We spend a significant portion of our lives at work, indicating how our careers are quite significant to us. However, this also means that it can be extremely frustrating when we are not exactly where we want to be.
This could explain why employees are motivated by the opportunity of career advancement, which a few studies also pointed out. The opportunity of advancement keeps us engaged with our work, innovative in our approaches, and enthusiastic about future opportunities. Whether they include increased responsibility, new projects, or even a promotion.
However, what if you believe you've done everything possible to demonstrate your qualifications and readiness for career advancement and are still unable to advance? How can you differentiate yourself from the hordes of crowned-jeweled colleagues with whom you compete for your dream career role?
Before the opportunity for career advancement comes, here are some things you can do and prepare ahead:
1. Keep a “Yey me!” file
The first thing you can do to boost your career opportunities is to develop the habit of maintaining a “Yey me!” file — basically a success log. While this is a relatively new concept in terms of career development, it has the potential to be extremely beneficial for a variety of reasons.
Keep in mind that having a success journal does not solely mean you are boosting your confidence.
The primary reason is that by documenting when you achieve goals at work or accomplish something noteworthy, you will have a pool of information to add to your resume at any time. Something that will assist you in obtaining an internal promotion or in applying for a better position elsewhere.
Additionally, keeping a “Yey me!” file in this manner allows you to track your progress. This is a highly motivating activity that will keep you focused and working diligently in a constructive manner. Something that is vital in helping advance your career.
2. Further your educational attainment
Following that, one excellent way to advance your career is to deepen your knowledge through additional education or training. There are numerous ways to accomplish this, ranging from attending online courses/training sessions aligned with obtaining formal qualifications and even longer-term commitments such as specialization and master's degrees.
Regrettably, it is frequently the length of the commitment that discourages many people from pursuing higher educational opportunities. A way that could benefit their careers. However, with online MBA programmes available nowadays, you can fit your studies around your current job and other responsibilities. Pursuing further education at this level makes it much more accessible to many. Thus, providing you with a flexible opportunity to advance your career.
3. Acquire new experience
Finally, do not underestimate the value of experience in terms of enhancing your career opportunities. This means that whenever possible and before presenting yourself as a candidate for career advancement, gain experience in the field of the promotion for which you are applying.
Experience is essential because (aside from it is what employers mainly look for) it demonstrates that you are capable and eager to seek out opportunities relevant to the position for which you are applying.
Acquiring that experience in addition to your current job duties may open bigger doors and windows to career enlightenment. Thus giving you better clarity as to which options you can dive into.
You may consider being a volunteer or complete an unpaid internship in addition to your current job. Although the wages you lose here are frequently quickly compensated for by the advantage this experience gives you on your resume and during the screening process. This is why this is such an important way to advance your career.
On the other hand, the phrase "there is plenty of fish in the sea" probably consoled most of us when we miss the opportunity for a career advancement that we could have. And it also has one of the most frightening realisations for today's professionals when considering moving from one company to another.
This could mean that there are plenty of organizations out there that anyone could consider joining. Varying from size, location, and industry. It also means that they could have varying priorities and opportunities in offering career advancements in the future.
While there are technology and programmatic solutions available to large organisations with larger budgets, there are some small and medium-sized businesses that can improve your career advancements through the following:
Creating lateral and vertical career paths between jobs or functional areas in order to broaden one's skillset
Experiments in growth outside of the workplace (e.g., job shadowing, rotational assignments)
Developing self-service tools for employees (e.g., robust job profiles)
By leveraging competencies, career development opportunities can be bridged.
These are development programmes that you can seek from companies that can satisfy your eagerness for career advancement.
Also, another way for a simple quick-win career advancement strategy is leaning towards competencies.
Competencies are defined behaviours that serve as a framework for career evaluations and can be used to describe employee development opportunities. When your competencies adhere to industry standards, your connection to career advancement opportunities becomes more manageable.
Now, how can you effectively use competencies to develop your career advancement strategy?
You can do it in the following ways:
1. Scale through competency behaviours incorporated into your job profile.
Behavioural competencies are an individual's strengths required in a work environment. This can be investigated from your job description that includes information about your role's expectations, such as accountabilities and qualifications.
Furthermore, they can provide you with goals to work towards. They will show you the needed success in any work situation that requires a diverse set of skills. This also where you can demonstrate your new skills acquired from new situations or pre-existing skills necessary for the career role you’ve been eyeing for.
The following are all examples of behavioural competencies:
Individual competencies – This category encompasses personal characteristics such as an employee's decision-making abilities, confidence, self-motivation, and critical thinking.
Interpersonal competencies – This category includes your ability to work in a team, communication skills, the ability to recognise and resolve divergent viewpoints, as well as the ability to reduce conflict and promote harmony.
Competencies in motivation – The capacity to motivate others, to lead by example, or to take the initiative.
Managerial capabilities – These may include leadership abilities, strategic planning, team and people management, and analytical abilities.
Analytical capabilities – data analysis, problem-solving abilities, comfort with numbers, and technical knowledge are all considered analytical capabilities.
2. Use your developed competencies to describe clearer career paths.
Utilize your existing competencies to describe how you can develop your current roles that you can use to advance your career laterally. For example, managers can use scaled competencies to demonstrate the increasing level of contribution to relationship-building during career discussions with direct reports and set goals to assist the employee in developing and demonstrating those next-level behaviours.
3. Develop experiences that are competency-based.
Through developing experiences, such as participating to stretch assignments or special projects, you can enhance your skills and open the door wider for a career advancement opportunity. Also, you can use your competency language to show that you understand what is required to do, and how your participation will benefit them and how it will advance the progress.
For instance, participating to manage a critical customer account that can demonstrate your relationship-building competency.
It is critical to understand career advancement opportunities at your place of employment if you wish to be satisfied with your work. Having a clear understanding of the opportunities that your role can provide is a powerful motivator.
Moreover, opportunities for career advancement can mean a variety of things to different people. For some, this means advancing to the level of partner or top executive. Some wish to acquire new skills and advance to the level of expert, while others aspire to start their own successful business or publish their research.
Whatever could be your reason, having that career goal as a strong focus will be your fuel to propel yourself toward the career advancement you most desire of.