I have to preface this by saying that not everyone is looking to get promoted, but generally we all feel a sense of accomplishment when we improve, grow or move forward in any of our endeavors – big or small. #winning
Several of us here at RentPath had the chance to sit in as our very own Sameer Asher (VP, Sr. Corporate Counsel) and Danny Bowen (Sr. Director, B2B Data Products) shared their sage advice on career progression as well as what they’ve learned and experienced while traversing their own career paths.
We all enjoyed the casual tone, funny jokes and humility from Danny and Sameer, so I hope to bring forth a touch of that into this recap of themes they presented.
So what does it take to level up?
And don’t just stop there. Take the time to refine your skills in order to deliver what Sameer refers to as “an A+ product.”
He suggests asking yourself “Do you have a mastery of what you do?”
You know you’re doing something right when others are coming to you for insight, further clarification, or as a resource knowing that you’ll be able to lead them in the right direction.
It pays to be aware of your surroundings and to make that extra effort to “be in the know” because you know, knowledge is power.
You might be spinning your wheels if you put too much emphasis on a project or task that doesn’t have high impact.
Sameer cracks us up as he gives an example of how going above and beyond at the wrong time could be futile vs what it looks like to do it at the right time:
We all know that first impressions count. And the truth is, no one will be able to see what you’re made of if you’re hiding out in a corner or never taking advantage of those opportunities to make a great impression.
How do we establish the perception that we have our act together?
Let’s call these the 3 P’s (only because I saw the connection and it works): It goes without saying that being Prepared, having Precision with details, and being Proactive will take you further.
Take the time to put together an organized agenda or deck when it comes time to present or discuss ideas and opportunities. Prove to your higher ups that there is a lack of risk if they promote you or give you a high profile assignment.
“You have limited opportunities to make an impression with people,” Danny says. For quarterly meetings with RentPath’s CEO, Marc Lefar, Danny has a very clear agenda which includes review items, outstanding questions, critical outcomes and a plan moving forward in order to be as efficient and considerate as possible of Marc’s time.
When you come to a meeting, have numbers ready to back up your statements. Your credibility could be damaged if making too many claims without the data to support.
Again, by doing the research and coming prepared, this further enhances the perception of your competency and mastery of how you do your job.
There are several ways to be more proactive, including raising your hand and being more involved in discussions, or being a team player by seizing opportunities and helping out where you can. Another one that I personally value, is being proactive with solutions/processes that make the team better.
“If you don’t actively manage your career, someone else is more than happy to do that for you.”
Have conversations with your boss or mentor(s) specifically focused on career progression and promotion. Danny also suggests thinking beyond how to meet your own goals, but also what could be done to help the company.
Keep in mind that no one can define the best path for you better than you can . When Danny worked at Google, the role he wanted didn’t exist at the time and it took 3–4 years before the role was available. Persistence and patience are truly key.
In other words, you shouldn’t be preparing for your new responsibilities when you get promoted, you should already be prepared once you enter the role. This not only decreases the risk of bringing you into the role, but also allows you to plough forward and work with great intention and purpose.
This doesn’t automatically mean you suck and aren’t capable.
Danny kept his eye on the prize — it took him three tries before he landed the job he wanted at Google. “I was not prepared for the interview initially,” he admits, but he didn’t let this stop him.
He was resilient, took the time to self-assess, and with a critical eye learned about where he could strengthen his skills in order to prepare for the next opportunity.
So yes, dust yourself off and try again.
I know we’ve listed five here but I believe my favorite takeaway from our group chat with Danny and Sameer is that you really need to dig deep about why you want to be promoted or move on to that next level in your career.
This could lead you to deeper questions such as: Do I really want to be a manager and lead a team? Am I ready to take on more responsibilities or responsibilities that require a higher level of thinking?
We could name a number of reasons but being able to honestly answer these kinds of questions is a great place to start.
Already have the clarity that you need? Great! I believe that if you follow the aforementioned five and pair it with some grit and determination, you will be in for an unforgettable ride toward your next adventure.
We’re hiring! Check out our open positions at workatrentpath.com.