It’s the adage you’ve heard time and again: “Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” But how exactly do you find that magic job that transforms a daily routine into a fulfilling life?
Finding a career you love starts with figuring out your long-term career goals early on. From there, you can create a career advancement plan. This can help you keep your eye on the prize and bring yourself closer to your dream job. Read on for 14 great ways to create career advancement opportunities.
- The definition of career advancement
- 14 Ideas to create career advancement opportunities
- Why is career advancement important?
The definition of career advancement
Career advancement can mean moving up within your organization or taking on a higher-level role at a new organization. This can look like a new role with more responsibilities, or it could mean a higher salary. Some organizations offer their team members advancement opportunities so they can achieve their career goals.
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14 Ideas to create career advancement opportunities
Creating a career advancement strategy can take a lot of time and effort. Here’s how you can have an easier time climbing the corporate ladder.
- Search for training opportunities
- Earn an advanced degree
- Seek sponsorships
- Earn a professional certification
- Ask for new responsibilities
- Volunteer at organizations in your industry
- Improve your networking skills
- Move horizontally
- Define your career aspirations
- Create a timeline
- Put your best foot forward every day
- Help out your team members
- Learn from your performance reviews
- Know when it’s time to seek an opportunity elsewhere
1Search for training opportunities
Your organization might offer you ways to build on your skills – and sometimes, they’ll even pay for it. For example, your organization may reimburse you if you take relevant courses. Your organization might also host courses for you to take for free if you want the extra training.
2Earn an advanced degree
Earning an advanced degree in your field can help you develop the skills you need for higher-level roles. For example, a master’s degree in arts can lead you to better career opportunities – and higher pay – than a bachelor’s degree. While it can be scary to spend the time and money going back to school, the outcome (and higher wages) can be worth it.
A sponsor is someone who will always have your back. They’ll advocate for you, recommend you for specific projects, and help you build relationships with leaders at your organization.
Finding a sponsor can open up all kinds of new career advancement opportunities. According to CNBC, a team member with a sponsor is typically paid 11.6% more than someone without one.
If you’re new at your organization and you want to find a sponsor, go around and introduce yourself to your team. This can give you a good idea of who can help you – and who you might get along with too.
4Earn a professional certification
Instead of going for an entirely new position, you can earn certifications in your field. For example, if you’re a hairstylist, you can advance your career with a certification in extensions or nails. Sure, you’ll need to take a few extra classes to get your certification. But that’ll likely be worth it – your certification can broaden your talents, and with them, your client base.
5Ask for new responsibilities
If you feel like you aren’t being challenged enough, schedule a one-on-one meeting with your manager to ask for more challenging work. During the meeting, tell your manager what your career goals are so they can start figuring out how to get you there.
Taking on new challenges – and turning them into great work – will show your manager that you can handle higher-level tasks. You’ll also show your manager that you’re willing to learn. Over time, this could lead to you climbing the ladder and finding new opportunities at your organization.
6Volunteer at organizations in your industry
Volunteering at organizations within your industry can give you a chance to network and build a great reputation. It can also show your management and leadership that you’re passionate about your career – why else would you work for free? Plus, when you volunteer, you never know who you’ll meet. You might run into someone who’s big within your industry and can offer you a great career opportunity.
7Improve your networking skills
Networking can open up new doors in your career and for your personal growth. When you talk about your experiences and share advice with others, you can gain new insights and ideas you’ve never even imagined. The more you put yourself out there, the more people you’ll meet and the more confident you’ll feel. You might get new opportunities out of it too.
Although common, vertical movement – which means gunning for a higher position – isn’t the only way you can advance your career. You can also move horizontally, which means looking for different opportunities in the same position. For example, you could take on a similar role at a different organization. Or, to add more value to your current role, you could also take on more responsibilities and focus on how you can improve.
9Define your career aspirations
What are you looking to achieve throughout your career? What’s your end goal? It’s important to define your career goals early on. The sooner you start creating a roadmap, the sooner you can pave a pathway toward a successful career.
Once you define your career goals, you should write them down and share them with others, whether close friends or team members. Sharing these goals with others can help you stay accountable, and you might feel like you’ve made a promise you can’t break.
10Create a timeline
Once you’ve defined your career goals, you can create a realistic timeline to follow along your journey. This timeline can guide you and motivate you to keep working hard – after all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Your timeline should include milestones so you can celebrate your wins along the way. For example, if you’re a bartender, your timeline with milestones might look like this:
- Get a bartending position at a local pub (or name an ideal bar or restaurant you’d like to work at)
- Take on extra shifts to learn more and develop your skills
- Ask to create a new seasonal drink menu to test out what you’ve learned
- Be willing to fill in and help out your team – maybe even ask the manager if they need help with any of their work
- Obtain a manager position one to two years after your start date
11Put your best foot forward every day
No matter where you are in your journey – an entry-level position, or the CEO of your organization – you should always put your best foot forward. Being confident in yourself can be key to getting others to believe in you and what you bring to the table.
Every time you interact with someone on your team, think of it as a way to show who you truly are. When it comes time for your managers to promote someone, they’ll likely look for team members who are honest and confident. This is why you should use each and every conversation with your manager as an opportunity to show them your worth. Do that, and your manager will likely view you as that honest, confident person worth promoting.
12Help out your team members
If you volunteer to help out other teams and departments within your organization, you’ll get to see how other departments operate. You might also start to be seen as a team player, which is great for career advancement. Your experiences with other departments can help you make more informed decisions as you move along your career path too.
13Learn from your performance reviews
Performance reviews are a great way to measure how well you’re doing and how you can improve your skills. If you take what your manager says to heart and put in the work to improve, you’ll likely be ready for a higher position.
During your performance review, you should take meeting notes. This way, you’ll have a written record you can look back at to see where your manager wants you to do more. From there, you can start making changes and then, at your next review, see how much of an improvement you’ve made.
14Know when it’s time to seek an opportunity elsewhere
Sometimes, the best option to advance your career is to find a job elsewhere. If you love your job, but you’ve been there for a while with no changes, it might be time to consider leaving the organization. Or maybe a lot has changed, but you still want to learn more and seek out a new opportunity. Either one is 100% okay – and it might be the best choice for your career.
Why is career advancement important?
Career advancement can benefit you in all kinds of ways. Here are a few reasons why it’s important.
- Prevent job dissatisfaction
- Seek out new career opportunities
- Potential for an increased salary
- Keep learning
1Prevent job dissatisfaction
When you advance your career, you’ll take on new roles and responsibilities. That can help you feel less bored or dissatisfied. For example, if you’re a sales associate doing similar work every day, you might feel unappreciated if nobody says you’re doing great. If you step up into a management position, grow your skills, challenge yourself, and feel better about your work.
2Seek out new career opportunities
Just because you start a new career doesn’t mean you’re at the end of the road. Look at each new position as a stepping stone and keep your eye on the big picture.
For example, maybe you’re a front-of-house manager at a winery. After taking on challenging projects and learning new skills, such as communicating with manufacturers and leading staff, you can work toward the next step. This could be anything from going into a higher position at your organization to opening your own business.
3Potential for an increased salary
Once you really understand your position’s bread and butter, you’ll have what it takes to try out higher-level work. And if you have a strong work ethic and great skills, you’re in an especially good place to get a promotion. That promotion will often come with a big salary bump.
Even after you get a promotion or begin a new position, you should continue your professional development and keep learning new things. Over time, learning new skills can help you do better work and put you in place for another promotion. And that right there is the very heart of career advancement.
Map out your career advancement with Fellow
A big part of career advancement is meeting with your manager to start paving your pathway to success. For the best possible meetings, you’ll need a platform that allows you to plan, run and follow up on meetings. With Fellow, you can record meeting notes, create a meeting agenda and give and get feedback all under one streamlined platform. Working with your higher-ups to advance your career has never been easier.