You might be pretty happy in the industry you’re working in, already.
You might have even found a good organisation to work for, one that you think you’d like to stick around at. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you want to stay in the role you’re in forever. As your skills, aptitude and understanding increase, it’s nice to think that your salary, job security and standing might, too. But this doesn’t necessarily happen organically. Sometimes, you have to take charge of your career advancement and put yourself in the best position to progress. Here’s how:
1. Take initiative
When you see a problem, do you:
- Try and fix it
- Look the other way?
If you’re aware of something that’s not working or needs to be more efficient at your organisation, don’t just stick your head in the sand and avoid it. While you might be able to get away with that, wouldn’t it be better to be the one who presents an elegant solution to a complex problem? Taking initiative shows that you have the ability to think and see laterally, and the resourcefulness to act on what you see.
2. Put your hand up
Take on the challenging jobs. Volunteer for working bees and charity events. Say yes to opportunities for professional development, for networking and for learning new things. Your willingness to step up will be noticed by people that count, even if they don’t say anything. Putting in the hours is important, but it’s more than that. It’s going above and beyond your role and assigned tasks, in ways that you know will be appreciated. Think of it this way – which is more likely to attract attention, throwing your hat in the ring with gusto or standing on the sidelines and blending in with the crowd?
3. Mentor and be mentored
If you have the opportunity to be mentored, formally or informally, seize it. Even if the mentor is in a different department, it could still be worthwhile. Don’t assume you have nothing to learn from someone just because you’re not interested in what they’re doing – the way they do it could be just as valuable to witness. What’s more, if you feel like you might have some friendly wisdom to impart to someone more junior than you, do it. You may gain more from that relationship than you anticipate, too. Even just talking through something you’re working on with another person can be a good exercise in gaining clarity and a new perspective on it, and helping someone else shows that you’re thinking of the company, not just yourself.
4. Have good work etiquette
You can be ambitious and still operate with a conscience. Be professional. Don’t throw other people under the bus if they’ve done something wrong. If you’ve done something wrong, then own it and wear it. Taking responsibility for your mistakes speaks volumes about your character. If you’ve done something right, you don’t have to shout it from the rooftops. People will hear about it, and humility is more impressive than showboating. Share your ideas, and be open-minded about the ideas other people bring to the table. Be the sort of colleague you would like to work with – receptive, respectful and reasonable.
5. Build your internal networks
When you have good working relationships, they can be helpful in ways you don’t anticipate. If you are well-known and well-liked, your credibility skyrockets, and with it, your efficiency often does, too. Working on a project with assorted internal departments involved? Things will run more smoothly, emails will be answered faster, meetings will be attended and communication lines will stay open if you have taken the trouble to get to know people throughout the organisation, beyond your immediate colleagues. People will appreciate your efforts, and repay them by putting your request at the top of the pile, whatever it may be. It’s also valuable to be a known quantity – when it comes to promotions from within the ranks or securing leadership roles for projects that are in the pipeline, you’re more likely to get what you’re looking for if you’ve taken the time to build trust first.
Remember, if you want a little extra backup when you’re on the ascent, qualifications through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) are an ideal way of proving what you’re capable of. Nationally recognised qualifications carry a seal of credibility with them that all employers can understand and appreciate.
Let us know if we can be of assistance, and best of luck!