What got you to Level One will not get you to Level Two

By Scot Herrick | Cube Rules Commentary

Jul 18

At the beginning of your career, your technical skills matter the most. Whether you're in business, healthcare, or other service industries, your job skills will carry the day with a hiring manager.

Truth be told, you won't have a lot of experience starting out -- perhaps valuable internships -- so proving you can do the job is of paramount importance.

If you consider that as your Level One, simply having great skills won't get you to Level Two. There's more to do at Level Two. More considerations. More to prove before you can get there.

And while you can up-level your career many times, right now, in the position you're in, you're in a new Level One. If you're interested in moving up or over, what you're doing now isn't enough to get you to Level Two. It never is, right?

All nice, of course. But what, exactly, does it take to up-level the next level? To that next position you want to have? 

There are things you must prove. Let's take a look at them...

1. Job Skills still rule

Regardless of where you are on the career path you still need to prove that you can do the job through your job skills. Consequently, as you go forward in your career you need to continually build skills that will enable you to do the work you need to do in the next position. While it's true that job skills will not be as important the longer you go in your career the bottom line is still that you must have skills to do the work or you will fail.

2. Your job performance counts

While your job skills may not be as important the longer you go in your career, the truth of the matter is is that your job performance counts more than anything. If you end up doing good work and your job performance is always stellar, you'll end up being looked at as a person who knows how to do their job, has the skills to do their job, and consequently will be presented with opportunities.

Promotions and lateral moves don't just happen. Hiring managers looking for people who will fill their position - people who have proven that they can do the work and have the skills to do the job. The way they do that is looking at your job performance and doing an evaluation as to whether or not you can help with their business priorities and and achieving them.

Cubicle Warriors understand that job performance is the most important piece of getting a new position. If you are not performing in your current position it's extremely difficult to find a new position where you'll find satisfaction. You have to prove in your current position that you can have a good job performance. I understand that's not always easy to do especially if you have a poor manager. But good job performance is a big differentiator for most people and you need to strive to get it.

3. How you interact with people counts

Regardless of all the management theory out there, work gets done with people.

And they come in all different personalities, backgrounds, temperaments, and motivation. Navigating all that is challenging. Working with all those different types of people can be hard.

If you're an individual contributor, you can't tick everyone off. And if you're a manager, you can't fire everyone. Consequently, how you work with people to get work done is an important skill that grows ever more important as you go through your career.

4. Your business network matters

As you know more people -- and work well with them -- you will develop a reputation. Hopefully, that reputation is one where you get stuff done, get along with people, and know your stuff.

Here's what happens then: people leave your company and go work at other companies.

Why is that important? Because people who leave your company will want to work with you. They will tell you about job openings.  And if you are looking for a position, they will help you find a position in their new company. Or hire you as a hiring manager.

You've heard of the "hidden job market"? This is how it works: A person has a good work and results reputation, other managers who know you working in other companies -- or your own company -- know of an opening, and then you get the phone call or email asking if you're interested.

And that is what gets you to Level Two.  

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