Successful careers don’t happen in isolation. You’ll be working amongst other people, many of whom are intent on finding a way to move up in the organization too. It’s a hugely competitive landscape for employees out there. Not only will their managers be watching for which employees are worthy of getting promoted, but there’s competition from new people being recruited from outside too.
To get ahead in life and also in your career, it’s necessary to proceed in a deliberate manner. In this article, we cover a few areas where this might apply for you to get better results in your career.
Look for Opportunities and Be the First to Volunteer
Are you a go-getter or someone who hopes that they’re not picked for a key assignment because it’ll add to your current workload and require longer hours?
While taking on extra projects isn’t everyone’s preference, especially if it requires a few longer days that aren’t remunerated, it all comes back to career advancement. We all know people who do the minimum, get the job done, and disappear immediately when the finish time is here. If they excel, they might be seen as hyper efficient, but as a mediocre performance, they’ll be amongst the first to be let go when a recession hits.
Make yourself invaluable. Help co-workers when they need assistance. Cross-train in other roles within the department to provide cover when someone’s off sick or has a family emergency. Be honest about mistakes and fix them quickly. Get noticed by being an excellent performer who’s present, focused and a hard worker.
Advancement – Do You Wait for It or Take It?
You cannot leave advancement up to chance. That occasionally works, but in many cases people change to another employer to get their “promotion” and pay rise because offers weren’t forthcoming.
It doesn’t mean that you change employers every three months, but it does mean not sitting around for years without moving up and wondering what happened to your career either.
Examine what career paths are possible within the department and the company as a whole. Does the industry suit you, or can you get to like it? Are there ways to develop yourself to become better suited to it, or to be seen as the right kind of person for the business?
Consider if there are short courses or professional certifications that will go some way to being given opportunities for promotion. Relevant short courses can give you a leg up with promotions that aren’t much higher than your current level and continue your career trajectory. This provides a short steppingstone and avoids being seen within the company and on your resume as someone who’s become stagnant in their career.
Explore Longer-term Career Growth Opportunities
Looking beyond the more immediate ways to move up, it’s then useful to think a few years ahead to where you want to be and what you’ll need to get there.
It doesn’t matter if you cannot see those career opportunities with your current employer either, because you won’t necessarily even work in the same industry later on. Cast your mind to the future, be openminded, and consider what’s possible for your career.
What is suitable for your skillset, and how could it be developed? If you have a knack for business, marketing, management or financial matters, or all four, then certainly an MBA is worth looking into because it’s a serious, broad business qualification that offers entry into senior management and CEO positions.
To learn more about the MBA course, it’s useful to speak directly with the people who deal with enrolment and the faculty for the college or school where they’re taught. There are MBA Tours which are currently being run around the world at different cities. To see if they’ll be near your city, check out university websites to attend MBA conferences. This is more affordable than traveling to one or more college campuses because multiple colleges are available at conferences to talk to and find out the information you’ll need.
Avoid Burning Out
The temptation when you’re younger is to burn the candle at both ends and not worry about the outcome. Depending on how hard charging you are in your career, that may not have a happy ending. It can lead to burn out or excess anxiety, which makes it difficult to continue at that point.
To avoid the risk of reduced performance and having your life badly affected, it’s important to allow for recovery time when you’re not at work. You cannot expect to work long hours or even the occasional weekend and not suffer the consequences; even if you’re one of the youngest people on the workforce. Taking time out is just as important and pushing forward, otherwise high performance is unsustainable.
Developing your career in a deliberate manner requires you to be focused, flexible and progressive in your thinking. When you’re open to new possibilities and willing to put in the hard work, results should follow.
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