Getting your first job out of school is exciting. You feel like your education has been validated and you’re getting a handle on the concept of a working adult. After a year or two, you get your bearings and the entry-level job that you were so excited about is no longer much of a challenge. It’s time to move up.
When you’re the low man on the totem pole, convincing people that you’re ready to move up can seem daunting. But everyone, even the CEO, was once the newbie somewhere. With a little focus and strategy, and with the right attitude, you can be moving onward and upward of your career path.
Let your boss know you’re ready for more. You may love your current job, but you don’t want to be someone’s assistant forever. If you don’t ask for something you won’t get it, so it’s important that your supervisors know you’re ready for more responsibilities and perhaps with a better title.
Ask for guidance. To move up, you will need to show that you’re ready. Some companies have formal requirements (and relevant qualifications) for promotion to the next level, such as the length of time that you’ve been an employee or in that job. It’s important to know if there are any.
Ask your manager for specific, measurable metrics that you can aim for. They should be specific goals like, “Improve sales pipeline by 20%” or “Increase social media presence by 20%”. Goals like these will ensure that your day-to-day actions are bringing you in the right direction. Then make it a habit to check in with your boss on a frequent basis and getting feedback for areas of improvement. Sometimes these sessions can also be used to update your boss on your little achievements.
Keep track of what you do. Don’t rely on your boss to keep score of everything you’re up to. There are millions of other important things that he has to manage and this will not be at the top of his list.
Start keeping track of everything you do that brings value to your company or team, from sales you’ve helped close to ideas that were brought to fruition. That way, when you sit down with your boss and talk about why you should be promoted, you will have concrete examples to show them.
Network within your company. There’s more to life than your cubicle walls, and the more people you know, the better your chances will be at moving up.
The beauty of companies is that there are often plenty of perfectly organic ways to go about doing this. Activities like office happy hours, volunteer in projects and being part of recreational sports teams are amazing ways to get to know people. People within a department usually know ahead of human resources when a position is going to open. It’s a huge advantage if you’re already on someone’s radar.
Network outside of work. More than likely, you're going to have to leave your current firm in order to move up. You'll need to make some contacts outside of work. Obviously, you should go to events and conferences that pertain to your field and talk to as many people as possible. Sometimes activities that have nothing to do with work can also lead to great opportunities. In short, don’t be a hermit. Be social.
You never know who or what someone knows, so always be kind to people and give them the best version of yourself. That way, if something opens up at a firm where they work, they will be happy and comfortable to point you in the right direction.
Keep your skills updated. Lifelong learning is the other key to success. Certain skills may have gotten you the job, but there is always room to grow. Learn as much as you can about your field and stay current on evolving skill sets. Years ago, it was the person who knew HTML who was sought after, then it was the one who was social media savvy. Stay up to date so that you know what skills are in demand and learn them.