Are you missing out?
When you look at administrators’ career progression, have you noticed how much their paths vary? Some seem to be exceptionally good at creating and embracing opportunities while others look almost stagnant. Are those who have exciting opportunities the most deserving? Of course not. Their progression has less to do with job performance and far more to do with taking initiative.
Here are two common ways people hold themselves back without even knowing it.
1. Because they are too busy and overwhelmed, they never take the time to reflect on their career goals or even on their desires and preferences. They lack direction and strategy. They can’t even see opportunities; therefore they make themselves unavailable.
2. They know what they want but don’t take the initiative to ask. They wait for other people to open doors for them. They create all sorts of reasons (excuses) in their mind about why they can’t ask and why they can’t have what they want.
Please take a moment and ask yourself (1) if you really know where you’re going and (2) if there are opportunities you are not taking.
How to open more doors for yourself
1. Decide what you want
No matter how you have arrived where you are today, whether it was strategic or just the way things unfolded organically, I invite you to do some soul searching and discover what you want to experience.
Here are some questions for you to ponder.
- What do you like and dislike about your current position?
- What do you want to do in your next position?
- What do you need to do to get ready for a new job?
- What would make your resume stronger?
- What do you need to build your confidence?
Remember that your life is yours and you have the responsibility to make decisions for yourself. Nobody can do this for you.
2. Take initiative
If you need something you can do without anyone’s help, such as enrolling in a leadership program, just do it! Don’t hesitate and procrastinate. If you know it’s what you need, do it!
You might realize that most of the things you need require other people’s participation or permission. Perhaps you’d like to serve on a committee, or lead a taskforce, or collaborate with another department on your campus. Don’t wait to be asked! Be the one who asks and creates opportunities for yourself.
If you think “I won’t ask because I bet he/she will say no.” please realize that it is not your job to decide what someone else will decide. Let people make their own choices! If you don’t ask, the answer is always no, but if you ask, you have a chance to get a yes.
That being said, it is important that you don’t sound naïve or entitled. Before you ask, take time to understand the other person’s perspective and his/her goals and challenges. You will present your ideas as a win-win opportunity. If you think I am stating the obvious, pause, look around, and see how often people make unconvincing or even inappropriate requests. It happens every day.
Imagine you’d like to get ready for a VP position but currently, your work responsibilities don’t allow you to gain experience with cabinet-level strategic planning, negotiation with bargaining units, fundraising, supervising a large number of employees, or any other job duty that would be expected of a VP.
You can feel sorry for yourself when you think you are not qualified enough to apply for your dream job or you can decide you’ll find a way to build your resume. Think about how you can get exposure to the things you need. Even if you are not the one in charge, being exposed to those areas will allow you to gain valuable insights that will become handy at job interviews.
You will become more confident and more comfortable in areas that were once intimidating or seemingly out of reach. By demonstrating how you take initiative and seize opportunities, you will also create an excellent reputation for yourself. You will become a stronger leader.
Few applicants meet 100% of requirements and preferences. Obviously, you will have to meet the minimum requirements for your application to pass HR’s screening and to give the hiring committee a chance to meet you. But that’s only the minimum requirements. Don’t focus on the little things you don’t yet have. Focus on what you do have and let the hiring committee see it. Even if you think you’re not perfect, you may very well be the best candidate for your dream job. And you have nothing to lose.
If you are tired of letting opportunities pass you by and you want to regain control over your career path, I invite you to schedule a free consultation with me by clicking here. If we choose to work together, I will make sure you stay focused on your goal and won’t let your workload or existing responsibilities stop you from doing what’s right for you. Together, we will develop a plan for your professional development, create strategies to seize more opportunities, make you a more competitive candidate and advance your career.
About the author: Dr. Audrey Reille has empowered thousands of professionals through one-on-one coaching, group coaching, speaking engagements, online courses, and interviews on international telesummits. Audrey is the go-to coach for leaders in higher education administration. She empowers them to thrive by reducing stress, optimizing strategies, improving professional relationships, and developing a strong and empowered mindset.