February is almost over, which means that the end of the first quarter is right around the corner. If you are positioning yourself for a promotion this year or considering a job switch, here are five things you can start doing today to increase your professional profile and make yourself more attractive to new managers and external recruiters.
- Acquire certification in your field. If your job already requires certification, such as a CPA for practicing accountants, you may already have certification. Certain industries, however, may have certifications available that are not mandatory for industry professionals. In order to demonstrate your commitment to what you do, consider pursuing a certification program that will add value to your expertise. The program should be of tangible value; so make sure you do your research on the program. There are many certifications that are costly but will not necessarily add anything to your career.
- Join a professional association. Becoming involved in a professional association will help you expand your network and provide you access to new ideas and concepts. Active involvement in a recognized association will help keep you current regarding changes and trends in your industry.
- Teach a course relevant to your job. Perhaps you are an outstanding marketer, corporate strategist, or operations manager. If so, think about teaching a course at a local college or business school that may be looking for an adjunct or part-time professor. This is a great way to stay in touch with current trends in business research and express your expertise. Be aware though that there are requirements to securing teaching positions. Make sure you do the research, so you understand the academic or other qualifications you will need before applying. Becoming an adjunct or trying to secure another type of teaching role can be very challenging; before embarking on this path do your due diligence.
- Start a community service initiative. Corporate leaders value employees who take the initiative. Starting a fundraiser, organizing a charity walk, or setting up a volunteer opportunity demonstrates your leadership skills, as well as your commitment to social causes. This is a good way to increase your profile within your company with the added benefit that you will likely find yourself interacting in a very positive way with senior leaders, thereby increasing your brand profile. Word of caution: Starting these types of things is very time consuming and demanding. Make sure you are up for the challenge before launching a new initiative.
- Give yourself a stretch assignment. If you have the capacity to take on a project or endeavor that goes above and beyond the scope of your current job, by all means go for it. Setting yourself up for a promotion can be a game of politics, so any opportunity you can find to show your boss or team additional ways to add value can lead to a stronger case for what you want.
The days turn into weeks, weeks into months, and so on. It will be the summer before you know it. Get a head start on distinguishing yourself from your competition; it could mean the difference between the promotion you deserve versus missing out on a new and challenging opportunity.