Set yourself apart from the competition
If you’ve been in your current position for a few years and want to move on to middle management, you’re probably competing with others in and outside of your company for any open positions. Yet with so many qualified professionals out there, how can you set yourself apart? The following pointers can help.
Keep track of your accomplishments.
Begin by reviewing your résumé to see if it accurately depicts your strengths, as well as your accomplishments to date. In addition, add any recent successes that made a measurable contribution to your company. For example, perhaps you landed new accounts that generated a total of $500,000 in revenue. By knowing what you’ve accomplished and how it benefited your company, you’ll be in a good position to speak about the value you offer any potential employer.
Expand your knowledge of your company.
If you’re after a promotion with your own company, you need to learn as much as you can about the organization. Review the mission statement and history, read the bios of the executive leadership, and look at the quarterly reports. Make sure that you’re aware of your company’s objectives and strategies, and if there are any challenges, think about how you could contribute to solutions. And of course, if you see any opportunities, bring them to the attention of your supervisor in the form of detailed, well-researched reports with your name on them.
Build your knowledge of your industry.
In middle management, you’ll need to stay informed about the current state of your industry. If you don’t already, start reading trade journals and other relevant publications so you’re up to date on the latest developments in your field.
Participate in activities and projects that will enhance your skills.
When you advance to the next level, you’ll be expected to provide guidance to frontline management — in other words, to managers who are at your current level. You’ll also be expected to lead the efforts to implement the company’s strategies, and when appropriate, provide feedback on strategy. To prepare for this type of responsibility, it’s advisable to develop your leadership, communication and problem-solving skills. Ways to do this include spearheading interdepartmental projects, becoming a mentor and doing volunteer work that allows you to develop your soft skills.
Showcase your expertise.
Use LinkedIn as an opportunity to communicate your expertise. You can write blog posts and articles — plus, you can curate content from thought leaders and start conversations around it. You can also build your own website where you post your résumé and testimonials, as well as original written and video content.
Build your personal brand.
According to Jesse Kerema’s article “8 Ways to Set Yourself Apart and Build a Strong Personal Brand” for Medium, having a personal brand can help you stand out. Kerema suggests finding your brand by looking at things like your personality, interests, skills and goals — then emphasizing those factors that give you an edge. For example, perhaps you’re a very thoughtful person and your compassionate leadership style makes you an effective manager. Or maybe you excel in an important technical skill and are an inspiration to your employees. Whatever it is that sets you apart, find a way to use it to build your personal brand.
If you consistently work on expanding your skills, knowledge and accomplishments, as well as showcasing your expertise and building your brand, you can make a lasting impression on decision makers — and that can propel you forward in your management career.
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