Reaching the next level of your career

September 18, 2017 Caitlin Leishman

It’s the question that should always be in the back of your mind, ‘How can I advance and move forward in my chosen career?’ There’s no path forward that will work for everyone, as people start out with different skills and at different points. However, today’s job market is more competitive than ever, and there are several tips that apply to everyone, regardless of industry or current position.

1.Define progress

It’s important to decide what ‘next level’ means for you. One of the first things you should establish is how responsibility is measured in your current role. Then, you need to establish what you’re looking for in a career move. Are you looking to change fields or companies, or simply move to a leadership role in your current organization? Once you’ve decided where you want to go, you can decide how best to move forward and what to prioritize.

2.Run the scenario

Imagine what it will take to make your next project incredibly successful. Include people who would be involved, skills you would utilize, and map out a plan. Collaboration and resource management are essential competencies to career advancement, and this approach helps you improve upon both. You can also run a scenario of the possible risks. Being proactive and having initiative are two crucial competencies for success in any position, and understanding how your actions can contribute to the strategic success of your organization is an invaluable quality.

3.Always look for opportunities

You don’t have to reach your next career level to take advantage of new opportunities. Start by branching out at your current position by tackling projects involving multiple departments, volunteering for a cause you’re passionate about, or taking a class to learn a new skill. Build a track record of great results that will show higher ups that you’re suitable for the next level.

4.Build a reputation

When looking to move forward it’s important to cultivate a reputation based on trust and integrity. Deliver projects in full and on time, keep an open chain of communication, and don’t hesitate to be upfront when something isn’t going as planned. You can also work on expanding your network and making connections with a wider audience, opening more doors for advancement.

5.To specialize, or not?

The decision whether to specialize in a specific career path or develop more broadly across several skill sets is unique to everyone. By specializing, you can become very much in demand in your field, but run the risk of not being able to make certain advances due to a lack of expertise.  If you generalize your skill set, you will likely have an easier time transitioning into a management role but run the risk of not being able to keep up with a more competitive market.

Regardless of where you want to go in your career, these ways of thinking about your development are sure to motivate you to identify the competencies you need to achieve your goals.  

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