Seven Strategies for Staying on Top of Your Career

Stay on top of your career and bottom of the redundancy list.

1. Connecting the Dots – Adding Value
Ask yourself what the purpose of your company is, how it makes money, who the client base is, and how you contribute to it.  If you’re in government, ask yourself who’s the end-user or “customer of our services”.

2. Specialising in Your Industry
Survey your skill set.  What other special knowledge can you bring to the table outside your current job focus?  Make sure that your boss knows about it.

3. Building Your Own Brand
Take inventory of your people skills.  What weaknesses did your boss mention at your last review?  What can you undertake to offset those weaknesses while playing to your strengths.

4. Creating a Status Report
Suggest a periodic status report to give your boss an overview of your department’s happenings.  Even if you only send it to one person, make sure it’s the right person – the one who makes decisions about your future.

5. Continuing Your Education
Make certain your credentials are in order.  Go the extra mile to maintain your body of knowledge by going on continuing education classes regularly.

6. Establishing Cross-Sector Knowledge
Write down any unfamiliar terms you hear.  Look them up online or in an industry handbook.  It’s the fastest way to align your talk with your walk.

7. Expanding Your Network
Maintain a database of contacts on which to call when times get tight.  Your network can act as your insurance policy in the event you need it.

These tips come from J LeRoy Ward, PMP, PgMP. They are an abbreviated version of an article appearing in Project Manager Today March 2009. LeRoy Ward is author of the Dictionary of Project Management Terms (3rd edition, October 2008) and executive vice president of ESI International.