Career advancement is something that is important to a lot of people; it’s what keeps them motivated and interested in what they are doing. Although for some staying in the same position for many years is not a problem (it might even be enjoyable and exactly what they are happy to do), for others this would be a terrible thing – they want to do well and progress. If you fall into the latter of the two schools of thought, here are some useful ways to help you advance your career and become what you want to be.
Know What You Want
If you want to advance your career, you will need to know just what you are heading for. It will be hard to progress if you only have a vague idea about where you want to end up – before you can start the career advancement journey you need to have a definite destination in mind.
You might, for example:
- Want to work at a specific company.
- Want to relocate to a chosen destination.
- Want to start your own business.
- Want to be the boss.
Knowing this means that you can plan exactly how to get there, and once you have a plan you can break it down into smaller, more manageable steps to achieve what you want.
It’s Not Just A Job
If you start working and think of what you are doing as just a job, you are unlikely to be able to advance very far. If instead you go into what you are doing and think of it as a career – something entirely different from a job – you will go a lot further.
Your attitude to a career will be different to that of a job, and your employers, customers, and even your colleagues will be able to notice this right away. This difference in attitude could also be the difference you need to progress. You need to stand out from everything else and be the best at what you do; if you know you are going to go further because this is a career and not a job, it will show and that is a good thing.
If you can, position yourself as an expert in your field, perhaps even showing consultant potential. This will mean that people will come to you for help, and once more will show that you are a crucial member of the team and therefore more likely to be promoted.
It doesn’t matter what sector you are working in, the more you can learn about it and business in general, the better your chances are of advancement. There are many ways to continue learning, but the main thing to bear in mind is that if you are offered an opportunity to learn something new you should take it whenever possible.
Training at work is a great way to learn more about the specifics of what you are doing, but you will also be able to take some of the more transferable skills that you will pick up and use them in a variety of different jobs. Sometimes advancement means starting again in a new area; if it means you can progress more quickly.
You can also organize your own learning, and it doesn’t have to clash with your working life either. You can take a masters in civil engineering online and work in your own time and at your own pace, for example. If you want to go out and meet people, you might choose an evening course at a local college. The options that are available for learning these days are many, and there is sure to be a course at a time and in a place that suits you. The more you know, the further you can take your career.
Risk taking is not for everyone, but the higher you go within a business, the more risks you will need to take, and that is true for career development too. If you’re not happy in the role you are working in, and you know that you can do something else, and perhaps even deserve something better, then it could that taking the risk and going to obtain that new role is worth it.
The risk to you might mean applying for other jobs even if you are comfortable where you are. It might be quitting and starting up your own business. It could be anything in between. What you need to do is down to you and how far you want to go. Your capacity to take risks will be different to someone else’s, so do what works for you and not necessarily what someone else advises you to do. You should always have a backup plan just in case the idea you are working on doesn’t pan out in the way that you expect it to.
To do well in your career, you need to understand what you are doing and have a wide base of knowledge. However, it can also be advantageous to know the right people, which is where networking can come in. Networking isn’t about expecting or being given a new job or a promotion just because you happen to have chatted to someone important at an event. Instead, it is about getting to know the people who will be able to open up opportunities to you, and showing them that they would not be disappointed if they took a chance on hiring you or introducing you to someone who might want to hire you.
There are many networking events that are held all over the country, and if you search online, there will be some near to you. Some will be specific to certain sectors, and others will be more generalized. Some will require a subscription, and some can be paid on an ad hoc basis. There might even be some free ones. Work out which is best and try a few out. You never know who you might meet.
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