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We all have our eye on that next rung on the career ladder, or maybe even the next two or three. Whatever stage you are at in your career and whatever your profession, there is a pretty strong chance that you are looking to make the step up in the not too distant future. More responsibility, more money, more prestige, whatever the reason, progression is the foundation of any career. So what can you be doing now, to ensure that you are well placed to take the step up? We’ve got six top tips that will keep you in the mix when the opportunity arises.
Building relationships is key at all stages of your career and there is a fair amount of truth in the saying, ‘it’s who you know’. Building good working relationships is crucial to progression. Stronger working relationships lead to improved teamwork and will help you to be happier, more engaged and more productive. They are the foundation on which we succeed.
There are a number of reasons to take on more work when the opportunity arises. For one, it will expose you to more projects, teams, colleagues, skills and processes, but it will also show that you are a dependable, team player who is never shy of hard work. These are traits that management and those in leadership positions take note of. When your manager is assessing the team and considering who they believe would be suitable for a new role, the person who has always stepped up will be among those in consideration. On top of this, you are building your skills, relationships and professional portfolio – it’s a win-win.
One thing that all too many professionals do is to lose track of their accomplishments. How many of us have come to update our CV or LinkedIn profile when applying for jobs and struggled to recall everything we’ve done over the past year or so? Keep track of the projects you have been involved in, what you did and any positive outcomes. Note down your achievements and when the time comes to update your CV or to answer a tough interview question, you will have the information you need at hand.
Constantly improving your skill set and seeking out training is something that all professionals should be doing, not just those who are looking for a promotion. There are a number of ways to go about this; you can look to expose yourself to other parts of your team or business by getting involved in work or projects. Ask colleagues about their work and look to absorb information – where something of particular interest comes up you should find a way to involve yourself. Also, wherever there is an opportunity for training be proactive in taking up the opportunity.
Your professional profile with management and colleagues is not just about putting your hand up when work comes in, it’s about working with integrity. There are two things above all others that will rapidly damage a reputation in the workplace: taking credit for others work, and blaming others when things don’t go to plan. Where credit is due, you should not be shy in accepting it, but where work was done as a part of a team and others were involved it is important to be cognisant of that and not take credit away from those to whom it is due. Secondly, don’t be afraid to admit your mistakes and take responsibility where you need to. Those who are quick to point the finger of blame are never going to make good managers, and in order to climb the ladder, you need to be able to absorb constructive criticism and admit mistakes.
The last point here may seem obvious but all too often people are not applying for jobs or putting themselves forward when opportunities arise. If you don’t apply or at least make your interest known, then there is a chance that you will miss out on opportunities. In some cases, a manager may have even been considering you as a potential fit for a role but decided that you are doing well in your current role and look elsewhere. Stating your interest does not have to be making applications either. Speaking with you manager and showing them that you are ambitious and looking to progress yourself is an important step. Any good manager should be looking for ways to help you improve and step up, so let them know that you are keen to do so.
Still searching for more tips? Find more expert advice about career growth in our career progression advice section.
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