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Climbing the career ladder

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in Your Office Coach

Question:  “After making a career change, I am six weeks into a new job at a large health care company. I hope to be promoted to a specific position in the next three years. In trying to get ahead, I understand the importance of all the basic stuff, like good attendance, proper dress, meeting deadlines and so forth. But can you suggest any other smart moves for career-minded new employees?” — Climbing the Ladder

Marie’s Answer:  Congratulations on your career change!  As you plan your next move, here are five tips for ongoing success:

1.    Since you have a specific goal, look for opportunities to interact with people who can help you attain it. Get to know them, and let them get to know you. 

2.    Volunteer for projects that can help you reach your target. Find problems to solve or new ideas to implement. Collaborate with colleagues and avoid becoming defensive or territorial.

3.    Get along with everyone, even those who are difficult or unpleasant. Master the art of working with people you don’t like. Learn how to disagree without being disagreeable. 

4.    Learn all you can about your new industry.  Join your professional association and attend conferences. Network with your counterparts in other companies. As a side benefit, these contacts will come in handy if you ever decide to change jobs.

5.    Be prepared for any encounter with high-level managers.  Executives form long-lasting opinions based on brief interactions, so impress them with an intelligent business question or an interesting piece of information.

If you focus on building positive relationships and helping your company succeed, your success is likely to continue.  For some specific suggestions about useful people to know, see 7 Relationships to Cultivate at Work.

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