To grow rapidly in your career, demonstrate your value to your employer, broaden your knowledge, and refine your skills. Familiarize yourself with how your company operates in order to maximize your productivity. Work on projects that expose you to new contacts and skills, and keep a record of your achievements. Become an industry expert by learning during your downtime and pursuing all professional development opportunities. Don’t be afraid to change jobs every few years. You’ll make more money, challenge yourself, and encounter more advancement opportunities.
EditIncreasing Your Value
- Familiarize yourself with your company’s hierarchy. Get to know how your company is organized and learn about its key positions. Find out those positions’ functions and identify who occupies them.
- Understanding the hierarchical structure will help you learn more about potential advancement opportunities. You’ll also get a better feel for the company’s decision making processes.
- Avoid wasting time and resources. Do your best not to slack off or waste time while you’re at work. Try not to waste resources like paper, electricity, and office supplies.
- For example, check and double check your work if you have to print dozens or hundreds of copies of a document. Wasting printer ink and paper due to a careless mistake will show your supervisors that you don’t value the company’s resources.
- Work to fulfill your company’s mission. Work efficiently and refine your output so it’s of the highest quality. Complete projects to the best of your ability and in a timely manner to help the company’s bottom line. Your supervisors will see you as a more valuable employee if you show you care instead of completing projects just to get them out of the way.
- Do things without being asked. Go above and beyond your job description. From small tasks to initiating major projects, be a self-starter and don’t make your bosses have to micromanage you.
- Examples could include anything from picking up a piece of crumpled paper in the office to designing an easier way of taking inventory.
- Continuing to learn about your current workplace is essential. The more you know about your company’s operations and goals, the easier it is to anticipate ways to make yourself useful.
- Keep track of your achievements. Having measurable data about your output will come in handy when you’re up for performance reviews and promotions. Keep a file of successful projects you’ve spearheaded, deals you’ve landed, or ways you’ve saved the company money.
- For example, if you helped negotiate a deal that cut your department’s cost of goods sold by 15%, be sure to keep a record of that achievement’s details for future performance reviews.
- If you’re a designer or involved in a creative field, keep a portfolio of your output.
- Network with potential mentors. Approach people who have achieved your goals and do your best to learn from them. Reach out to individuals both within and outside of your company, and ask for a coffee date, to pick their brain, for tips, and for honest feedback.
- If there’s someone at your company who’s mastered what you want to do, ask them, “Would you have time for a coffee or quick lunch? I’d be grateful for the chance to talk about your success in this industry.” Send them an email if you don’t have the opportunity to ask them in person.
- Showing someone in a key position at your workplace that you’re passionate about advancement will help you stand out when a promotion is available or when you need a reference.
- Express your appreciation. Regularly showing your supervisors that you’re grateful for the opportunities and guidance they offer will make a big impression. Avoid being insincere and try to be specific when thanking your supervisors and company’s officers.
- Suppose your company’s CEO sends out a weekly note to the workforce. In passing say to them, “Excuse me, I just wanted to thank you for the weekly notes of advice and encouragement. They’re valuable and have made a difference in my work!”
EditHoning Your Skills
- Use your downtime to read and learn. Make the most of your time off by listening to podcasts and reading newspapers. Regardless of your industry, there are plenty of materials available to help refine your skills.
- Take advantage of your commute by listening to an industry-related podcast or audiobook written by someone at the top of your field.
- Instead of using your breaks to check social media or laugh at memes, read articles about relevant advancements or new technologies.
- If your family has gone out to run errands on a weekend day and you find yourself home alone, use the time to learn instead of watching television.
- Expand your industry knowledge through professional development. In addition to educating yourself during your downtime, go to conferences, take classes, and take advantage of any professional development opportunities that come your way. Making yourself an expert in your industry will improve your performance at your current job and make you a more desirable candidate in the future.
- Professional conferences are also among the best networking opportunities.
- Pursue projects outside your area of focus. Without ignoring your primary responsibilities, find ways to work on projects that will broaden your skills and professional network. Projects outside of your focus can introduce you to contacts in related industries and other departments. You’ll also learn more about how your industry at large functions.
- For example, if you’re a product designer and a project manager wants a designer to join their application and installation team, do your best to take advantage of the opportunity. You’ll learn about how the company interacts with clients during the acquisition and installation processes. You’ll add new skills to your resume and have a better understanding of how your designs are used.
- Learn to delegate. Delegating will become an essential skill as you grow in your career and eventually reach management levels. Start thinking about how you would assign roles to make a project’s execution more efficient and to reap the benefits of team members’ distinct skills.
- If you’re not in a management position, imagine hypothetical ways you’d divide tasks for projects you’re working on, and pay attention to how your manager delegates. When you’re given responsibility over a team for the first time, familiarize yourself with each member’s skills and assign appropriate tasks.
- Trust the teams you lead. Lose the mentality that there’s only one right way to accomplish something. Trust those working under you to complete projects well even if they don’t go about it the same way you would. That way, you’ll be a more effective manager and have better control of your own time as you work your way up the ladder.
- Switch jobs every three years. There’s no longer a perception that changing jobs is flakey or disloyal. Those who change jobs every three years or so make more money than employees who stay with a company longer. Over the course of a lifetime, job hoppers are believed to make at least 50% more money.
- In addition to increased earnings, you’ll also broaden your contacts list, gain new skills, and encounter new ways of operating and organizing a company.
- Get a job at a startup company. Do your best to get at least one job with a startup at least once in the middle of your career. By mid-career, you’ll have some expertise in your field, and a startup will give you the opportunity to put what you’ve learned into practice most effectively.
- You’ll have more direct access to company leaders, allowing you to help shape its organization, operations, and goals.
- You’ll be able to leave a visible, measurable, and lasting mark, which will help enable a wide variety of future career opportunities. “Developed and implemented new purchasing protocols for a rapidly growing firm” is a great addition to your resume.
- Choose jobs with challenges that exceed your skills. Necessity is the mother of invention, and you’re more likely to gain new abilities when challenges exceed your skills. Avoid getting complacent with your current responsibilities. If you’re bored, try to find new responsibilities at your current job or look for a more challenging position elsewhere.
EditSources and Citations
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