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Make your job more profitable

To kick-start your career worth, become an asset for your organisation and adopt a proactive role that will set your value soaring.

By Rajshree Kukreti | Print Edition: November 30, 2006

Myth: To get a raise you need to switch jobs. Reality: Your poor increment is because you haven’t tried hard enough to make your job profitable-for yourself and for your employer. Once you are sure that you are valuable to the company, you can stop loading your bio-data on job portals and focus on making your present job a profitable asset. Don’t just work hard, work right.

To add to your current career equity, you must not only learn your boss’ job and train your replacement, you must also grow the company’s business by adding to the bottomline. A growing business can pay for expansion—and your professional growth.

“Always think of ways in which your company can benefit. Small ideas on how to save money, innovations that can improve customer satisfaction are all valuable. If you think on behalf of the company, the company will think of you,” says Varghese M. Thomas, head—corporate communications—India & Saarc, Cisco Systems.

You can also seek opportunities for lateral moves and more interesting assignments. Most workplaces value initiative and people who want to continue to learn and grow in the job. Progressive skills such as learning while working are considered an asset by most organisations. An immediate pat on the back may not come your way after every job. But don’t be disheartened.

Good work, coupled with diligence, is noticed and sometimes needs to be brought to the notice of the bosses and for this tact and patience come handy. It is better not to call it a day till you have given your best to your job.

HR professionals and head hunters helped MONEY TODAY in compiling a list of dos that will help people reorient their career plan. This second part in a series (the first part “Are you investing enough in your career?” appeared in MONEY TODAY, November 16). will help employees create a workable blueprint and move towards a more enterprising career.

Get started now as your efforts will only bear fruit after a substantial gestation period.

Get Noticed: You may have achieved the targets or convinced the tough client into giving you business but if the decision-makers are unaware of your efforts, it’s time you blew your own trumpet. Of course, you don’t have to brag to get noticed. Simply citing your accomplishments will set you apart because a lot of people don’t take the time to do so. Be prepared with figures. Spell out the exact quantum of business you’ve got and the deadlines that were met in implementing a project. Just because prices are going up cannot be the reason why the organisation should give you a raise. You have to try to prove that you’re worth more money because you’re making a significant contribution to the company’s performance. If you have no significant contributions to list, you probably shouldn’t be seeking a hefty raise.

Learn & Train: Learning a new skill will empower you at your current job. And you are never too old to learn something new. In today’s world, if you are still speaking Cobol while people around are talking about Visual C++, you need to introspect. It is essential to keep abreast of the new theories and jargons that are doing the rounds. Zero in on the course or programme you need to take to build your career equity. But don’t rush things. Talk to a specialist in your field if needed. Find out if your organisation provides study leave. Many companies encourage employees who have been invited for fellowship programmes or have obtained scholarships. If you have not managed either, then join evening classes or take up a correspondence course.

Also jump at the chance to acquire additional training through workshops and in-house programmes. Don’t stop at learning; mentor a junior with potential as it will add value to the company.

Keep Up With Technology: Standing lost at the fax machine or fumbling with Powerpoint presentations speaks rather poorly of you. A Luddite in office is seen as a bottleneck, someone who slows down the processes. In today’s offices you will be bumping into some form of technological widget. Successful employees ensure they have strong technical skills and don’t fear taking on new tasks or learning how to use advanced technology to do things in new and improved ways.

While computers have become easier to use in many ways, the leading edge is more complicated than ever. Knowing how to use technology can add tremendous richness to your life too. Competence builds confidence. Like it or not, strong technical skills are of major importance today. Don’t let yourself be caught on the wrong side of the technology fence.

Think Ahead: Just following your boss’ instructions to the T will not get you a good raise. Instead of providing a list of information requested, think why your boss asked for it and provide a thoughtprovoking brief analysis with it. This will show your boss that you are thinking ahead.

The way to becoming an asset is not by doing what you are told but by taking the initiative to do more and to come up with new ways to do things. To be an employee who consistently exceeds expectations, you must always meet deadlines and do some out-of-the-box thinking. Your value to your company is a reflection of how well you do your job.

Think beyond the 9-to-5 routine. Just being concerned about the work of the day should not be your agenda. Set targets and plan your weekly, monthly and annual schedules. Constantly raise the bar for yourself and others too.

Volunteer: Raise your hand often. If you are confident of your abilities, then do not hesitate to take charge. Such opportunities may not come your way often, but one successful technique is to single out an unresolved challenge that exists in your company.

Try to pick a situation that will benefit from your combination of experience and skills. Draft a plan that outlines the need you’ve discovered. Highlight how you will use your skills to resolve the problem and contribute to the immediate objectives of the team or department involved. Send that plan to the person who will benefit most from your unique approach, for example, your boss or a human resources representative.

Don’t wait for your organisation to discover the same need. Without your proactive approach to career, the company may look someplace else.

By being a hands-on person, you create a win-win situation. You may gain a challenging, enjoyable career opportunity and eliminate the need for competition. Even if a promotion does not result from your actions, you would have successfully created an opportunity to demonstrate your value to the organisation. You have increased the likelihood that you’ll be considered for the next promotion.

Ask For Feedbacks: Don’t wait for annual appraisals to guide your growth path. Tell your boss you would like his input on how he views your work. Organise informal quarterly reviews with your boss. This should be done to understand whether you are meeting the company’s expectations.

These informal analyses can help you in deconstructing your work pattern and the course you have adopted. It is easier to switch your work strategy mid-way than appear lost at the end of the year. It is your responsibility to make sure that you are constantly re-employable and you should create these reviews as an opportunity to drive your career forward. While asking for feedbacks, be open to criticism. Always learn from your mistakes.

Keep A Work-Life Balance: Many companies pay attention to the personal lives of their employees. Remembering birth and marriage anniversaries softens the employer-employee relationship. Working for such firms pays in the long run. Apart from company support, you also need to take the initiative to strike a balance between your home and office. Only a happy employee works better. More productivity leads to healthy bottomlines, which in turn boosts your your career equity.

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