Three things you need to advance your career

3. GET A MENTOR – a combination of skill and attitude will take you so far, but it is your mentor that will help you avoid pitfalls. Mentors are usually a bit further along in their career than yourself and in many cases took a similar path as you. Their purpose is to help you through situations you can not decipher on your own. Help plan appropriate responses and reactions, so your career isn’t ruined from one wrong move. They are also there to encourage you to take leaps you think that you are not ready to take.

2. GET A SPONSOR – There is a difference between a mentor and a sponsor. A mentor could be anyone you respect that has navigated their career in the same manner you see yourself navigating your own. A sponsor, on the other hand, is someone you need to help promote you through the stages of your career. Sponsors are rarely able to be a mentor because their jobs are demanding and time does not permit for them to hold meaningful mentorships. However, they have the respect, connections, and opportunity to put in a good word for you regarding that role you want. Sponsors have a seat at the table already and are there to give you a boost in the same direction. Don’t waste a sponsors time asking for something you won’t be committed to for a period. Don’t jeopardize the connection for a quick win, leverage it for long-term strategic moves for your career.

1. KNOW YOUR END GOAL – There is nothing wrong with exploring your career options. However, while exploring take note of what you want and don’t want in your ideal job; then make the necessary adjustments to navigate towards the things you desire in a role. Find positions that represent what you want and search for mentors and sponsors in those areas. The worse thing we can do for ourselves is not to know what we want, and therefore nothing will ever be satisfying. When you know what you want and you start to see progress towards it every step is an accomplishment, every move is strategic, and every plan works to your benefit. Opposed to not knowing and when we are passed over for something that probably wouldn’t have been in our plan anyway we get down on ourselves for being looked over. When in reality we were not looked over we just were not considered because we are not clear on what we want and others noticed.

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