Your Best Advocate Is YOU

Many professionals are relatively passive when it comes to their career progression. Often, it’s based on the assumption that raises and promotions will simply be offered when they perform to a certain level or acquire the right skills and experience. In reality, that assumption is frequently wrong.

Similarly, professionals are commonly placed in awkward situations. They’re regularly asked to take on additional duties or to lend a hand on projects that aren’t formally theirs. While this can lead to opportunities for more development, it’s often a strain on their schedules. However, figuring out how to decline isn’t easy for most, and relying on others to intervene typically won’t work out.

Ultimately, professionals need to remember that their best advocate is themselves. As a result, it’s wise to learn how to navigate your career in a proactive manner, ensuring you can seize opportunities, decline optional responsibilities, push for your own progression, or otherwise remain in control. Here are some tips that can get you started.

Use a Negotiation Approach When Given New Tasks

When you’re asked to participate in a special assignment or assist on a project but are already pressed for time, treat the situation as a negotiation. Saying “yes” gives you the opportunity to make requests that will support that move. For example, you could request access to resources or ask that other lower-priority duties be shifted to another employee to give you space in your schedule.

The idea is to find a mutually acceptable solution that leads to group gain. That allows you to agree to the extra work without overburdening yourself, turning a challenging situation into a win-win.

Prepare for Promotion or Raise Requests in Advance

While your manager is often aware of your accomplishments as they occur, it’s critical to realize that they don’t always remain in your manager’s mind. Ultimately, they have a slew of responsibilities and numerous employees to monitor. As a result, they don’t always see the full picture of what you bring to the table at any given moment.

Often, it’s the lack of a complete picture that prevents managers from automatically offering raises and promotions. As a professional, you often need to initiate the conversation, treating it as a negotiation to secure the new title or a higher pay rate.

When you request a raise or promotion, you need evidence that justifies your ask. By tracking your achievements continuously, you’ll have a list of reasons that outline the value you’re providing to your employer. You can then reference them in any negotiations for higher pay or a new position. Essentially, you’re working to position yourself as an ideal candidate for a promotion or raise.

However, it’s also wise to anticipate any potential pushback. Recent performance issues are a prime reason why a manager may decline a promotion or raise request. As a result, it’s wise to honestly reflect on any potential negative points. If they’re significant, waiting to make your request is smart, giving you time to correct those problems. If not, then prepare to counter the arguments in a professional way, such as by offsetting the minor issues with major achievements that demonstrate your value.

Ultimately, the approaches above make it easier to advocate for yourself. If you’d like to learn more about how you can take your career to the next level or are interested in a career-boosting opportunity, The Squires Group wants to hear from you. Contact us today.


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