5 steps to help you advance in your career
Step 4: track and Quantify Your Achievements
As you learn new skills and broaden your experience, be results-driven and quantify your accomplishments. As you progress in your career, your accomplishments and results become more important than how you spent your time. For instance, consider the difference in these two resume bullet points:
- Managed budget for LOB application team
- Grew LOB application user base by 50 percent while reducing per-user costs by 16 percent
The first statement simply describes how you spent your time; the second recounts what you actually accomplished. Both points might describe you, but the first is much more effective and impressive than the second.
Step 5: Focus on Your Strengths
Often, I find that otherwise well-qualified individuals disqualify themselves from a job after reading the job description and seeing a requirement or two that they can't fulfill. For example, a job description for the position of director of operations might state that applicants must have an MBA or experience with a specific software package, neither of which you possess. But you shouldn't assume that you'd never be considered a viable candidate for that job. Most job descriptions are boilerplate templates that might—or might not—apply exactly to the job you're interested in. Instead of being discouraged by deficits in your experience, think about the assets that you'll bring to the position: the skills, experience, and accomplishments that uniquely qualify you for the role. Focus on those assets and play them up.
It's Who You Know and What You Know
I constantly see people make huge strides in their careers simply by thinking ahead, identifying the job they really want, and planning their path to that position. Along the way, they might debate the cliche"It isn't what you know, but who you know." As is so often the case, the cliche is wrong: It's both who you know and what you know. Follow this five-step strategy, and you'll come out ahead in both areas. And don't forget, as you take that next step up the career ladder, to advance your thinking and your planning another step into the future.