You’ve put in additional hours at work, used your savvy excel skills to create a high-powered spreadsheet, and earned a new certification that you can add to your resume of accomplishments. But, unfortunately, none of these things were enough to grant you the promotion that you were seeking.
Contrary to popular belief, being a good employee is not about keeping your head down in the books; it’s about keeping your head up to spot opportunities that others don’t see. Everyone who was hired is there because of their workplace competencies. You need to find more ways to stand out in order to prove why you deserve a promotion.
Making these three career mistakes will not only ruin the reputation that you’ve created while working at your job, but you can also kiss your chances at a promotion goodbye:
1) Failing to Network
Your education and technical skills may get you in the door, but your professional networking qualities will determine how high you soar. Isolating yourself from your co-workers and company leaders will cost you the promotion that you were qualified for two years ago. You need social equity in order to get to the next level. If you don’t have a mentor or sponsor who can help you move your career forward, start attending networking events and sharing your goals with others. If large networking events are not your cup of tea, schedule 1:1 meetings with leaders who reside in various work offices to let them know that you exist and that you want to learn more about their professional career. Research individuals in the company who have career paths that reflect where you want to go and set up informational interviews with them. Don’t forget about the value of employee resource groups and professional development organizations outside of the workplace. You never know who will have the chance to attest to the quality of your work at a talent review meeting.
2) Not Expressing Yourself
Don’t put your voice on mute during company meetings. Share your ideas and ask relevant questions. If you are not comfortable sharing your views in a group meeting, take small steps by discussing your ideas with your boss during your 1:1 meetings. For example, if you think the advancement structure for millennial leaders is unclear, learn how to ask the right questions about career development plans and be prepared to give possible solutions that can help the company become more transparent in this area. That may lead to an exciting new project that you can spearhead. You should also be willing to give feedback on projects or initiatives that your company has already implemented. Don’t always think that there has to be a concern in order to give feedback; positive feedback is also a useful source of information that allow employers to understand how their decisions are viewed by their employees. So, when the company is looking for feedback about their latest project, don’t be surprised if a senior leader knocks on your door asking for your input–they value your quality feedback.
3) Not Training Others in the Workplace
If your boss asks you to train a new employee and you treat the employee like an incompetent stepchild, it may not only lead to a sour relationship, but it can also hinder your growth within the company. Whether you fear that others are a future threat to your job or your long list of responsibilities prevent you from adequately training others, you are demonstrating poor leadership skills. How are you ever supposed to move up if others aren’t prepared to do what you do? Prove that you are ready for the next level by empowering others in your current role. Make training easier for others by documenting processes, providing resources for additional training, writing down a list of experts who can facilitate the learning process, and showing the employee how positive results are achieved. Then, position yourself as a leader by empowering the employee to go beyond mediocrity in order to be more efficient and effective at the task at hand. If you’re looking for bonus points, compliment other employees on their progress and share positive feedback with others on the team. These are all accomplishments that you can add to your year-end performance review.