Planning your next career move? Here are some tips designed to help you get to where you want to be.

  1.        Own your projects

Unless you’re acing your current workload, you won’t be considered by your employer when a promotion opportunity arises.

Showing your manager and colleagues that you can manage your current projects and deliver every time, is a sure-fire way to stand out and demonstrate confidence in your current position.

When you’re assigned a project, ask for any further material or clarification there and then. Show your employer that you’re clear on what’s expected as well as the relevant timeline. Whilst you’re navigating through the project, look for ways that you can go above and beyond and do them. Don’t complete tasks with a tick-box attitude, always do more where you can.

When presenting results to your manager, ensure you convey that you have covered all bases and gone the extra mile. If you’re completing a task and know that there must be an easier way to do it, find that way, show your manager and offer to train the rest of the team.

  1.        There’s no I in team

Even autonomous roles usually form part of a team. When striving for your next step, don’t only think about ‘I’, but also consider ‘we’.

If you are committed to helping those around you, it shows you are also thinking about the wider success of the company. Highlighting your team spirit will make you desirable to your employer.

Collaborate with those around you. A good leader utilises the skills of everyone in their team and you can shadow this as an employee. A team is never made up of people with identical skill sets; each member should complement one another. The combination of each member’s attributes should serve to best achieve the desired goal.

Volunteering your efforts without being asked and taking on responsibility without an end reward, shows you are a team player and in it for the long haul. Doing this will also highlight that you have extra capacity.

  1.        Think ahead

Going to your manager or team with a problem, without having thought out a solution, does not promote you as a forward thinker.

Going to your manager or team with a problem and proposed solution, shows that you can make decisions and plan ahead.

When approaching your manager with a difficult task, try to set up your intention beforehand. Use statements such as ‘my intention is to’ or ‘I have already calculated that the best solution will be too…’ and ask for their opinion.

This will help develop your manager’s trust your decisions. This will help you become indispensable, affording you consideration in any upcoming promotion. Managers want employees who can think for themselves.

Give your manager what they want, make their life easier. Problem-solvers get promoted; those with incessant complaints and questions, do not.

  1.        Show you have room for more

Don’t be that person constantly on the edge of a breakdown, answering emails at 2am, working through every lunchbreak and running around all day in a tailspin. If you appear to be flailing, you will not be considered as a promotion candidate.

We all have to put in extra hours at times, and when things get busy, it’s normal to be stressed. However, working long hours on a regular basis can lead to lower job satisfaction and diminished performance.

The ability to manage your workload as well as your work-life balance, is attractive to employers.

If you don’t appear to have room for more, you probably don’t. You need to be over-achieving on your projects, whilst showing that you have the capacity and the desire for more responsibility.

Finding learning opportunities, both in and out of work, is another great way to show that your committed to your personal development. This does not necessarily mean taking on a Master’s degree. Attending webinars and professional development events of your own accord shows long-term commitment to your field and career. It shows that you’re ambitious and you’re striving to get to where you want to be, rather than waiting for someone else to get you there.

  1.        Nail the interview

Nobody likes interviews. And everybody is aware of that. However, a good or bad interview could make or break the outcome of your employer’s decision.

When going into the interview, study the job description and pick out your own achievements or skills to highlight against the requirements. Think of examples. Saying to your interviewer, ‘I am a good negotiator’ means nothing against saying ‘I successfully negotiated a contract with a client from X to Y over B period of time and the outcome was F’.

Write down the things you want to mention in an interview on a notepad to take with you. This will help if you get nervous or tongue tied. Don’t leave the interview without telling your interviewer all the reasons why you are the right person for this role.

It’s also a good idea to write down examples of successful projects you’ve been involved in and difficulties you’ve come up against. Your weaknesses and strengths, 5-year plan and other answers to those stock-standard interview questions that you are very likely to be asked. Highlight your buzz words.  The names of projects that you’ve delivered on, particular stakeholders you’ve worked with or group tasks that you’ve led, so that if you fail to think on the spot, a quick glance to your notes will jog your memory.

If at first you don’t succeed, Try Try Try Again

If you aren’t successful, take a step back, recalibrate and if necessary, go home and scream into your pillow.

As disheartening and frustrating as it may be, try to use the experience to assist you moving forward. Ask for feedback, keep communicating with your employer and don’t give up on how hard you’ve been working.

The Tax Institute is dedicated to supporting the career progression of women in the tax, accounting and legal professions. As the leading forum for Australia’s tax community, we are committed to representing our 12,000 members and the continuous improvement of the tax system. Find out more about the benefits membership of The Tax Institute can deliver for your role