No-one can completely predict how their career progression will evolve; people learn, they make mistakes, they take inspired risks, they benefit from luck, they fail to capitalise on chances. However, there are some actions that are almost universally likely to boost your rate of success and failure moving forward.
These are some of the key dos and don'ts when it comes to career progression:
Do: Take calculated risks
Sometimes you may need to look for a new job to boost your career progression opportunities, even if you’re perfectly comfortable where you are. That comfortable feeling can lapse into mediocrity and a lack of motivation in your work, and you have no idea why you’re sitting in the same seat 20 years later.
Don’t: Resist change
Companies change for reasons that are positive or negative, but rarely for reasons that are unnecessary. Sitting moaning about an operational change is one thing, but refusing to embrace it or even taking on what new learning needs to be tackled is another. Note that you may struggle at first and that’s acceptable as long as you show willingness; showing that you don’t want to participate is a one-way ticket to stagnation in your career.
Do: Improve yourself – socially as well as professionally
You’ll probably already be looking for opportunities to learn which don’t need to be on the job – networking opportunities, reading industry publications and making the most of your commute – but what about as a person? Participate in non-work related conversation and network at social events and activities as this will allow you to build a relationship with other members of your company, that you might not be able on a day-to-day basis.
Don’t: Hide in your office/department and fail to learn
Viewing failures as an opportunity to learn is an invaluable skill for success. Asking for constructive feedback from your colleagues, or leaders of different business functions would really help your career progression. These individuals are often willing to give their advice.
Do: More than the bare minimum
If a project is just passable, then it isn’t good enough. You’re aiming to impress and excel in equal measure, and ward off any suggestions of complacency or a lack of positivity. Employers today want to work with individuals who add value to their organisation.
Don’t: Fail to apply for additional projects, promotions, and internal moves
When a company expands or your immediate manager leaves you may be one of those people who say: “Right, I’m applying for that tonight” – and then it never happens. Putting your hand up to lead on new projects, or take on more responsibilities signals to your manager that you are willing to progress in your career. As PT Barnum said: “Without promotion something terrible happens… nothing”.
For more tips on how to climb the career ladder, visit our career development advice