You’ve done the hard work and made your way into an industry that you like with an entry-level job. Now you feel ready to move up the ladder. We’ve put together a strategy to help you make those first steps in the right direction.
When you first join an organisation you may spend some time honing the skills needed for the job and learning the company culture. Learn your job well. Not just how to do it on a day-to-day basis, but also how it fits into the larger vision and structure of the company. Once you’ve mastered these, take note of the skills needed for the next step up then take steps to learn or practice these skills.
This might mean taking on further training or education. Find out what qualifications are needed for the next step up and pursue them. It might mean specific company training. Take any training offered that could help you reach your goal.
It might simply mean taking on additional responsibilities that will challenge you to learn the skills needed for the next step up. If your employer provides a mentoring programme ask how you can participate.
COMMUNICATE YOUR PLANS
Never assume that people know you want a promotion. Let your supervisor know that you’re interested in moving up within the organization when there is opportunity. Express how much you enjoy your work and ask what you can do to work towards a promotion. Offer to take on extra responsibility to lighten the load of others.
Work well with others in and outside of the office. Compliment your co-workers and acknowledge their help. Don’t step on other people’s toes and absolutely don’t steal anyone’s ideas or draw light on anyone else’s failings. Your goal here is to make yourself look good by doing good.
BUILD A NETWORK
To rise to the top, you need to build good relationships with everyone you meet in the company. Get to know the people you work with. Go to lunch. When you go to company events talk to people outside your department. If your company has a social planning committee or a netball team, join it. If you’re not sporty, volunteer to take score.
Don’t limit your networking to inside the company you work for. Join industry associations, alumni groups and affinity groups, such as corporate women’s or minority networks. Reach out to industry peers, with a goal to helping them as much as they help you.
CONSIDER A LATERAL MOVE
If the organisation you work for doesn’t have a clear way up the corporate ladder, take a career detour by moving laterally to a department or company with more opportunity for advancement. A sideways move can increase your contacts within your industry and give you the opportunity to try different types of assignments.
Thinking sideways like this boosts experience as well as opening up opportunities. First, assess your skills and take note of your useful transferable skills. Do you have any gaps in knowledge? Look for lateral opportunities that can fill in those gaps.