Everybody wants to progress in their career. Some might have loftier ambitions than others, but to some extent, everybody wants to succeed in what they do and continue to take their career to the next level.
However, climbing the career ladder isn’t always that simple, and sometimes, you’ve got to stop waiting for it to happen and start taking action. You might be sitting around waiting for career progression that will never materialize, but at least when you take active steps to get yourself to where you want to be, you know you’re giving it your best shot.
So, here are 11 ways to springboard up the career ladder and ensure you’re reaching your goals and getting the rewards you deserve.
1. Know Your Goals
The first step in the process is understanding exactly what it is you want. It’s difficult to expect other people to take you to where you want to be if you don’t know exactly where that is yourself.
Climbing the career ladder sometimes involves luck (you might just be in the right place at the right time,) but, more often than not, it happens to people who understand their goals and have worked hard to achieve them.
When you don’t have clearly defined goals, you’re putting your faith in chance, and your odds of career progression are much better when you take control of things yourself. It’s also much easier to motivate yourself when you know what you’re aiming for and can see yourself getting closer to your targets.
2. Be Open with your Ambitions
It’s not a bad thing to openly want to improve your career and climb the corporate ladder. Of course, you want to be tactful about it, but it is important that people know you want to take on more responsibility and grow within your company.
The saying goes “if you don’t ask you don’t get,” and to a large extent it’s true, if people think you’re happy in your position and don’t have aspirations to take things to the next level, then they’re less likely to consider you for the promotion. In an ideal world, your superiors will see your great work and should know you well enough to recognize that you’re ready for more responsibility, but, unfortunately, it doesn’t necessarily work like that.
You’ve got to look out for you because the chances are nobody is going to do it for you, so you’ve got to be open with your ambitions and let people know you’re eager to take on the next challenge.
3. Prepare for the Tasks of Tomorrow
Business is always changing, and this creates more opportunities for you to move up on the career ladder.
The key business positions of today look very different to what they did 20 years ago, and workers have needed to adapt to stay relevant. Those people who adapted thrived, whereas those who couldn’t fell by the wayside.
If you can prepare yourself to excel at the tasks that are going to matter in business in the coming years, then you’re positioning yourself to quickly move up the career ladder. Taking courses such as an MSBA – Business Analytics Masters – can give you the edge in some of the most sought-after roles, helping to give your career the boost it needs.
When you always have the skills that are in demand, then you’re going to find people are eager to help launch you up the career ladder.
4. Become an Expert at Something
If you’re going to make it to the top, then you’re going to need good all-round skills, but if you want to stand out, then you really need something where you’re an expert. Lots of people are good at something, but not so many people are experts at anything, and if you can establish yourself as a go-to person, then you can really stand out from the crowd.
It’s a competitive world out there, and it takes time and dedication to be able to position yourself as the go-to expert, but the rewards can be huge. Develop your expertise in an area that’s going to play a big role in the businesses of the future, and then you’re putting yourself in an even better position.
Remember also that it’s not just about developing the skills you need for your current role, but also showing that you possess the required skills to take on future roles.
5. Embrace Technology
We’ve already mentioned making sure you’re prepared to operate within the businesses of the future, and embracing technology is certainly a part of this.
Embracing technology doesn’t mean pushing technology no matter what; it means understanding how technology can be used to benefit your business in the best way possible and being at the forefront of its implementations. Technology is constantly evolving, and if your business isn’t utilizing it in the most efficient way, then your competitors will slowly but surely establish an advantage.
If you understand the way technology fits into the future of your business, then you can use your knowledge to help you springboard up the career ladder.
6. Buy into the Company Culture
You want to stand out if you’re going to get noticed, but you need to do it for the right reasons. One of the times you want to do this is through buying into and helping to develop the company culture.
Businesses need a strong company culture to ensure everyone is pulling in the right direction and working towards common goals, and people in leadership positions need to embody this. If you’re great at your job, but you don’t embody these values, then people are more likely to question whether or not you should be elevated up the corporate ladder.
Many businesses take company culture extremely seriously, and so it will play a part in a promotion decision. It’s no use waiting until you’re in a leadership position to tow the company line, you’ve got to make sure you’re leading the establishment of a strong culture in everything you do.
7. Embrace Leadership
As you move up the career ladder, you’re going to be given more and more responsibility, so you’ve got to be able to show you can thrive under this pressure. If you’re constantly avoiding leadership roles, then this becomes much more difficult.
It might not necessarily be something you find easy, but you’ve got to look for every opportunity you can to grow your leadership skills and demonstrate that you’re ready for more responsibilities. You can find lots of opportunities to grow your leadership skills both within and outside of work, so make sure you’re taking every opportunity.
Every job requires different skills, but leadership generally becomes more and more important as you move up the career ladder, so it’s one way you can really demonstrate you’re ready for the next opportunity.
8. Forget the Idea of “That’s not my Job”
If you take on a narrow view of what your job is and decide you’re not going to do anything that falls outside its remit, then climbing the career ladder is going to be much more difficult. Businesses want people at the top who are willing to do whatever is needed to solve problems, and sometimes that means doing things that aren’t necessarily “your job.”
If you’re looking to climb the career ladder, then you’re looking to take on new responsibilities and challenges, so why not start taking them on now? If something needs doing – then go the extra mile to make sure it gets done, even if it’s technically your job.
Part of leadership is ensuring jobs get done, and sometimes you’ve got to step in and do things that aren’t necessarily part of your job. Rather than seeing this as a hassle, you should see it as an opportunity to showcase your skills and demonstrate how dedicated you are to your business.
Problem-solving is one of the most desirable business traits, and so whatever position you currently hold, there are always opportunities to showcase this ability.
9. Continue Networking
You often hear the saying, “it’s not what you know but who you know.” It might not be everything, but it can make a big difference.
Personal connections play a huge part in business, and you should always be looking to build yours. It’s not easy with all the other things you’ve got going on, but if you can consistently network and keep meeting new people within your industry, then it’s going to give you an advantage.
You never know what doors will open up to you through your personal connections, and it’s just another iron you have in the fire. When a position opens up, would you rather the manager in charge of recruitment knows you by name or is just picking you out from your resume?
If you’re working hard and following all the other points on the list, then networking can elevate you to the next level by putting you at the forefront of decisionmakers’ minds.
10. Track Your Achievements
This seems like a very simple point, but it’s hard to do if you’re not doing it consistently. There’s lots you achieve as an individual, as part of a team, and as a part of your business, and it’s important to be able to showcase this at the right times.
We all know we need to show achievement on our resumes, but we’re a little bit more laps about keeping track of what it is we actually achieve. Make sure you’re consistently updating your resume and also keeping a list of the things you achieve throughout your career.
Even from a personal standpoint, keeping track of your achievements can give you great motivation. It’s easy to go to work every day, do the same things, and feel like you’re not getting anywhere. In the big picture, though, you are making progress, and your list of achievements can help you to showcase this.
It’s an easy thing to do, but not many people actively track their achievements, so make sure you’re taking care of this simple step.
11. Work Harder
Do some people make it up the career ladder without working hard? There probably are some who do, but they’re the minority, and so if you want to shoot up the ladder and achieve success, then you’re going to need to work hard.
There are lots of people out there who are just as motivated as you, have many of the same skills as you, and are actively working their way up the ladder, but are they willing to work as hard as you?
If you’re constantly outworking the people you’re competing with, then eventually it will shine through.
Of course, you’ve got to combine working hard with working smart; if you’re doing all the wrong things, but you’re working really hard at them, it’s not going to help much. However, if you’re looking to make a difference in an area you’re completely in control of, then working harder than the competition is a great way to go.
Your ability to climb the career ladder shouldn’t be left down to luck or chance. Luck does play a small part in these things, but taking the right steps is much more important. Putting in the time to plan, setting clear goals to progress your career quickly, and overcoming challenges along the way are all part of the process. You shouldn’t be afraid to embrace them and work hard to achieve them. There are lots of different ways you can do this, but they do require dedication and commitment.
However, if you’re willing to take the right steps and work hard at it, then you will find many more opportunities come your way, and if you do it right, your career can take-off just as you had imagined. Climbing the career ladder is a great goal to have, and you can achieve it, but make sure you enjoy the journey and not just the destination. Remember, it all plays a part.