In my line of work I am on social media....a lot and I come across many insightful articles written by well-intentioned people with tips for helping job seekers find meaningful employment. Interestingly, most of the articles I see seem to be tailored to the external job market. This got me thinking, what about helping those already inside my own backyard? Part of my responsibility as a Corporate Recruiter is helping existing talent grow their careers within the company and retain the purple squirrels the team has worked so hard to find. Not only is internal promotion and investing in career development a great way to keep existing superstars within your company, it's a great retention tool that helps build loyalty among employees and sustain motivation.
I've interviewed thousands of people in my career thus far and a common theme emerges, the number one reason why people leave their jobs is lack of growth, or the perception there of. I think companies in general have some room for improvement when it comes to communicating possible career paths within the organization however the onus does not squarely lie with the employer. YOU, the employee, must take ownership of your own career and lead the path towards carving out your own future within the company. The grass isn't always greener on the other side so here are a few tips to finding green grass in your own backyard;
- Actively look at your company career pages. I am always amazed at the number of employees who come see me after the announcement of a new hire to say they didn't even know the company was looking to hire. I realize that in some cases, for business reasons, not every position may get posted, however many opportunities are and it's so important to inform yourself regularly, if not for yourself, then maybe to take advantage of a great referral bonus program.
- Be visible. I can't think of you for my next opportunity if I don't know who you are and what you do for the company already. If you see a new opportunity of interest, figure out who posted it and befriend that person. Get on Hiring Manager's radar and ask questions to find out if the job really is something that falls in line with your career path.
- Be Vocal. If I don't know you crave a new challenge, I can't help you find a new challenge. Many employees are hesitant to speak up about wanting career growth for fear of retribution from their current managers or the perception that they'll be held back from growing and developing into a new position. This is unfortunately a reality for some, however if you feel you can't have these honest conversations with your direct manger then talk to your Corporate Recruiters and/or HR Managers. These people are trained to help you in your career development and guide you towards suitable opportunities within the company for your skill set.
- Learn, learn and learn some more. I often find employees get comfortable in their role and don't push themselves to further develop their skills and keep up to date with the current trends of their industry. The best way you can stay competitive is to always be abreast of new trends and technologies. In many cases employers post both internally and externally, what better way to outshine the newbies on the market than to keep current yourself!
- Don't take your internal status for granted. Just because you currently work for the company isn't a pass to come unprepared to an interview or a given that you will automatically get the position. Many Hiring Managers share the philosophy, "May the best candidate for the job be hired." and you'll often find yourself competing against external candidates. Show the Recruiters and Hiring Manager that you mean business. Do your homework and make sure you understand the job and be prepared to explain in detail what you can bring to the role if hired and why the company should hire you instead of looking external. If you are lacking a skill that is listed in the job description, provide details on what actions you have taken or plan to take to either compensate or learn the skill, then commit to making sure you do it. Finally don't forget to send thank-you notes to the people who took the time out of their busy schedules to meet you. The smallest touches can often make the biggest difference!