Thursday, April 2, 2015

Advancing Rank: Making the Next Steps in Your Career

Much is coming to light about the Millennial generation and how they both perceive and add to the current workforce. One of the routine complaints against them, however, is that they often enter that workforce with unrealistic expectations of how they will move through it. They have a heightened view of their own capabilities and tend to foresee themselves moving through the ranks much quicker than would be considered normal, or even attainable.

Perhaps you are one of those Millennials, finding yourself in a stagnant position two years later and wondering what went wrong. Or maybe you are somebody who has been in the workforce for over a decade, but you still find yourself a long way from where you want to be. The truth is, moving up the ladder in any career takes a focused determination to do so. It takes planning, and the willingness to advance towards your goal.

Find an Ally: One of the first things you should do is find someone who might be willing to serve in a mentorship role to you; preferably someone who is at a point in their career that you envision yourself eventually being. This is the person you want to express your career aspirations to, and the one you want to go to for advice on how to realize those aspirations.  (For more advice on finding a mentor, click HERE)

Plot Your Course: A lot of people make the mistake of declaring where they want to be in 5 or 10 years, without then thinking about the steps in between. If you hope to be successful, you need to be willing to embrace the smaller moves you will have to make in order to achieve your ultimate desired position. No one advances from file clerk to V.P. of purchasing overnight. Sometimes the most powerful moves you can make are strategic in nature, not necessarily giant leaps and bounds. Relocating, taking on a new job with no salary upgrade, or absorbing a task that no one else wants to do; these are all moves that may be lacking in glamour, but under the right circumstances, can sometimes provide experience and connections that prove far more valuable than simple title changes. So think through the steps that lead to your dream career, and then be willing to work towards each of them.

Improve Your Position: Perhaps most importantly, you need to be open to improving upon yourself if you want to advance in your career. That means pursuing continued education, hopping at training opportunities and becoming an involved and respected member of your team. None of that happens with the snap of a finger. It requires time and commitment; which in turn, proves your ability to do the work necessary to make yourself a valuable leader for the corporation.

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