October 3, 2012
By Kate White
Last month, I did something that caught some people by surprise: I left my job as editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, the most successful women’s magazine in the world. That’s a lot to give up- including free access to the fabulous Cosmo beauty closet. But a year and a half ago, as I looked down the road, I saw that I was approaching a key turning point in my career. If I wanted to try something bold and different, I had to grab the chance sooner rather than later. In other words, it was time for me to do some serious career management. In January, I told my boss I would be leavingtowards the end of the year to focus on being an author, speaker and entrepreneur.
Sometimes we can get so caught up in doing our job that we lose sight of our overall career. But you need to be a relentless architect of your career. You have to manage your career—and your success—as well as you manage your job.
You may have thought that by doing your job really well, you were also taking care of your career—and to some degree that’s the case. But in many ways, they call for different skills and tasks.
Here are some key strategies to make sure you’re managing your career brilliantly:
1. Demonstrate your upward mobility.
Try to imagine how your boss might describe you to someone. If the description is less than fabulous, consider why and then kick your butt quickly into gear.
Start going to meetings with big, bold ideas, give your full attention to projects, volunteer for new assignments or stuff your boss is too busy for—and then knock it out of the park. Get a new haircut and a couple of great outfits to signal that you have your mojo back.
And don’t be afraid to verbalize your intentions to your boss. I got a note from a staffer after she received a promotion, and she ended it with the phrase, “Someday I want to be you.” It was the first time I realized how fiercely ambitious she was—and I liked that.
2. Be ready.
If you don’t have the right skills (public speaking, social media, whatever) for the next big job in your sights, get them.
Also, check out online the jobs you think you want. What are the full descriptions and necessary requirements? How can you position yourself to be a better candidate for those jobs?