Have you ever felt you could accomplish more in your career, or long for a change in direction or to explore a new field? Maybe you’ve felt frustration because you lack the knowledge or skills to excel in a corporate environment or manage a team of professionals?
All of the above scenarios are possible without interfering with your current position, or starting from scratch and spending four plus years and thousands of dollars obtaining a new university degree or college diploma.
Keep reading and I will share the exact frameworks I used to go from working night shift as an aircraft technician, to landing a position as a Corporate Manager by augmenting my pre-existing skill and experience with quality management principles and literally doubling my salary in a relatively short period of time.
Why Quality Management?
Why would I decide to get into the field of quality management? What benefit could that possibly have on my career advancement? I don’t know anything about auditing, quality control or assurance!
You may not realize it, but you likely have a sizable degree of competency in quality management already. Through your career experience you understand the processes and procedures required to complete tasks proficiently and meet requirements, but you see it in the context of production or an end result, and not for the strategically planned and systematic steps to reaching the final goal with accuracy and consistency.
Each of those individual steps has a purpose and when you step back and deconstruct the process you can see the mechanics that make up the whole. This is Quality Management, understanding the reasoning behind the mechanics of a process and ensuring their execution to reach that expected result each time.
With a mixture of select quality and management training and an informed action plan you could be on your way to becoming a quality management professional and taking your career to new heights.
Once you have a level of proficiency in quality management principles, and frameworks, you can apply those principles to any industry or corporate discipline. Quality management principles remain the same regardless of the application and can be adapted to all organizations, regardless of type, size and product/service provided.
Familiarize Yourself with the Quality Community
Now that you have a general idea of what quality management looks like, its time to really dig in and immerse yourself. Find out everything you can about quality management and options available in this field. But don’t limit your search to quality specific topics alone. Find out what other skills will assist you in your career goals such as management or administrative accompaniments.
If career advancement has always been a priority, then you have likely done some elemental research on such topics already.
When I first began my career in quality management as a quality auditor I spent countless hours researching the field online, participating in quality related forums and read hundreds of articles. I was determined to learn everything I could to better position myself for advancement. I still do this now!
Read online blogs, and forums on the topic, and find out what others in this field are talking about. Participate in threads and post relevant questions. What skills are required? What training would you have to take to gain the required skill set? Most people will be happy to share their knowledge and experiences with you.
I recommend you reach out to managers or key people at organizations you would be interested in working for or hiring managers within your current place of employment. This will not only give you priceless first hand insight, but could be a much needed foot in the door down the line.
Keep a record of your findings during your research activities, and update it as you go. Take note of websites you find helpful, blogs you enjoy reading or forums that offer value . Make a separate section for courses and training you uncover as well as the method of instruction and start dates. Some courses may only be available in your location at select times, and can fill up quickly, so its a good idea to keep track of this information as not to miss out on a valuable offering.
Maintaining a record when performing research is vital in keeping yourself from becoming overwhelmed, as you chase links and process a hefty amount of information. This may seem like hard work — and it is — but remember, you are doing the work upfront and eliminating the guess work as you start to progress and make career decisions later on.
Develop Your Quality Game Plan…
Establish a game plan and map out the steps you plan to take to achieve your goals. By putting together a strategic list of action steps, you will remain focused and motivated. It will give you a clear path to achieving your goals and help you right the ship if you start to get discouraged or confused about what to do next.
Use the information you uncovered during your research and develop your strategies. Again, as you did in the research stage, keep a record of your plan. This will be a valuable resource as you progress. When you get stuck or become overwhelmed with tactics or lose sight of your next move, go back to your plan and regain your focus. This is a very important step and should not be overlooked. Set achievable milestones along the way to help with motivation.
It’s Time to Take Action…
Begin implementing your strategies. This is where the fun starts! Put your hard work to good use and systematically implement each strategy by following the game plan you have laid out for yourself. Remember to refer back to your plan regularly for guidance and motivation.
Sign up for the individual training courses you identified to be most valuable during your research. Whether it be proficiency in Microsoft Office, leadership skills, or business management. Enroll in an Internal/External Auditing course, or Root Cause Analysis, or an ISO 9000 familiarization course online — or your industry standard equivalent.
You should have the logistics of where and when these courses are being offered from your research. Most Universities will have a continuing education program geared towards mature part time students with careers and families. These courses are generally offered in a blended format, partly online and partly in classroom. You can even enrol in a certificate program if you wanted to go deeper into a particular area.
Remember to reach out to leaders in the quality field, and forge relationships that will benefit you now and in the future. Networking with people in your industry is such an important activity that can add massive value to your career advancement, but is highly overlooked. So give yourself the advantage!
You don’t need to complete everything all at once, but get the ball rolling. You will be surprised how gratifying it is once you complete each step. When I completed a course or training program I could not wait to get started on the next.
These are some of the exact strategies I used to advance my own career. I have learned that by breaking things down into actionable steps and systematically following through, anyone can make themselves more marketable to their desired employers.
Would you like to learn more about systems that will help you advance your career from someone who has spent countless hours researching and implementing these strategies? Just give me your name and email address here, and you’ll get access to my private email list, including strategies and tactics I won’t share anywhere else.
Also, get my FREE Quality Essentials eCourse and learn how Quality Management can help to diversify and expand your professional skill set.