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It’s so blatantly obvious. The new guy is trying to grab all the hot jobs—those jobs that get the most exposure and have the highest dollar value—even though he isn’t a very good project manager. He’s a number cruncher for crying out loud! Why won’t he let the team member who has the most experience and right skills have the job? Someone like…you! You would be a great project manager, you’ve been there longer, you have a proven track record, and you SHOULD be next in line for those hot jobs.

And why doesn’t your boss just offer you a hot job opportunity? The new guy must be better at office politics. What else could it be?

This is the fourth in a mini-series of five posts on how to create your Personal Value Proposition (PVP). (Find the first one here.) Creating your own brand is the key to standing out and getting noticed. Many of us know this yet struggle to make it happen.

Strutting our stuff, speaking up, and stepping into the spotlight is easier said than done. Unless of course you are a narcissistic extrovert. The rest of us have been taught to behave, be polite, and wait patiently for our turns. Plus, if you are a woman like me, you still struggle with how a ‘good girl’ is supposed to act. Do good girls ever get ahead in the business world?

When I was working as the Sr. Director at a Bill Gates company, there was a direct report team member who had seniority and was next in line to move ahead. I remember my conversation with her vividly. When I asked what her goals were, she replied that she wanted a promotion. Specifically, she wanted a management position. I asked what she had done to demonstrate she had the skills and the respect from her team to become a manager.

What she said next killed her promotion right then and there.

She said I would have to give her the promotion first and THEN she would show me.

I could hardly believe my ears. Yet, this is not an uncommon mindset. Do you think that someone, somewhere, sometime will see past what you are doing right now and simply hand you a promotion? Do you believe it’s enough that you a) are next in line; b) have paid your dues; or c) proven time and time again that you are… well, staying in the safe zone?

This approach doesn’t work. When making a significant investment, we want to try before we buy. So does your boss. Before you get that smoking hot job opportunity you have to demonstrate you can do the job.

The truth is that scoring hot jobs, those projects that quickly propel your career forward, is the key to career advancement. These are your opportunities to show off and prove your worth.

You know the squeaky wheel gets the oil, so unless you speak up you are going to be overlooked.

If you’ve been following my PVP mini-series, go ahead and march into your boss’s office right now and tell him or her the next hot job is yours. By now you have your super skill to show off, you are no longer a wallflower, you know what you have to offer, and you can speak up without being a bitch or a bully.

Hog it, grab it, take it, volunteer to take it, or wrestle that hot job opportunity away from the new guy. You’ve been letting him steal the spotlight for too long.

In the next and final segment we talk about how to build strategic alliances within your office. You’ll need these to make it to the top.

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