In today’s competitive workplace, getting hired or receiving a promotion can be difficult. Globalization, outsourcing and information technology have all contributed to decreasing the number of employees companies need. Due to advances in technology, one employee in today’s workplace can accomplish the same number of tasks that it once took two or three employees to accomplish, and in less time. Today’s employers have higher expectations and want employees who display initiative, self-discipline and leadership.
The expectations of today’s younger employees are also higher than in the past. Millennials expect their jobs to provide learning opportunities as well as challenges that allow them to utilise and develop their skills to the full. They also expect recognition for their contributions, whether in the form of public acknowledgment – or a raise in pay. There are a few things that job seekers can do to create a win/win situation for both themselves and their employers.
Whatever type of career you want, the first step is researching the field you’re most interested in. Within any industry, it’s a general rule that 20% of the companies enjoy 80% of the profits. They’ve often gained their edge by providing better products and services, which means that they are more likely to remain in business in the future. Once you’ve identified a company you’d like to work for, you should learn as much as you can about the people who work there. One of those people could become your boss. It’s just as important for you to interview your potential boss as it is for them to interview you. Your future boss should be someone you can respect and whose communication style is similar to your own. Bosses can influence not just how much you get paid, but how much you enjoy your job and how quickly you are promoted. Accepting a position with the wrong boss can adversely affect your career for years to come.
We all prefer to be around likeable people, and one of the things that make people likeable is the ability to see the good in every person and find the positive aspects of every situation. It’s much more pleasant to work with those who can find the humour in potentially stressful circumstances, as well as focusing on constructive solutions. A personality fit with the rest of the team is fast becoming a requirement by many employers, and co-workers appreciate one, too. While many skills can be learned on the job, attitude can’t be taught. Employers often rank genuine enthusiasm and a desire to be friendly and helpful above technical skills in importance. That’s because a good attitude enables employees to both learn new skills and more effectively teach others.
While attitude is important, it’s also important to have the right skills for the job. That’s why many young workers are choosing to get professional certifications. They don’t just look impressive on resumes, but assure employers that you’re keeping abreast of rapidly changing technological innovations and their practical applications within your industry. Those changes are now so rapid that it’s possible for material learned during the senior year of college to become obsolete by the time a student graduates. If a position that utilizes all of your current skills doesn’t exist within a company, you can create that position and submit your idea to management for approval. Even if your idea isn’t approved, you will have demonstrated initiative, creativity, knowledge of the company and a desire to make a positive contribution.
Getting ahead doesn’t always mean moving up. Lateral moves can be as beneficial to your career as promotions, and can often mean bigger promotions in the future. A lateral move can make you more valuable to the company—and increase the number of people who recognize your value. Asking your boss outright what you can do to earn a promotion can help you prioritize your work and ensure that none of your efforts are wasted. Promotions are earned by consistently adding new skills and accomplishments that demonstrate your positive social and financial contributions to the success of the company.