Five ways to promote your career in just 10 minutes

Career development
  1. Phone someone you enjoyed working with

    Whether it's a previous customer, manager or colleague, you need to keep in touch. Phone them to catch up with what they are doing, tell them what you're doing, find out what you are both planning career wise. It is possible that you could help them or that they can help you. Try to keep them in your circle. You don't need to seek anything from them, just let them know what you are doing and the issues you are tackling at the moment. It's good to talk!

  2. Quantify an achievement

    If you want to build a great reputation, you need to have hard facts and figures at your fingertips. You need to show you're business savvy by doing the sums that prove you have added real value by the work you've done. Spend 10 minutes thinking about how to put figures on what you've achieved. Work out a rough estimate. Or spend 10 minutes working out how to collect the data you need to show the value you are adding. Even asking a senior manager to estimate the value gives you an objective figure to quote.

  3. Phone the in-company magazine

    Have you, your team, or your business area had successes lately that are newsworthy? Your internal magazine is always looking for stories, particularly if there is an opportunity to take pictures. Phone up the editor, ask if they'd be interested in running the story. Become a regular contributor for them, building the reputation of the department. Make sure you alert senior management of any proposed stories and articles.

  4. Learn from other people on your team

    Who would you love to learn from? Can you think of someone with particular skills that you admire and would like to acquire for yourself? Ask to shadow them for a day, or observe them in action in a negotiation or presentation; ask if they will mentor you for four months at an hour a month to develop your career or a skill; ask to do a career interview. Always approach people face-to-face or by phone as this is a personal request. Ask if they can spare five minutes, be clear about what you want and why you are approaching them in particular. Ask them to consider your request - they don't have to give an answer on the spot. Offer to follow up with a concise email with your proposal. Always ask for a small, defined amount of time - two to four hours - it makes it more likely they will agree to help you. And if it works out well, you will be in a better position to ask if the relationship can continue, and more knowledgeable about the help you could offer to them or their team in return.

  5. Commit yourself

    Use 10 minutes to write an email or make a phone call that will commit you to something that will be good for your career. For example, ask to put an item on the team agenda about an initiative you would like to get off the ground, offer to take on a responsibility, volunteer to deputise or give a presentation, volunteer to give a talk. Anything that will create a commitment that will drive you to take the action you know you really should take, but haven't quite managed to do yet. It doesn't take more than 10 minutes to create an opportunity that could be great for your career. Your biggest enemy is inertia - don't waste time dithering, seize the moment and take action!

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