How Do You Ask for a Career Change? | Career Rocketeer - Career Search and Personal Branding Blog

If you’re like most people, you start to get a little bored with your work after about two years. By this point, the novelty has worn off and you’ve learned most of what you need to be a contributor to the organization. These two years are also enough time for you to really figure out where you are in the corporate food chain; that is, a fast riser to the top or a bottom dweller. For those in the later category, you may often consider making a change. Of course, that idea can certainly generate a lot of questions in your mind on just how to do that. Well, here’s a strategy for making this type of change.

Here’s the situation: you’ve been in your job for two or three years and your career in this company boils down to just a job. You shouldn’t worry too much about it. This is about the point where most people determine that they need to make a change. They’ve given the company sufficient time to recognize their skills and contribution to the company. If they haven’t been rewarded with bonuses and promotions by now, they assume they aren’t going to get any. So, they begin to adjust their mindset to consider new options.

Jumping out of your company usually isn’t the first consideration. That takes a little more work, since searching for jobs today is difficult for anyone. A quick option is to consider other opportunities within your existing company. If you haven’t done this before, it can appear quite elusive. It really isn’t too challenging, if you follow these simple steps.

1. Make your efforts visible. We judge ourselves by what we are capable of, while others judge us by what we have done. Most people track their accomplishments on their resume. How many people in your company have seen your resume? I would guess very few. This means most people don’t know what you can do. You have to show them what you are capable of. If you want to be known for having talent in a specific area, find projects to work on that require those talents and make sure the most influential people know you are working on it. High profile programs and projects are great for such exposure. Once you’re on one of these projects, use your internal network to promote your activities.

2. Show you can solve problems. There's no better time than today to start stepping up your game and becoming a positive thinking problem-solver. It's too easy to be a blamer. Always ask yourself “what's the problem here?” Don't be afraid to take the lead in solving a complex problem. It's not career risk. It's career enhancement. One problem facing CEOs, as indicated by the IBM Global Business Services report “After The Crisis: What now?”, is in finding targeted approaches for developing revenue, such as through improved service and support. Tight credit and tight budgets are putting the strain on business. Help solve this problem for your company and you will help put some mobility back into your career.

3. Demonstrate your skills in many ways. Don't just focus your skills and talents on your specific area of expertise. Organizations are constantly pushing the limits of the “doing more with less” philosophy. This is unlikely to change anytime soon. The people that move up in this environment are the ones who step up. Managers don’t know what skills you have, so they aren’t going to come around to your cube and ask you to take on projects that may push you outside the skill sets required by your daily tasks. Growth opportunities are available and are on a first-come first-serve basis. Show your management that you can speak by making presentations, show that you can lead by managing teams, or show that you can teach by offering a class to your company.

4. Compare your performance to other attempts. Always promote your successes by quantifying the results to previous attempts by others in your company or from other documented cases. Don't highlight the failure from the previous attempt but focus on the technique or skill you used that differentiates your attempt. One of the big issues organizations face today is flexibility in their operations or being able to respond to changing customer demands. Companies that are flexible in operations must first be flexible in thought. Demonstrating your ability to, not only think outside the box, but solve problems that way is a huge benefit to an organization that wants to grow.

5. Gather endorsements. An endorsement is a validation of your efforts and YOU. Get as many endorsements of your performance as you can. Recognition from others at higher levels is an acknowledgement of your ability to perform at their level. I was sought an endorsement from a billionaire for my efforts. It took me over 18 months to get it. Once I got it, it only took me two weeks to gain the support of other billionaires. Higher level executives are always managing risk, especially to their reputation. By having other executives validate you through an endorsement, you remove the perception of risk from the next executive who will endorse you. The more of that risk you reduce up front, the more likely you’ll get what you want.

6. Make your successes known. This can be a tough one for many people, although there’s a simple solution for this. To gain visibility, you must advertise yourself as much as you can. Many of us don’t like to tout what we have accomplished. Unfortunately, that’s about the only way we can get the good news of our accomplishments to those in power is by marketing them. Executives and managers don’t work around the organization and ask people what they have accomplished recently. If you’re lucky, that happens once a year in a performance review (and you know what benefits that has for your career). The best way to get the word out on your big victories is to build your own marketing team (e.g. your co-workers and friends). Use others to promote your achievements so you don't come off as bragging.

Maintaining a high rate of speed up the corporate ladder is difficult today, to say the least. Often the path isn’t purely vertical. Oh if it could be. Opportunities present themselves in many different ways, such as lateral, upward or downward. Nonetheless, developing a good method for encouraging a change when you need one is essential to continued career growth. After all, no one watches your career but you. These six steps are a great way to convince those at the helm that you are more than ready to take on a bigger role in the company.


Todd Rhoad, MSEE, MBA is the Director at BT Consulting, a career consulting firm in Altanta, and author of the book, Blitz The Ladder. Stay tuned for his upcoming book, The MBA Owners Manual, coming out this year. Todd can be reached at

Posted via web from AndyWergedal