New and Transitioning Professionals | Business Teachers | Career Counselors/Human Resource Professionals


Baker's Dozen: 13 Tips for Being Your Own Best Advocate in the Workplace

  1. Adopt a self-employed attitude-and honor your own innate wisdom.
  2. Get oriented to your company's basic office procedures, financial reporting systems, staff and customers, and information resources, including "human encyclopedias."
  3. Make work- and career-related decisions with an eye to your own mission and goals. Choices either support your mission and goals, or they don't.
  4. Network both inside and outside your organization-first and foremost for mutual benefit. It is a continuous process. You must show up AND interact.
  5. Become an excellent communicator by understanding differences in communication styles and developing your listening skills.
  6. Refuse to become obsolete: regularly upgrade your skills and competencies. Share any information you gain with your colleagues.
  7. Make performance reviews more gratifying and less mysterious: keep a kudos file and create a portfolio. Portfolios are useful not only for documenting your career but for demonstrating your value in times of budget cuts or downsizing.
  8. Toot your own horn-in fact, promote your potential as well as your accomplishments. How? Develop leadership qualities. Bring your boss solutions, not problems. Volunteer on projects that "aren't in your job description." Find ways to distribute your work in ways that brings kudos to you and to others . Do what comes "naturally": work on projects that let you shine.
  9. Show how your unique skills and accomplishments qualify you for a promotion. Then ask for one. If you don't ask, you don't get.
  10. Increase your political capital by learning to pick your battles, acting strategically on behalf of the organization's mission and goals, understanding your own motivations and values, and incorporating the arts of lobbying, compromise, and graceful defeat into your skills repertoire.
  11. Rely on yourself rather than on your supervisor to define your career path, and realize that change brings gain as well as loss.
  12. Enhance your career by creating a formal relationship with a professional mentor or business coach.
  13. Embrace your own greatness. Instead of thinking "I can't," ask "What's next?" and "What if?"

©2003 Joanne Lozar Glenn,