Moving up the ladder at work to advance your career is perhaps more difficult than ever. Here are some tips to help you make it happen.
1. Have a Clear Goal in Mind
Accomplishing a lofty goal like career advancement is never an easy feat but it will be much more difficult, if not impossible, if you don’t think about exactly what you’re working toward. Do you want to become a manager? Do you want to become the CEO? Whatever your ultimate goal is for moving up the ladder at work, you should take the time to think about the specifics and the best ways to take steps forward. You might even find it helpful to write these ideas down so you can refer back to them and remind yourself what you’re working towards to stay motivated.
2. Keep Learning
Whatever stage of your career you’re currently at, there has certainly been plenty of learning and education involved already. But you can’t stop there. To advance further, you may need additional formal advanced education or certificates. Even if that’s not the case, you will definitely need to learn new information and skills to excel in the new, higher position you’re trying to reach. When your learning stagnates, your career will too. Absorb as much information as you can while in your current position and don’t be afraid to seek out additional courses.
3. Seek Out A Mentor
In line with learning more, finding a great mentor is a meaningful step to advance your career. A mentor can teach you the ins and outs of the industry so you’ll know what works and what doesn’t. But as eager as you may be, don’t be rash in reaching out to someone to ask them to be your mentor. Take the time to find someone with whom you’re compatible with and the relationship will be much more valuable. Then, ask deliberate, specific questions and be respectful of the person’s time.
4. Make Preparation Your Best Friend
The quote from Benjamin Franklin saying, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” has stood the test of time and is perfectly applicable to the world of business today. Developments can happen rapidly at work so it pays to think things out ahead of time. While everyone else scrambles, you’ll be ready to go. If you have a solution in mind before problems arise and are consistently a step ahead, your bosses are sure to notice.
5. Stay Accountable
Accountability at work is all about owning up to your mistakes and taking responsibility. Someone who can admit when they’re wrong and take steps to right those wrongs is infinitely more valuable to an organization than someone who obfuscates and pawns responsibility off on others. You should hold yourself accountable to your own goals, too, or they might fall by the wayside when things get tough.
6. Ask For What You Want
As much as everyone hopes their bosses will notice all their hard work and just reward it with promotions and raises when the time is right, things don’t always work out that way. You can be waiting indefinitely if you don’t take the initiative to ask for what you want. It can be intimidating to go to your boss and ask for the promotion you think you deserve but that’s the best way to make consistent advancements. In the worst-case scenario, you won’t get the promotion but you will receive helpful feedback about what you need to do to get it next time.
7. Go Above And Beyond
In any organization, there are going to be plenty of average employees. They do what’s expected of them and little more, clocking out as soon as possible. Of course, you should continue to ace the basics but you should also take the initiative to go above and beyond the tasks listed in your job description. Consider helping out colleagues when they’re overloaded or putting in extra hours to finish work on tight deadlines. Then, when it comes time for a performance review or one-on-one meeting, be sure to let your manager know the extra work you did and how committed you have been.
8. Be A Problem Solver
Anyone can sit back and recognize that there is a problem but few people are willing to step up and offer solutions to that problem and then execute them. A reliable problem solver is an asset that no company will want to give up. Yes, putting yourself out there to solve problems does create the risk that you’ll mess up but as long as you take responsibility for mistakes when they happen, your managers will likely still appreciate the proactive effort you made. You’ll stand out from the pack when you’re willing and able to step up to solve problems, making you a ripe candidate for promotion.
9. Foster Connections
Networking is a critical part of career advancement in any industry. You never know when one of the connections you make, either at your organization or in the wider industry, could prove useful. As they say, who you know can matter more than what you know. Of course, don’t treat the people around you as mere tools that you can use to advance your own career; that will surely backfire. Focus on fostering genuine connections by being helpful and amicable. When it comes time to pick someone for a promotion or change companies, those connections may come in handy.
10. Be A Team Player
Almost all work environments are collaborative to some degree at this point. That means people who are only out for themselves won’t make it very far. Even as you focus on your own goals, you should remain committed to the goals of your organization and work well with your co-workers. If you prove yourself to be a good team player and make the people around you better, it will pay off for you in the end.
Moving up the career ladder is only one way to pursue success. Without being ambitious, and being in a job that you’re passionate about, you will never reach the top of the ladder.
You can’t expect to reach the greater things if you haven’t done the hard work and the dedication to achieve your goals especially if you’re in a job that you don’t love doing. It takes effort, pushing yourself to the limit, stepping out of your comfort zone and taking no for an answer that will make you reach a higher level of success.
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