Building Your Career Starts with Saying Yes

January 25, 2023

Caterpillar Lead Human Resources Manager, Nicole Mountjoy, is often asked for advice on career planning. Her decades of human resources experience make her a great resource for mapping out a great career. Here are ten tips from Nicole that will help you make your next career move.

1.      Say yes!  
It’s important to raise your hand and seize the moment when opportunities come your way to learn new skills to advance your career. You have to be willing to put your hand out and take them. 

2.      Be deliberate in personal and career development.  
Understand what you want - as well as what you don’t want in your next experience. Some key questions are “What are you willing to compromise on? What experiences are you trying to gain? What skills do you want to develop? How will this position help accomplish that?

3.      Go outside your comfort zone.   
Once you’ve said yes to an on-the-job experience or opportunity that you’ve never done before or haven’t done for a long time, think about how you can apply your existing leadership skills to that challenge. You may not start with a solution, but by applying what you know and working with your team you’ll find that it will generally bring you to a new and successful result.

4.       Focus on enhancing what you are as a professional.  
A willingness to expand your knowledge, stretch your abilities, and sharpen your business judgement will tend to lead to a great business result, especially when you are developing your team and supporting colleagues along the way.   

5.     Make yourself available.   
Keep in mind that when you let it be known that you are open to new experiences, you’ll also find yourself with new groups of people. Those connections to leaders and new team members may give you exposure and visibility to be considered for future learning, development and career roles.

6.     Know that there is no perfect formula.   
Timing can play a big factor in career plans – as well as luck. Keep an open mind and be ready for what’s next by being amazing at what you’re doing now.

7.     Take time for honest self-reflection.   
Genuine self-reflection can sharpen your emotional intelligence. Look back and ask yourself questions at the end of the day or after meetings such as what did I learn?  What would I do differently if presented with this interaction or opportunity again?  

8.     Build your network.  
Be intentional to network, do informational interviews, get to know people, their roles and their career journey.  All of this can open new doors, strengthen your network and provide additional insight into how to achieve your goals. 

9.     Maximize your opportunities and see the power of doors opening.   
Accepting work assignments outside of your area of expertise will give you the opportunity to do different things. These are jobs you may not have imagined, but often turn out to be your most rewarding career experiences. 

10.  Give back to groups you believe in.   
One key to personal development is embracing many different types of opportunities. Take on board member roles, volunteer spots and more – and you’ll find growth in many different skills that you can apply to your current and future roles.  ​​​​​​​

Remember, it isn’t just a snapshot when you are looking for your next role. This is an on-going process of personal growth and future planning. The clearer you can be with yourself on your goals, passions, and what is most important to you – both personally and professionally – the clearer the path is, and the decisions are easier to make.  

At Caterpillar, the work we do here matters, but you won’t get lost in it. We understand that you have unique personal motivations for how you prefer to manage your career and define your path. That’s why Caterpillar offers a variety of options and support to help employees in their personal and professional lives. Are you ready to join the team?