For many individuals that are just starting out in their careers, one of the biggest mental hurdles to overcome is not being afraid to express opinions openly and transparently in the face of management and professional networks. To clarify, the opinions which I speak of are purely professional in nature and relate directly to career development. Speaking from personal experience, I know that it’s so easy to fall into the trap of believing that if we just work hard enough in our given roles, we will eventually be discovered and then whisked off for bigger and better things. What we often forget is that when it comes to career growth and development, it’s up to ourselves to seek out opportunities that reflect our fields of interest. Sometimes that means that we have to ask for what we want; there really isn’t anyone else to do it for us. Yes, that seems like a daunting task initially, but perhaps Christie can shed some more light on this topic and in turn, give us all a well needed confidence boost to just go for it.
Christie Lohr: “I’ve always recognized myself as a bit of an introvert and some of my shyness has stayed with me throughout my career. With that said, that has never been an obstacle that has obstructed me from asking for what I want. I think too many people have the misconception in their heads that “asking for what you want” is the equivalent of demanding something: a raise, a promotion, or otherwise, hence the reservations that come up in regards to doing so. For me, I’ve never approached the task of asking for more opportunities as a demand, rather, I see it as a chance to openly express my personal interests regarding various ventures. If you’ve already proven yourself as a reliable worker in any present roles, then chances are management or contacts also recognize the same ability in you. However, here is where a lack of communication occurs that often prevent people from moving forward in their careers. Yes, you may be recognized as being great in what you currently do, but if you possess aspirations for other things that you don’t vocalize, then who would know to consider you for any aligning opportunities?
When I did fashion segments on Breakfast Television as a representative for Le Chateau (with my appearances coordinated by Le Chateau’s PR), I had the idea to represent myself and showcase other brands by doing style segments as simply Christie Lohr, and not Christie Lohr of Le Chateau. I knew that I already had an established relationship with Breakfast Television so I went ahead and expressed my interest in being an all-around fashion expert. This wasn’t merely for me. I knew that showcasing other brands would definitely increase the range of topics that could be discussed on their style segment, therefore appealing to a wider audience. Breakfast Television recognized that too as they agreed it would be a great idea and thus, I became their fashion expert.
If you see an opportunity within your current company or within a personal connection’s company, then express your interest! Start by presenting a reason as to why you think that you could be a great fit for the role and any ideas that you would execute if you did adopt the role. Most people in management positions are quite receptive to ideas promoting the growth of their respective companies. You’d be surprised at how many people would be willing to give your ideas a shot if you simply put them forward. Think of being open and transparent regarding what you want as a chance to showcase your skills and aptitudes. Are you into fashion merchandising while you’re in a sales associate role? Then speak openly of your interest and approach your management with your personal inspiration/style boards! Perhaps you know that you could definitely fulfill a position that you were initially rejected for. Try to get in direct contact with recruitment to ask for feedback. The worst someone can say is no, and that really isn’t so bad (it’s not personal, and remember that!).
I requested an interview with Fashion Canada even after 3 internship rejections because I knew in my heart that I could fulfill the position well. They agreed to the interview request and I got the internship in the end. Would the results have been the same if I had just left it off after the rejections? Certainly not.”
I think what Christie discussed is a great way of approaching the task of “asking for what you want.” She’s right, most of us think of “asking” as “demanding,” and that’s definitely not the way to go. If we simply aimed to express our ideas and interests more openly in the face of our professional networks, then perhaps opportunity inquiries would become wholly less daunting of a task.
Have you ever had a missed opportunity because you were afraid to express your interest for fear of rejection? Make it a personal resolution to start asking for what you want by Christie’s terms to truly fast track our career development!
Be sure to tune in on Wednesday from 5-6pm PST for our live Twitter #SNTFCareerChat. This is the perfect time to tweet out any of your personal career questions for Christie to answer!
By: Anna Zhao
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