go to Happy Hour at least every other month, just so we can hang out outside of work!

Kate at Green Fashionista said...

Awesome list, especially dressing the part, attending happy hours, and staying in touch with old colleagues. My company has no dress code, as long as you're not wearing a bathing suit (although I saw a guy in boardshorts today) it's ok. But I try to dress more on the side of business casual most days which I feel helps me feel like I'm actually at work. And that green top you posted? LOVE <3
Green Fashionista

Pat Hatt said...

I stay in touch with many, don't say sorry for stupid things and get the job done. Umm happy hour? Yeah, I skip that lol all people do here is drink and get fat it seems, no thank you.

Emily @ Martinis | Bikinis said...

Great tips! I try to do all of these but I agree women often get roped into the admin/event planner roles in the office. LinkedIn is very important. I get a ton of job inquiries via LinkedIn.

SMD @ lifeaccordingtosteph said...

Great list.

It pisses me off that women are naturally expected to clean up dishes etc. We battle back at that here in my office. We're a small but loud group. LOL

I don't do every gathering but I make sure I do some.

When in doubt, wear business casual gear!

Evelina said...

These are great tips, especially for us women in the workforce!

Jax said...

These are great tips!!! Especially the admin one. A couple of years ago a salesman walked by my desk said "can you make me 2 copies and put them on my desk?". Um...what?? I'm not even in your department and why would I make your copies? I realized then that I was becoming way to helpful and had to step back a little bit.

Marie said...

These tips are so helpful. Dressing the part is so important and so many people don't realize that. Helping others when they need it is also important. So many people don't offer to help others in the workplace and I think that is so wrong. When someone tells me that's not in my job description, I go crazy.

Andrea Nine said...

Great advice and oroud to say I practice many of these! However, I do need to start, well I should say stopping to apologize. I apologize way too often! I hope your weekend is as wonderful as you are girl!

Laura Darling said...

These are all great tips. I am a supervisor and when people say "I'm sorry, but..." it drives me nuts! I once heard someone say that when men are in meetings and have something to say, they say it. When women have something to say, they turn to the person next to them and say it to kind of "test" the idea. It made me think about my own behavior in meetings and I am guilty of that, so now I try to make sure I speak up confidently!

julie @ said...

Agreed! And definitely stay out of office gossip!! And keep your personal life personal. I've seen too many cases of people getting back stabbed. What a vicious world we live in!!

Jaime @ laviejaime said...

awesome tips! and i love that green shirt you linked.

Kristen @ See You In A Porridge said...

lol i would totally wear the 'hell no' shirt to work, don't judge me. but not the jeans, shoes or bag. i have no desire to advance my career - i'm not lazy or anything, i'm just not career driven. i am happy where i am for now. but i still like all of these tips for dressing well (at least not like a slob which now i feel really self conscious about saying i liked that top) and pitching in. i work in admin so i'm all about the admin work, but i am very careful about not getting sucked in to really weird odd things that people try and make me do.. anyway. i also have been trying to apologise less, like when i interrupt a meeting or trying to clarify something. it's really a bit ridiculous how much people apologise when they don't need to.