There are very few jobs in the world that don’t offer some sort of advancement opportunity, usually accompanied by better pay and/or benefits. These opportunities aren’t always in the form of a direct promotion. Sometimes they present themselves in the form of special project teams within a company, or bonuses earned because of department or company-wide goals that have been met. Other times a particular job can open doors to a completely different, and more lucrative, position. Regardless of which direction advancement takes, there are a few common paths to take in order to achieve better pay, more recognition, or an office with a better view!
Get to Know Bosses and Colleagues
Many people don’t realize that no matter what line of work they are in, they are inevitably selling something to someone. Most often, the something they are selling is themselves, and the someones they are selling to are their superiors, co-workers, and anyone that they make a business-related impact on within their work environment. Because of this, it is vital that a person knows and understands his market, or, the people he works for, with, and around. This means engaging in conversation with the boss; for instance, asking her how her weekend was, and then following up with a question like, “What did you do?”.
Paying attention to important dates at work, such as birthdays and employment anniversaries, and keeping track of them, goes a long way in making a lasting impression with the right people. Even the act of asking for this sort of information in conversation gives colleagues and superiors a positive impression that a person is genuinely interested in who they are. The adage of “It’s who you know” is a relatively true expression, and those who master this practice reap benefits that very often include professional advancement.
Create a Personal Brand
Organizations that hire mid-management from within experience roughly half the turnover of those that hire external candidates (Bernthal, P., & Wellins, R. The Leadership Forecast 2001: A Benchmarking Study. Pittsburgh, PA: Development Dimensions International.) When a position becomes available within a company, it isn’t uncommon for the hiring staff to consider employees already working for the company to fill that position before they look at outside applicants. An employee who has a memorable track record will be at the top of that list.
This concept of making a lasting impression on superiors in your career is often referred to as personal branding. Personal branding is a method of developing desirable qualities and skills that pertain to a particular job path, and then marketing those qualities within decision making circles so that a person is thought of anytime the need for those skills arises. In their book Career Distinction: Stand Out by Building Your Brand, authors William Arruda and Kirsten Dixson write, “Your personal brand must be powerful enough to impact colleagues and managers even when you are not physically present.”
Learn More to Earn More
Over the course of a working lifetime, a person with a Bachelor’s Degree will earn, on average, almost twice as much as a High School graduate, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. It goes without saying that furthering institutional education is a great way to advance a career. But if going back to school isn’t an option, there are other ways to gain more knowledge in order to climb the corporate ladder. Taking a proactive approach to learning about a company’s history, values, and methods shows a great deal of initiative that decision makers smile upon. An article on the Reference for Business website explains how employees who are cross trained in multiple job areas can save a business a great amount of time and money in areas of retention and productivity.
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