Five Easy Ways to Advance Your Career

If you are currently employed, then you may be self-sufficient enough to pay your monthly bills.

However, if you are barely getting by financially from month to month or are simply no longer satisfied in your current career, then you may be looking for a new job opportunity. If you dream of having more prestige or a more comfortable lifestyle, simply being employed will not necessarily guarantee you that. Instead, you must have ambition and do what you can to get ahead in your chosen field. Even if your ambitions are not quite as lofty, however, career advancement can have benefits.

For example, you may feel bored at your current job. If so, working your way up to a higher position within the company may lead to more interesting responsibilities. The higher pay associated with such a promotion can also be a nice benefit. You cannot snap your fingers and magically get a promotion or a better job offer. However, by following some simple strategies, you can minimize that effort. Below are five easy ways to advance your career.

Establish Your Professional and Personal Goals

Some career advancement may be possible without a plan, but efficient career advancement is not. Take the time to write a list or make a chart outlining your professional and personal goals. Make sure you list both short-term and long-term desires.

Examining all of your goals visually will help you make a plan for career advancement. Also, you will be able to see if your personal and professional goals conflict in any way. For example, your professional goal may be to advance within your current company, but your personal goal may be to move to another state. Such a conflict may require you to consider opportunities for career advancement outside your current place of employment.

Mapping out your goals initially is important, but you must also periodically monitor your progress. Remember to celebrate small victories while still thinking about larger desires. Reexamining your status periodically will help you recognize your achievements. It is likely there will be aspects of your initial plan that do not work out. Use regular re-evaluations as opportunities to make changes to the goals themselves or the tactics you plan to use to achieve them.

Demonstrate Your Work Ethic and Dedication

Staying productive and dedicated in the workplace can be difficult at times, especially if you do not enjoy your work. You may be bored, overqualified or disinterested because your current position is not the one you want.

Do not express those feelings to your co-workers or supervisor. Make an extra effort to perform the tasks assigned to you efficiently. Showing your dedication may help you get promoted faster. Making a good impression may also cause your employer or co-workers to provide you with more positive references if you apply for future jobs at other companies.

In addition to doing your own work efficiently, it can also be beneficial to help co-workers in need when opportunities arise. Doing so will allow you to build social bonds with them and foster a better working environment for all of you. Your employer is also likely to take notice of your teamwork, as well as your ability to work under pressure. Other ways to show your dedication to the company include:

  • Attending and helping to organize optional company events, such as sporting events with rival companies.
  • Socializing with your co-workers or employer after working hours.
  • Volunteering to take on special projects or a higher volume of work.

Express Your Desire for Career Advancement

It may seem like common sense, but asking is the best way to advance your career at your current place of employment. Occasionally, you may be given a raise without prompting if your work is exemplary. However, it is much more likely your employer will reward your work if he or she is made directly aware of your desires.

If you have an upcoming performance review meeting with your supervisor, it may be an ideal time to organize your thoughts and prepare to discuss your career advancement goals. Keep in mind that you should not use this opportunity to discuss leaving the company but rather to discuss wishing to grow within the company.

You may have the type of employer who does not like to discuss his or her thoughts or is otherwise difficult to talk to. If so, do not give up on the prospect of career advancement. Use the alternate tactic of contacting the human resources department. A representative from human resources may also be able to assist you with career advancement by signing you up for training courses. He or she may also provide you with other tools to help you advance within the company and bolster your general job skills.

Join Industry Associations

Career advancement opportunities within the company you work for may be limited. If so, you have to consider other options within your industry. Joining an association relating to your vocation is one way to explore those options. Possible benefits you can gain from association membership include:

  • Learning from industry leaders.
  • Staying informed about new industry advancements.
  • Discovering job openings in companies within your industry early.

A membership in such an organization can also make your resume look more impressive. Prospective employers will see you have initiative and self-motivation. They are likely to appreciate your desire to stay informed about industry innovations and standards. Your association membership may also allow you to meet prospective employers socially before interviewing for positions. If you already know them, you may be quickly placed on their short lists of possible new employees.

Prepare Your Resume for Unplanned Career Advancement Opportunities

If you are like many people, you may only update your resume when you lose a job and need to find a new one quickly. That strategy may not serve you well at such times. A last-minute resume may look incomplete or unprofessional. Additionally, there may come a time when you hear about an ideal job at another company while you are still employed. Then you will be stuck trying to update your resume quickly before the position is filled.

To maximize your chances for career advancement, the best time to update your resume is all the time. Putting off resume updates until the last minute can make it difficult to remember to include important details. Keeping your resume updated is one of the most essential factors for successful career advancement. When you always have an updated resume on file, it will take minimal time and effort to adapt it to apply for a specific job. Update your resume each time you:

  • Learn a new skill.
  • Complete a training course.
  • Participate in a notable project.
  • Need to update contact information for a reference.

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