How to Unlock Opportunities
Opportunities are all over and they are there for you to take advantage of.
If you are looking to grow in your current role or in a new role, you need to take advantage of the opportunities that are available. For the most part, gone are the days when you could put your head down and have opportunities given to you because you’ve been in one place long enough.
Think about it this way too, you don’t want to be dependent on someone else giving you an opportunity because you can be left waiting.
I’ve found so much success in seeking out opportunities and making the time to develop myself. Because where I am headed is my responsibility!
In this post I am sharing with you how I utilize my network, webinars and professional organizations to keep the opportunities flowing my way.
After reading this, you will to be able to identify new resources that you might have been letting pass you by before. You will have a better idea of where to start when you are ready to take your development and future into your own hands.
Utilize Your Network
There are always opportunities that are out there to grow in your career. It depends on what kind of growth you are open to. Look at it as either growing in the position you hold or growing in a new role. They each have their own sets of opportunities to take.
Growing in the position you hold, means that you aren’t looking to take on a brand-new role but want to grow where you are and take on more responsibility. This could be becoming a senior member of your team and helping with small management tasks like managing workflow or helping to onboard and train new people. You could also be interested in opening yourself up for new cross training opportunities as they become available to expand your skill set.
To be able to take on these types of opportunities, you will need to show that you are ready to handle the added responsibility. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t times where other factors will be at work but don’t believe that just because you are there the longest that you are the best person for the new tasks. If you haven’t been showing interest or acting like you can handle the added responsibility, you won’t be the first person looked at.
Some great tips to show that you are ready:
- Raise your hand when leadership is looking for volunteers for a new project.
- If you have value to add, speak up when leadership is asking for feedback or questions.
- Become a consistent performer in terms of hitting performance metrics.
- Make sure that your manager knows what your goals are and let them help you get to your next step.
If you are looking to grow in a new role, congratulations! I’ve always thought this was an exciting time because it seems like the possibilities are endless. Finding a new role can be a little challenging. Most employers have a place online or in the office where open positions are posted. However, the best way to find a new role is making connections with others within your organization. These are the people who know about jobs before they are posted and the more you connect with those people the greater the chances of finding the perfect role before it’s even announced.
I’ve found more success being in the pool of people who find out about new positions as they are becoming available because this means that you are likely already being considered if you know about it.
So, how do you become someone who is in the know?
Here are some great tips to get you meeting the right people:
- Network! This isn’t a quick fix and will take some time. But, people need to know who you are and what you are about.
- Take an inventory of who you have in your circle and reach out to some of your existing contacts to share your goals. From what I’ve discovered, people can’t help you if they don’t know that you need it.
- Take an inventory of who you have in your circle. Ask your existing contacts for job shadow opportunities or informational interviews. They may not be the decision makers, but they would have the best idea of what movement has been going on and can offer an honest opinion about what that new role looks like. You will also be surprised by how many people you know.
- If you are looking to stay internal at your current company, attend events that are put on by your employer. This gives you an easy way to meet new people in new departments and you can follow up after the event.
For more networking tips, check out:
Webinars are a great way to get some knowledge quickly. Your favorite bloggers are organizing some great content for you or finding great leaders to interview who can offer some valuable experience. At times, your employer may be the one that is offering a webinar to train on Microsoft Excel or diversity in the workplace, take advantage of it. I’m listening to webinars all the time and will usually have a small notepad sitting off to the side to write something big down.
I have gotten so much information from webinars. Here are some of the big things that come to mind:
- Company goals and how I could fit into the plan.
- New roles and departments that I didn’t know anything about.
- New Microsoft Excel tips.
- Amazing examples of goal setting at the company level and it gave me some ideas for myself.
- How to improve my LinkedIn.
- What a good presentation looks like and what a not so good presentation looks like.
These are all great things I’ve come away with after listening to webinars. For example, the presentation format example came from a training focused on company policy. Although the policy changes were discussed, I also walked away with some other big examples and great insights.
Webinars can be powerful if you learn to look beyond just the topic in front of you and begin to look for ways to get the most value you can out of that time. There is always more than meets the eye, you simply must be open to it.
Another thing to keep in mind is that usually, you don’t have to be watching the webinar. It will likely be presented in a form where someone will be talking most if not all of the session. You don’t necessarily have to be watching. If you can, put it on, plug your headphones in and keep working away!
Professional organizations are a great way to utilize an immense resource that is readily available to you. These types of organizations typically have great networking opportunities. You can continue to build your network and they may provide educational opportunities, so you can continue to grow.
Early on in my career, I had a mentor that helped me become involved in a professional organization geared towards financial professionals. The group helped me meet others working in my industry. It also allowed me to get familiar with the other financial institutions in my area and their offerings. I was still in college at the time and was able to become a member for a student rate. So, if you qualify for this perk, check it out. Now, my employer pays for my participation in this organization. Be sure to see if your employer offers this perk.
These types of organizations typically offer a lunch, coffee break or continental breakfast for members to attend. These will likely have a theme, or a speaker followed by networking. Take advantage of these when they are announced. There are a mix of people who attend these events. You will see the regulars who can help introduce you to others in the room and other newbies who are there to check it out. Just like you are.
These are a great opportunity if you are thinking that taking a new opportunity may be on the horizon.
In the professional organization I belong to, there are different educational opportunities offered. These opportunities are great to take advantage of. There are day long educational opportunities that give you a deeper dive into a topic. They will get you working alongside others in your industry to discuss or work through problems.
Another way the organization provides educational opportunities is through their after-work development events. These are typically thought of as events for newer professionals but are really for anyone to attend. There are great opportunities for discussion after the educational part. It is usually beneficial to think of a question or two to ask, or if you feel comfortable with jumping in to offer your perspective.
I’ve found that the topics discussed at these events are great to bring back to the office. You can give an update on what you learned in your team meetings. It is likely that others may be hearing the information for the first time as well. It could be a great opportunity to pass along your knowledge. Being in the know when it comes to your industry is a great way to get yourself noticed in your current role. Likewise, attending events is a great way to get yourself noticed in the industry.
Take Advantage of Your Opportunities
There are opportunities all over and they will help you progress in your professional and personal life. You can’t wait for them to come your way, you need to be seeking them out. Don’t be afraid to:
- Look at your current network.
- Seek our webinars offered by your employer or an outside resource.
- Join a professional organization.
I hope you’ve discovered some great resources that you can take advantage of!
Tell us in the comments what opportunities you are taking advantage of!
Be sure to share with your social network too! Just hit the share button.
Brandon and Cristal