If you’re on the corporate track and want to advance your career into management, then accepting stretch assignments simply makes sense. However, as experienced executive recruiters in Northern California, Pacific ExecSearch knows not all assignments are created equal, which is why you need to be highly selective when it comes to taking one on.

So how can you tell which assignments are most valuable – and which you should pass on? Below are the hallmarks of the best stretch assignments:

Sign #1: They Expand or Enhance Your Skill Set

The purpose of a stretch assignment is to build on existing strengths and acquire new ones – whether that means gaining more confidence in your leadership abilities, or developing new technical skills. Don’t put yourself in the running for a project that doesn’t have much potential to expand or enhance your skill set in some capacity. Otherwise, you won’t have a chance to challenge yourself and demonstrate your value as a leader.

Sign #2: They Expand or Enhance Your Network

The best stretch assignments offer plenty of opportunity for relationship building. They require you to expand your reach into other departments and to leaders and contacts you would typically not have access to.

Sign #3: They Help You Increase Your Visibility

Good stretch assignments get you on the radar of the higher ups at your company. They boost your profile within the company by enabling you to take on projects in which you can demonstrate initiative, skills, and work ethic – as well as achieve results quickly.

Sign #4: They Boost Your Reputation

What do you want to be known for in your company? The best stretch assignments are those opportunities that align not only with the personal brand you want to reflect currently within your organization, but the one you’re trying to build. For instance, if you want to be regarded as a strong leader, don’t take on assignments that require you to work alone.

Sign #5: They Don’t Jeopardize Your Current Role

One of the biggest mistakes individuals make when accepting stretch assignments is taking on too much – and jeopardizing their current roles in the process. Before you accept an assignment, be honest with yourself about whether you have the capacity to not only shoulder it, but excel within it – all without compromising your current duties.

Remember, when considering a stretch assignment, the purpose of it is not to add to an already busy schedule. It’s to develop your skills, build your network, enhance your personal brand, and advance your career.

If you’re ready to stretch yourself – and your career – in a new management position with a new company, call Pacific ExecSearch. As experienced executive recruiters in Northern California, we can help you uncover opportunities no one else knows about and guide you toward achieving your career goals. To learn more, please contact us today.