Finding Your Career Niche

To really succeed, says Cindy Kraft, a career coach who works with CFOs, you need to go niche.

This doesn’t mean clamping down on outside-the-job-description opportunities; in fact, quite the opposite, Kraft told SmartBrief in a recent interview. Rather, when looking for a promotion or seeking a new job, “position yourself from your individual strengths, passions, and values and being very clear about what you have.”

And keep track of your own contributions and benefits, because your bosses won’t do it for you: if you’re seeking an internal promotion, Kraft says, you have to sell yourself three times more than an external hire has to.

The three most important ways to carve out your own niche:

* Build your network, internally and externally. The new definition of networking is not who you know — but who knows about you.

* Find a mentor. It’s an opportunity to learn from a seasoned executive and get introductions to his or her cone of influence.

* Track bottom line impacts diligently, and use them at yearly performance evaluations. Numbers make all the difference. Do you make a company more than it costs them to keep you? If so, you have much more leverage.