5 Ways to Advance Your Career

Whether starting your first job or working in your field for many years, there are always opportunities to get ahead and reach the next level. Progress may sometimes feel slow, but you can steadily climb the ladder with the right strategy and mindset. Here are five tips to help:

Whether starting your first job or working in your field for many years, there are always opportunities to get ahead and reach the next level. Progress may sometimes feel slow, but you can steadily climb the ladder with the right strategy and mindset. Here are five tips to help:

1.   Set Clear Goals

Come up with milestone goals that will help you get there. These could include things like:

  • Getting a promotion to the next level
  • Expanding your skills in a certain area
  • Taking on more responsibility
  • Earning a certification
  • Making a lateral move to expand your experience
  • Landing a job at a bigger company

 

Ensure that the goals you establish are both attainable and realistic while being sufficiently challenging to propel you beyond your comfort zone. Quantify them and set clear deadlines. Write your goals down and revisit them regularly to update and adjust as needed.

2.   Develop In-Demand Skills

Take some time to research and analyze the most in-demand skills for your industry and its direction. Look at job listings and talk to your manager and colleagues about skills that are highly sought after and provide value to employers. Make a plan to actively develop those skills. This could include taking courses, getting certified in a specific software or system, participating in a mentorship program, volunteering to spearhead projects that exercise a certain skill set, or getting stretch assignments that expand your abilities.

 

For example, an accelerated online ABSN degree program will not only provide valuable nursing knowledge but also enhance critical thinking and problem-solving skills in the healthcare field. Attending workshops or conferences related to your industry can expose you to new methods, technologies, and trends employers highly desire.

3.   Build Your Network

Take the initiative to reach out and introduce yourself to colleagues in other departments, attend conferences and industry events, connect with leaders at other companies, and build meaningful relationships. Join relevant professional associations and committees. Expand your LinkedIn connections with other professionals in your space.

 

The broader your professional network, the more you will learn, the more opportunities and resources will be available, and the more exposure you will have to jobs and inside information. Make sure to maintain these relationships over time. You never know when someone in your network may hold the key to your next career move.

4.   Ask for More Responsibility

If you want more responsibility and greater challenges, you have to step up and ask for them. Take the initiative to volunteer for special projects and committees that interest you. Offer to cross-train in other departments or roles to expand your skill set. Speak up at meetings and share ideas. Ask your manager what you can do to lighten their load and make them more productive.

 

Increased responsibility allows you to demonstrate and apply your abilities. It builds trust and confidence in leadership. And it helps get you noticed as someone ready to advance to the next level. If there are no new opportunities at your current job, consider finding ways to get experience outside of work through:

  • Volunteering
  • Freelancing
  • Taking on side projects that provide growth

5.   Seek Out a Mentor

A mentor is usually someone more senior and experienced than you who can provide objective advice and feedback. Make it a goal to connect with and build a relationship with a mentor in your desired field. Meet with them regularly for coffee chats, phone calls, or video conferences.

A good mentor will offer honest feedback to help you grow, point out blind spots, recommend training options, and open doors through their network and influence. The wisdom a mentor provides through their years of experience can help you avoid costly mistakes and make smarter career decisions.

Endnote

With a clear plan and proactive mindset, career advancement is achievable. Set achievable goals that can pave the path to success and progress against those goals on a regular basis. Tackling additional responsibilities beyond your current role, networking with professionals already working at the level you want to achieve, or taking advantage of educational resources. As long as you have dedication and ambition driving progress, it won’t be too long before you see a remarkable shift in your professional trajectory.

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