How to reach the next level in your career is a common question among groups of professionals in any industry or field. It makes sense for a professional who is ambitious and engaged with their work to want to know how to improve. However, the best advice for taking your career to the next level isn’t something that can come as one-size-fits-all since people start out with different strengths and weaknesses, and there are different options for improving your career outlook depending on your choice of industry. But that being said, there is a general process that almost everybody who wants to take their career to the next level can benefit from. Here are some of the best steps to take if you’re looking to climb the career ladder.
Deciding on Your Next Steps:
The first thing to do is determine what taking the next step in your career means to you personally. For some, this could mean getting a promotion in their current workplace while others may have the main goal of getting out of where they are currently working and into a different side to the industry with a different employer. Others might find that the most appealing next step for their career is to start their own business, which could involve offering relevant products or services or working as an industry consultant. Determining where your next role is going to take you will make it easier for you to decide what you need to prioritize, whether that involves getting more relevant experience or boosting your resume with an advanced qualification such as a computer science masters online from Baylor University.
Keep Your Big Moves Private:
As you think through the potential moves that you will need to make to take your career to the next level, it’s often a good idea to keep your plans as private as possible. This will of course depend on your workplace and how you think your boss is going to respond to your plans. It might be worth talking over your goals with your boss if you think that they are going to be supportive or if they offer support that you could use such as financial help with the cost of getting an advanced degree or can introduce you to people who can help you get to where you want to be. However, if there is nothing like this available in your workplace and you’re not sure if your boss will respond positively to your plans, it might be worth seeking help and support from a career coach or mentor rather than somebody who works directly with you.
Look for Experience Opportunities:
Gaining experience before you actually start is a good idea when taking your career to the next level. Before you reach your next career goal, it’s a good idea to always be on the lookout for any opportunities where you can build the relevant experience that you are going to need as you take the next step in your career. Take up any opportunities that you might get to work on cross-functional projects without the need to leave your current role. This could involve taking on more responsibilities at your current workplace or investing some of your time into working as a volunteer.
Build Your Professional Network:
No matter what field or industry you’re currently working in, who you know can often have a bigger impact on what you know when it comes to taking your career to the next level. In some industries, networking is absolutely key to building your career and reaching your future career goals. Take as many opportunities as you can to attend industry networking events, conferences, and more to meet people who may be able to provide you with advice, support, or future career roles.
Identify Potential Sponsors:
When it comes to reaching the next level in your career, you will usually need other executives to support your journey. Networking isn’t just important for finding people who have advice or opportunities to offer you, but also for finding a sponsor and gaining supportive relationships with others that can help you get to the next level in your line of work. A sponsor is an individual who can speak up on your behalf and help you improve the opportunities and exposure that you get. Once you have identified the best next move in your career, the next step is to determine who the people are that you can ask to sponsor and support you to get into that role. Often, these will be key people who make promotion and hiring decisions for the area that you are interested in getting into.
Ask for What You Need:
Once you have followed all the required steps to prepare yourself for the opportunity that you have got your eye on, don’t assume that people are going to know what you are looking for as the next step in your career. To get to the next career level, it’s often important to be able to ask for the help that you need. When it comes to finding people who are willing and able to offer that support to you, it’s important to ask and be specific when it comes to what is going to be helpful for you as you take your career to the next level. For example, you could ask for references if you are already interviewing for a new role, or a letter of recommendation if this is needed for you to strengthen your application to an advanced degree program in your field. Since you don’t know what or who other people know, asking around is important – even when it comes to smaller requests such as asking for information on a certain role or for an introduction to somebody else, it can all add up to be very helpful.
Taking your career to the next level will usually involve certain steps no matter what industry you are in. With the right plan, you can turn your dream of working your way up the career ladder into a reality.