1. Find the Right Boss
Finding the right boss is one of the most impactful decisions you can make in finding any new job. They can teach you and accelerate your career toward title jumps and more pay faster than anything else you can do.
You should view accepting a new job as if you were entering into a marriage, and your boss is your wife. She is going to have a huge impact on how much you get paid, how much you enjoy the day to day, how quickly you get promoted and who you have access to, whether it be big customers that give you influence or upper management that might also help clear the way based on their advocating for you.
When looking for a job, you need to look at the process from both sides of the table and interview your potential boss carefully to make sure that he or she is the sort of person you would enjoy working with, not just for. This might be someone whom you would respect whether you worked with them or not. This someone is friendly and supportive and someone you can communicate effectively with. Whenever possible, you should talk to other people who work for that boss, interviewing your future peers is not an unreasonable request. Having LinkedIn these days, you can even research individuals to request to speak with. This is not weird, it’s thorough.
2. Have a Positive Image, Suit or Smile
If you look on the surface, you might not be surprised to see who is getting passed up for, or held back from the next step, that coveted promotion. “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have”, is not a terrible cliché, it reflects goals and that you’re taking your job seriously. If casual Friday is widely accepted, then great, have fun with it, but just know that outside of that the short skirt, or the crazy tee shirt you saw your boss wearing on their facebook profile because they’re old and don’t know how to hide their pictures to non-friends, is not going to get you promoted. Representing yourself as professional, especially in the right context, is important and it’s just as important to your boss that they see it as it is that they see that your peers see it.
Dress for success in your job and in your company, and don’t make your boss regret bringing you on by walking in with jeans and a tee shirt when you have a meeting, after they hired you for an office job that you were wearing a suit for the interview. Some comapnies have wacky, fun and loose dress codes or cultures, but stand out in a good way even if you want to be comfortable and fit in. Look at the top people in your industry and the top people in your company or check the press in your industry for the men and women who are being promoted to positions of higher responsibility and pay. Be yourself in what you do, but model yourself after the leaders, not the followers. In so many ways, this might just be the way your wear your attitude. With some companies having very flexible dress codes and different values, performance is a plus but wearing an attitude that shines as bright as an Armani suit is just as important. A positive image is only going to help you, 100% of the time.
3. Ask For The Sale
This is one of the most important success principles you will ever hear from the world’s top sales people, people that are in the business of selling their way to “the next step” in the process. Learn to help yourself by asking for what you want. The future belongs to the people that can see it, and that ask for it. The future does not belong to those people who sit back, wishing and hoping that their boss will notice them and eventually, their work will be good enough to stand on its own, and then they will have it handed to them. The future belongs to people who put together a defendable pitch, step up, and ask for what they want. If they don’t get it, they adjust their pitch, make it better, shine up their image, and ask again. If you don’t think you can hit, the coach won’t mind letting you ride the pine, but if you’re the “put me in coach, I can do it” noise behind them in the dugout, eventually you may get your at-bat and even if you strike out swinging or just hit a single, you get that at-bat, and the more you do it, the better you’ll get.