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These days climbing the corporate ladder isn’t often done in a straight line. Career planning has gotten more complex. Gone are the days of retiring from one firm, having worked your way up and paid your dues. Today’s workplace is more fluid and flexible – and it can be challenging for this reason. So what’s the best, quickest way to move up and move forward in your career? Here are some tips to help you get to the next rung ASAP:
Have a goal in mind.
Imagine being at the top of your career field, then start career planning. Work out milestones needed to get from here to there. Chip the milestones into the individual steps needed to reach each one. Adjust as needed.
Focus on education.
Get the best training as early as possible. This makes you more promotable and more confident in your decision-making. This allows you to act decisively and with authority, no matter the level of your job.
Participate in the social network.
Not just online! (Although the computer and your mobile are important tools to expand your network and stay plugged into current trends in your field.) Get involved in the social whirl around your profession/career goal. Join professional organizations, mentor and be mentored. Build and cultivate relationships. Network.
Work harder and smarter.
Exceed expectations by volunteering for higher-impact tasks and become known as the problem-solver. Tackle something that’s crucial but no one wants to take on. Then just get it done.
A can-do attitude will take you far. Be calm and friendly no matter the task or complication. Everyone admires a capable, cool head.
Become an SME.
When you’re the subject matter expert, you’re by definition a go-to person. Strive to become known for your expertise inside and outside your current company.
Build your brand.
Blog on industry-related topics. Guest blog, answer questions and comment on well-known or up-and-coming industry forums. As your expertise, recognition and network grow, you may be invited to lead a seminar at an industry conference. Next…your book! (If that’s part of your road map.)
Understand the big picture.
Focus your efforts and career planning in line with the company and management’s goals. Make your boss’ goals a priority and s/he will want you on the team. Become involved with higher-impact projects. Keep your finger on the pulse of your company so you don’t waste time on projects being sidelined.
Keep track of accomplishments in concrete terms. How much did you save the company on that last deal? What percentage of business have you brought in? How much time have you saved by streamlining processes? Use the list at review times or when going for a raise. The bigger accomplishments make great lines for your resume.
Work well with others.
Bosses want to advance those who they can trust to work with anyone, with any type of personality, any type of team and get things done.
Engage the CEO.
Interact with C-level execs when you can. Something as simple as commenting positively on a recent company speech or announcement. Start small. You’ll pique their interest and the more who know your name, the better. As long as it’s not for denting their car in the parking lot.
Switch companies if you’re frozen in place at your organization. Get some intel on other companies with online research and through your trusted contacts. Find out where those in your position or expertise area are most valued. Switch jobs when necessary to acquire a new skill and round out your experience.
Download career planning tips from our experts in PDF here!