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Getting ahead as a young professional

You have been out of college for a few years now and you are starting to find your feet around the work place. You have built a decent professional network, taken on new responsibilities within your company and you think you have a good rapport with your direct boss. Now what? You want to get ahead you want to stand out but you find that there is a lot of competition both inside and outside of the company. You want to climb that career ladder so what can you do to speed things along?

1.) Make a lateral move within your company if you can. Companies view that very positively for future managers and directors.

2.) Be more than what your job description says you are. Go beyond expectations and start thinking and doing things as if you owned the place. There will be co-workers around you who will balk at the hard assignments, grab them. You will find yourself doing more with less and be much more developed to ascend to management.

3.) Like people and show it. Soft people skills are very valuable and many a brilliant engineer or scientist was passed over because they didn’t have them. Being polite and considerate are expected attributes that you need to exercise and foster. You would be surprised how that could make you stand out. Try to avoid being negative, you don’t want to be known as someone who says it can’t be done or that person who is always complaining. Nobody likes a Debbie Downer (sorry those of you named Debbie).

4.) Cultivate your digital persona. Make yourself stay on top of trends and show it online. Beware of posting compromising pictures or posting negative things about your company or co-worker online. It is career death.

5.) Bring cost saving to your boss. Find out what your bosses goals are for him/herself and help them get there. Cost savings or productivity improvements usually carry a great deal of weight. For example a young manufacturing engineer had researched how to speed up a process at work. It was a reverse machining application that was creating a bottle neck in a very important government contract.

He discovered that another company had used a Steiner Technologies Autofacer to eliminate a secondary operation. From the case study that he read online, the machining cycle was sped up 3000%.

He did more research and talked to an engineer at the company and wrote out a plan to introduce this new engineered tooling solution to his boss. The company successfully adopted the tool and freed up the bottle neck. Within in six months of the young engineer’s suggested proposal he was promoted to Lead Manufacturing Engineer.

The point I am trying to make is that if you want to get ahead quickly, you need to reach out and do more than is expected. You need to become more valuable to your direct superior and you need to tell your network what you are capable of more. The rewards of More will gravitate towards you.

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