Today's business world is more cutthroat than ever. As jobs have become more unstable, employees have had to make themselves as competitive as possible to get ahead.
Dan Schawbel, the author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success, says often people do it all wrong. One of the best -- and most underutilized -- ways to advance your career today, says Schawbel, is by working your way up in your own company. Meaning you need to focus on building relationships with your own co-workers.
I recently interviewed Schawbel, and he shared three tips for networking your way to the corner office within your own company:
1. Have a Positive Attitude
"What's really interesting is I do a ton of studies on this, [and] by the end of the year, there will be 19 primary research studies," says Schawbel. "Attitude is the running theme in everything."
Schawbel says that it is not merely performance that can help you reach your goals. Your own attitude toward the work is actually a significant variable in your own success.
Schawbel also says working on the right projects makes a difference. "Getting along with people and working on the right projects," is crucial, says Schawbel. "In order for [young people] to work most effectively and give back to the company and give all that value, they need to work on the right projects and work with the right people."
In other words, to successfully network up the company ranks, you need to be in harmony with your coworkers, have a strong work ethic and work on projects that express your value to the company. Schawbel says your network will expand organically as a result of these things, and your reputation will grow.
2. Be a Good Teammate
Schawbel also says having the ability to work well with a team is highly valuable in today's business world. Teamwork skills are related to attitude but different in certain key ways, says Schawbel. Attitude is primarily a psychological factor, which does not necessarily reflect job performance. Teamwork, on the other hand, involves both the ability to work well with others, and the ability to provide the skills needed to help the team get the job done correctly.
According to Schawbel, "If you leave too early (from a job), it looks really bad on your resume too. Because you are not seen as loyal." In other words, it is important to be a team player, and to be loyal to your company.
3. Volunteer for Work that Can Help You Branch Out and Make New Connections Within Your Company
Finally, Schawbel says you should prioritize work that helps you make new connections within your company. In other words, to the extent possible, choose work that can help you branch out and make new and potentially important connections within your company.
Basically, your role is [to ask] yourself how can I meet other people and do other projects in other groups that I'm interested in? It's almost like getting informational interviews across the company or just starting to collaborate and work somehow with these other people in other departments so that you get a feeling of what it's like to work there before you make the jump.
Essentially Schawbel is saying that within your own company, there may be a gold mine of opportunities for making connections. By seizing any opportunity you can to work with people in your company in areas that you are interested in; you are essentially laying the groundwork for you to gain more access to this area of your company in the future.
That corner office in your own company could be yours before you know it. A positive attitude, teamwork skills and prioritizing the right kind of work can help you on your way. Before long, people may even be trying to network with you to help them to move up the corporate ladder.
John Corcoran is a former Clinton White House Writer and creator of Smart Business Revolution, where he shares advice on how to grow your income by building better relationships in business. You can download his free 52-page ebook, How to Increase Your Income Today by Building Relationships with Influencers, Even if you Hate Networking.