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How to Advance Your Career

August 4, 2017

Nobody wants to stay at their first job forever. According to this article from, the Bureau of Labor Statistics states the average person will hold 12-15 jobs in their lifetime, and this number is expected to grow for the younger generation. Whether you want a new challenge, higher pay, or more control over your schedule, chances are that at some point you will want to advance your career. So what do you have to do to make this progress?

Identify Where You Want to Go
You can’t start working towards something you can’t see, so the first thing you must do is take some time and determine what your career goals are. Lori, a hiring expert from Cigna, suggests asking yourself these questions to help determine your career path: “Where do you see yourself 3-5 years down the road? How about 10 years? Are you in a role that you are enjoying, but you would like to move into a management level? Are you interested in going back to school for another degree or certification? Do you like the size of the company you are in, or would you like one that is bigger/smaller? Do you enjoy your industry or would you like to check out another one?” 1 By doing this self-reflection, you can start to build a plan of what you’d like to accomplish in your career and how you will do it.

Work to Become Well-Rounded
Your career path may not necessarily be a straight line, and that’s okay. Every job you take, even if it is a lateral move, helps develop you into a more well-rounded employee that will make you a more desirable candidate as you look to move up the corporate ladder. There is no right answer that applies to everybody, and often times your career progress is determined by the field you are in.

It is also possible to professionally develop without leaving your current role. Ashley, a hiring expert from Cardinal Health, says this: “Have a discussion with your manager about your career goals and development areas you want to work on. Ask your manager to work with you on an action plan to reach your goals. Are there specific skills you need to work to develop? Are there special projects you can take on?” 2 By doing this, you will show your manager that you are looking to advance in your career and willing to take the necessary steps to do it.

Demonstrate Your Value
At the end of the day, if you want to move up the corporate ladder, you have to show why you deserve to by consistently going the extra mile. When looking for someone to promote, employers usually look for quality work, work ethic, consistency and soft skills.

To show your employer that you add value to the company and deserve a promotion, Rachel, a hiring expert from Eaton, recommends that you “look at what is the title or role that you feel you should be promoted to and identify how you are performing in those areas already, how you've gone above and beyond your role to add value, and other significant accomplishments that you have had.” 3

In addition to a strong work ethic and a keen understanding of your field, networking will open doors that hard work and intelligence simply can’t unlock. Sometimes a promotion is simply because you knew the right person or were in the right place at the right time. For that reason, it is important to supplement your efforts towards professional development and career advancement with strong networking. By doing all of this, you will be able to climb the corporate ladder and achieve the career advancement you desire.


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