Tired of sitting around waiting for the boss to throw you a bone? Considering cutting his brake lines in the hope you’ll get his job? Enough waiting: it's time to take action (not with the brake lines thing, lets keep it legal).

A smart man once said to me, opportunity isn’t given, it's grabbed.

What he meant with that statement is that you have to be ever watchful and prepared to advance your cause whenever possible. In some cases you may even be able to promote yourself by grabbing opportunities to advance your cause, such as -

1)       Looking for the gaps

From time to time gaps are going to appear in your organisation enabling you to take on extra work. These are opportunities to be grabbed! For example – if a role is vacant in your business above your position can you step in and take some of those responsibilities? Don’t wait for this to be offered, get in front of the decision maker and volunteer. Wait for gaps and start taking on extra duties. This may demand more work on your part, but no one ever got ahead by sitting around, I mean, look at what happened to Humpty Dumpty!

2)       If you're in sales, think about clients

There’s always going to be opportunities to call on a higher level of client. When I was a young rookie recruiter I was marketing salespeople, so I was dealing with Sales Managers. When they left I was without a client and there was no guarantee the new Sales Manager was going to use me. I realised that I had to start dealing with the key decision makers so I started calling on the GMs. I didn’t ask, I just did it. Before I knew it over half of my client base was made up of Senior Execs and I was promoted in the business as a result. I made the promotion I wanted happen by promoting my status with the client base. If you’re into some slick tips on this, be sure to watch “Suits”. Classic. Warning – watching Suits may also result in wanting to wear pinstripe suits and rack up 10K bar tabs.

3)       Think like a leader, act like a leader

Some questions for you
1) Are you part of the office gossip circle?
2) Clockwatcher – out the door at 5?
3) Enjoy a good drink with the team?
In my experiences in dealing with Senior Execs and talking to them about the people they promote these are the things that come up that have let people down. They were a bit of a whinger and/or loved nothing more than a good gossip, they worked a solid 40 hours and nothing more or they were last man standing talking jive at 2AM. You’ve got to rise above the petty day to day stuff and start setting an example, you need to put in the hours and you need to start peeling off when the managers do. Simple lessons that will carry you through your entire career.

4)       Invest in your career by investing in yourself

One of my clients, Brendon Simpson at Allegion has probably promoted more people in his business than any other single client I have. This from Brendon on (among other things) one of the major factors in identifying succession plan employees “I look for discretionary effort, people who go above and beyond their position description because they want to advance – people who are visible in taking on challenges and tackling them selflessly. This in conjunction with investing in developing themselves through reading, learning, studying subjects relevant to their role – shows me a person who is investing in themselves in order to improve their performance and as such is worthy of the companies investment.”

So there you have it! Looking forward to seeing your flash new business card.

Peace out.