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Career: Moving On Up

Ready to take the next step in your career but not sure how to go about it? Others passing you by? 

In my ten years in the recruitment industry, I've seen candidates be promoted numerous times over, while other candidates have remained “stuck” in the same role, often unsure of why they have not been given the opportunities to progress. 

Why is it that some candidates are able to do this more easily than others? And what is it you can do that will see you climb that corporate ladder? 

Have you looked around your current organisation and observed people in the senior management positions and think to yourself, “How did they get into that position?” Many people would answer, “Hard work, long hours, extra commitment.” Well this may not necessarily be the case. The main reasons can often be your attitude and emotional intelligence. 

So with that in mind, let’s look at some options and tools that you can implement to make sure that you are not overlooked for that next big promotion. 

The first thing you need to do is make sure that you are in the right organisation that is culturally aligned to you and your values. 

Otherwise it will be very hard to believe in the longer-term career possibilities. Let’s say you are in the right role and organisation and really want to move up the ladder. Write down your strengths and areas for improvement and then ask peers and other managers to be honest with you in terms of where they think your development areas are. Sometimes we can assess ourselves and either be too harsh, or not notice how others perceive us. This is an opportunity to really understand where you are and if you are ready for that next step, and most importantly that others see you ready also. 

Secondly, you need to look for opportunities where you can stand up and take on more responsibility in your current role. 

It may be putting your hand up to work on a project, or reduce time-frames of a process. Or perhaps asking to assist and train when new people join the team. If your current manager trusts you and sees that you have the right attitude, they will back you and assist you in moving up the ladder. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind and have an opinion if there are issues, however, try and think of a solution to bring to the table at the same time. 

Unfortunately, not all teams are large enough for you to get that promotion straight away. You may have to wait for the opportunity to arise or for someone to leave. If this is the case, start to network outside of your team or division. If you are unsure whom to network with, then use organisational charts of your business or LinkedIn to see who is in the other departments and connect with them so they are aware of whom you are. Perhaps ask to meet for a coffee or catch up for some career advice. 

You may need new skills to be able to move into a new division of your organisation, therefore check out the internal job sites to see what they are looking for and what you need to develop to the next level. If it is something you are very keen on learning, your company may even be able to put you through this training or course. If you don’t ask, you don’t get! 

One of the main issues that I hear from candidates when they make the decision to move up the ladder, is acceptance from others in their peer group. This can be especially true if you are in a close-knit team, as they will see you develop and change, and may not understand or appreciate why. This is challenging and hard to face, however you will soon work out who will support you and who won’t. Keep the end goal in sight and leave the others to their own defences. But be prepared for difficulty from others when it comes to wanting to get ahead. 

The other obstacle can be self-belief. You need to be confident in your own ability to take on new challenges. You won’t have all the answers immediately, but with the right attitude and a willingness to learn you can go as far as you want to go. 

My clients often hire candidates with less experience than other applicants for a role, simply due to the right attitude and motivation to want to learn. 

Finally, once you get the opportunity to take on a role at the next level, be sure to negotiate your salary. The more you have achieved and accomplished in the past that you are able to articulate in your discussions, the more you will be able to improve your remuneration outcome. Negotiations can be complicated, but put your best foot forward by having solid examples to back up why you believe you are worth the extra dollars. Ask for more than you are wanting, and hopefully they will meet in the middle, which was probably your salary expectation anyway!

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