No matter what stage you’re at, if you want to climb the career ladder, the best time to think about career progression is right now. You may have just landed an entry-level role in your chosen field and are not quite ready to take the CEO’s job. However, if that’s your future ambition, there is no time to think about career planning like the present moment.
But where do you start? How do you approach the subject with your boss? Or even when is the right time to mention it? This article explains everything you need to know about successfully climbing the ladder.
Picture this common scenario that so many of us find ourselves in: Upon leaving university, we land our first job in our chosen field. We work hard, turn up on time and dream of the day when our boss offers us a promotion. Ten years go by, and we realise we got stuck in the same position, only ever having received a nominal annual pay rise.
So how can we avoid this? Thinking about career development as early as possible is a good idea. To achieve serious career growth, we must get into the habit of reviewing our progress and commit to taking action. That might sound scary, but if we break it down, it’s not that difficult. Read on to find out how to climb the career ladder.
Our Five Most Effective Career Planning Tips
It’s never too late to think about career progression. Some of us leave school with a clear career path in mind. Others might fall into a job entirely by accident and only then do our ultimate career goals become clear. Either way, below are five steps to take to get from where you are now to where you want to be.
Plan Your Roadmap
Many people prefer not to set goals. They worry they might restrict themselves from taking a desirable opportunity. However, you shouldn’t be too hasty to buy into this belief about limitations. It’s ok to change your mind should that game-changing opportunity present itself. People who set goals are 42% more likely to achieve success than those who don’t.
The best time to plan your career roadmap is before applying for a new job. Ask yourself questions like, where might this opportunity lead? Will it open the door to other opportunities higher up in the business? Is it just the stepping stone to a better job? Or would this company provide you with training and development that you won’t get elsewhere?
Review Progress Regularly
Most companies these days hold annual or six monthly performance reviews. Meetings like this present a fantastic opportunity to discuss your long-term career ambitions with your manager. If your employer does not conduct regular performance reviews, you can still review your progress against your expectations.
Block out time in your diary to check your progress and hold yourself accountable. Are you where you hoped you would be at this time? If not, what’s holding you back? If there’s any training you need, now is an excellent time to research how to get it.
When reviewing your progress, give yourself credit for your achievements. When evaluating our performance, we tend to focus on our weaknesses or areas for improvement. However, it’s vital to recognise our strengths too; they come in handy when justifying why you think you’re an excellent choice for promotion.
Choose Your Timings Carefully
It’s always best, to be honest with your employer about your future ambitions, but you should carefully consider the timing when doing so.
For example, you’re unlikely to be taken seriously by telling your line manager you want to run the company within two days of starting work there. A more realistic approach is, breaking your long-term career ambitions into short-term goals. Managers will be more likely to assist you in gaining a promotion if it seems achievable.
Build Your Skills
Always be on the lookout for opportunities to improve your skill set, no matter how small. For example, time management is an essential skill for senior management roles. While it’s not everybody’s strong point, developing this skill on your own is very easy. Practice by breaking your workload into smaller jobs and working towards getting more done in less time.
Emotional intelligence is another vital skill for senior managers but can help anyone accelerate their career growth. EI is another skill that you can easily work on developing as an individual.
Know What You’re Worth
When reviewing your career progress, it’s always good to get a reality check on your worth outside your present organisation. Sharing your ideas on professional networks like LinkedIn or real-life networking can help build your reputation outside your current workplace.
Often, we find that upon checking the wider jobs market, our skills are worth more to another employer. While you may not wish to depart your present company, having an idea of the value of your skills can give you more leverage to negotiate a higher salary.
Equally, periodically reviewing the jobs market can help you understand employees’ problems in your sector. This can be invaluable information when deciding whether to stay or leave your existing position.
Even if you don’t want to leave your current employer, sometimes the opportunities we want just don’t exist within our existing organisation. Therefore the only way to progress quickly is to look elsewhere.
A Few Final Thoughts on When to Think About Career Progression
Even if you’ve been stuck in the same job for ten years, it’s never too late to think about career progression. You may think that your company only hands out promotions to people who deserve it and that your turn hasn’t come yet. The reality is more likely that your manager thinks you’re happy where you are because you never said otherwise.
There’s an old saying; if you don’t ask, you don’t get. This is so true when it comes to career progression. If you’re serious about climbing the career ladder, it’s essential to get clear on what you want and ask for help from those who can give it. Understand what your strengths are and their value in the wider jobs market.
It may be that upon asking the right person, there are no openings available with your present employer. In this scenario, you must make a tough decision; wait until the position becomes available or seek opportunities elsewhere.
If you’re thinking about career progression, a recruitment consultant can help you understand the value of your skills and offer advice on career advancement. Our expert consultants recruit for all levels up to senior appointments; why not give them a call?