Career advice for those looking to progress up the ladder
Taking the next step up the career ladder can sometimes seem very daunting, so here are our top tips for successful career progression:
Get your manager on board
The person who is most likely to be able to assist you in your career progression within your current organisation is probably your manager, so schedule some time in with them, being upfront and clear about what you want to discuss.
Make sure you clearly tell your manager about your career goals and ask what opportunities there may be within the department or company as a whole, but also be prepared to listen to their advice and experiences – they were probably once in your shoes. You want your manager to be on your side and champion your cause, so stay positive and professional. Agree together what changes can be made to your current role to suit your chosen path, and consider any other ways in which you can help each other.
Prepare and plan
Set yourself a goal of where you'd like to be in five years, get a really good understanding of what the role is or does, what skills and experiences are required. Research as many details about it as you can. Try and talk to people who do that role, or similar roles if you are able.
Create a personal action plan
Once you have a good idea of the role you want and what experiences you need to be able to get there, put together an action plan. It may be best to do this with your manager, as they will probably be able to give you exposure to many of the areas you'd like to develop. Plan in any training courses you may wish to go on, and any other milestones along the way. Use the SMART format to make your plan more achievable.
Seek opportunities for further development
There are always things you can get involved in both in and out of work, to develop your skills and demonstrate your ambition and ability. It may not be immediately obvious what you can do, but don't be afraid to ask around.
Get stuck in
Make an impression within your own organisation by volunteering to take on challenging projects and assignments. One of the best ways to advance your career is to identify an organisational problem and propose a workable solution. By offering to implement the solution, you will not only increase your visibility as a problem-solver in the organisation, but you might also expand your skills and credibility in the process.
Don't try to do it alone
Even with the best will in the world, we can all get side-tracked, or bogged down in one thing or another and lose perspective on our endgame. But enlisting someone as a sounding board to help you keep on track can be very valuable.
Use a coach or mentor
In your networks, find somebody who would be prepared to give you an outside, unbiased perspective on your career development, and be there for advice and guidance when required. A good mentor would be someone who is more senior than you in their career, who has perhaps taken a similar path but who isn't someone directly involved with your day to day work. Share your career plan with them, and check in with them every few weeks for support, or guidance, and listen to their wisdom – you never know what you might learn!