Gaining the experience and opportunities necessary to earn and effectively perform in a leadership position takes considerable time and focused effort. You’ll likely need to employ a variety of tactics in order to get ahead in your career and prove yourself as an executive. Understanding your strengths and how you fit in the current market is a huge part of this process.
Carefully navigating networking opportunities can lead to long-term relationships that will benefit you and allow you to prove your worth to others within an industry. Once you understand your place within a market and the value you can bring to a specific organization, you can continue to reach your potential by negotiating for pay that matches your worth as an employee. Here are a few tips to approach each of these strategies:
Represent Your Brand Online
With the advent of social media marketing for both organizations and individuals, it’s more important than ever to ensure your digital presence accurately represents your talents, experience, personality, and aspirations. LinkedIn is one of the best places to build your personal brand, allowing you to connect with other professionals specific to your industry, location, and far beyond.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to be present on LinkedIn without doing justice to your brand. For example, using too many stock phrases can drain any personality out of your profile, causing you to blend in, even if you have valuable experience and notable achievements. Superficial elements, like the quality of your profile picture, can also deter potential connections from viewing or appreciating your profile.
Beyond these somewhat static elements, you should also be intentional who you connect with. While it may seem like a good idea to amass a huge network, this may cause you to be less visible to people you really want to connect with. Limiting your network to trusted colleagues, friends, and industry leaders shows that you keep good company, further building your brand.
Build Your Professional Network
Although being overzealous in your networking strategies may push away the people you’re trying to connect with, meeting and interacting with others in your industry is essential to finding new opportunities with potential employers and partners. By tapping into your peers’ experiences, you can also stand to learn a lot about paths to advancement and strategies for achieving your own professional goals.
Online services such as LinkedIn can allow you to access a vast system of professionals, though connecting in-person should also be a major part of your networking strategies. Rather than solely seeking opportunities to advance your own career, try to express a genuine interest in others and identify ways you can provide value to them. This shows that you may be useful in the long term and will help you to build positive relationships. Also, be sure to follow up and stay in touch after conferences, other events, and interactions have passed.
Being clear about how you can help others will encourage them to trust you. However, in order to find an executive position that suits your talents and professional goals, you should also be able to quickly articulate what you’re looking for when networking. Before engaging with others, prepare a brief pitch outlining your expertise, what you can offer an organization, and any other details essential to your search. Depending on your priorities, this could include position titles, specific industries, and locations. You may not want to share your career goals with someone you’ve just met in order to avoid alienating them, but the opportunity may arise once you’ve established a relationship. You should be ready to help them help you.
Ask for What You Deserve
Part of promoting yourself and gaining better footing within your industry involves asking for the pay you deserve when you find opportunities for advancement. This means avoiding common mistakes people make during salary negotiations. First, it’s important to research your market value before any conversations about salary take place. You should consider your experience, education, and the cost of living in the area where you live in order to determine an acceptable range. Much of this information can be found online, though you might also gain insight from co-workers and others in similar positions within your industry.
Once you’ve identified an appropriate salary range, it’s best to be very intentional with the minimum amount you’re willing to accept as well as the realistic maximum you deserve. However, you shouldn’t be too quick to reveal the lower amount. Instead, start near the higher end of your suggested range, and be prepared to explain why you’re worth the salary you ask for. When you reach an agreement, always ask for written confirmation in order to solidify the results of your negotiations.
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