One of the challenges that employees face throughout their careers is how to progress in their careers. Sounds simple enough but often individuals don’t how to go about it – a bit like management, you’re not handed a rulebook or guidelines as part of your starter pack.
As soon as you do start a new job, you will come under scrutiny as people begin to form an opinion of you as a person and a professional. Even though you’ll hopefully prove your worth, getting ahead isn’t so straightforward.
Many professionals discover that despite their best efforts, their career is stagnating. That much wanted promotion or salary rise just doesn’t seem to happen, which can be very frustrating.
So what should we read into that? While it’s hard to speculate for everyone, there are some things you can implement to turn the odds in your favour. Here are our top five:
Raise your visibility
One of the ways to boost your profile to the wider business is by increasing your visibility. It’s important to get your work noticed by people in positions of influence. Think about how you can evolve parts of your role and how you can make an impact on the business. It could be an idea or a report, the key takeaway is to get your name out there!
The person who will singlehandedly have the most influence on your career is your direct line manager. You may have a perfectly good rapport with him or her, but could you be doing more to lighten their load? If you know, for example, that there is a particular project that’s taking up a lot of their time and energies, you might be able to help and take on some of their responsibilities.
Plan your development
With a bit of luck you’ll work for an organisation that places a lot of importance on learning and development. But even if you have access to in-house training and external courses, how else can you boost your industry knowledge? Pursuing further study or attending industry events are two options at your disposal. Consider the gaps in your knowledge and what you can do to address them.
Seek a mentor
One of the best things you can do is to find a mentor. This could be a senior manager in your department, but ideally someone working in another function would be preferable as they can impart a different perspective on things and help to guide you. Ask your manager if they can recommend someone. Mentoring can be a very effective way to help you advance your career.
Change of scene?
You may have done all of the above, worked hard, been a good team player and universally liked, yet the doors still close. Sometimes we just have to realise that the only option is to leave and change jobs because the environment just isn’t right for us. You will find the right place for you.
As we’ve discussed, there are quite a few things you can do to get ahead. The key takeaway is that progressing doesn’t happen by chance, you need to have a strategy. And that means taking the initiative and importantly ownership of your career.