As a consultant, I observe a lot of corporate culture. Coming into an organization as a third party gives a unique perspective. Many times, I am brought in to assess the needs of an organization. In this position, I’m looking at staff, I’m looking at processes and I’m looking for opportunities to incorporate change and improvement. What I see, a lot of the time, is ample opportunity for advancement. When a company is actively searching for solutions while seeking to be more efficient and productive, a door is opened up for existing employees to step in and step up. The key is to seize opportunities to create advancement.

Should you opt out of a meeting with execs and senior staff if you don’t necessarily need to be there? Absolutely not. Do you have something better to do? This is career advancement. You should take every opportunity to put your face in front of the executive senior staff as much as possible. Think of it this way, are you familiar to them? Have you established yourself and created a name for yourself and a familiarity with them? They are going to promote you because they know you. They are going to promote you because they observe you being successful. Don’t bow out. If you were invited, be at the meeting.

In the office, in meetings, and even on conference calls or across email you should be there. Make yourself known in a respectful way. Be engaged, say smart things, and be memorable. That is what stands out when someone is considering someone else for advancement.  Remember that a majority of success is showing up. You send a message by not showing up or by not participating in the conversation.  You’re saying, “I don’t want to call attention to myself.  Don’t consider me for a promotion. I’m only here to do what I need to do.”

This is about employment growth and opportunity. If you want to move forward, then you have to act like it or you can expect to stay in one unmoving position in the company for eternity. You hear a lot of people complain about no advancement in their career and the first thing I ask is –what have you done?  What do you do above what they pay you to do? Are you going above and beyond? What else are you taking responsibility of? Why would you advance and why would they increase your responsibility if you’re just simply doing your job?  Doing the job you are paid to do is a reason to keep you employed. Doing above and beyond your normal responsibilities is growth –that shows potential for successful advancement. Be your own walking resume.

Another important aspect of seizing opportunities is to dress for success. You should be ready to be pulled into that executive staff meeting at any time. Executive staff will notice that. Be prepared to have someone call you in to close the deal.  If you are someone who is known to go above and beyond and is always prepared, then that is valuable.  Think of it as dressing for that next level of job you want. Be ready as a pinch hitter. You don’t want someone to think of you and call you in only to say, “Oh wait, you’re not dressed for this. No uniform. Can’t go in.”

Take advantage of the growth opportunity in an organization. Show that you are ready and prepared. You do what they hired you to do and you do it well.  For that, they write you a paycheck. If you are expecting more, then you need to do more. What are your thoughts on seizing opportunities for yourself? How is career advancement achieved? Should it be expected or is it earned? Comment below!