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How To Climb Up Your Career Ladder Faster Than Others In A Big Corporate.

How To Climb Up Your Career Ladder Faster Than Others In A Big Corporate.

When you are working for a large company, it’s easy to feel like a little fish in a big pond. Perhaps despite your best efforts, you aren’t advancing along your career path as quickly as you would like. There are so many people vying for top positions that showcasing your talents can be a struggle. It might seem like an uphill battle, but you’ll never get a promotion if you don’t try.

Being successful in your career path takes time and grit.

It can be a long journey to the top of the corporate ladder. Maintaining drive and creativity when your superiors dictate a project’s direction can be challenging. After you’ve successfully completed a task, you may be pigeonholed into doing to same type of work over and over. Proving your worth is tough when you are not allowed to demonstrate your capacity to take on challenges.

Many people are competing for the same things that you want, and when they get those coveted positions, they do not give them up easily. Even when you do get a chance to shine, it is a constant battle to stay ahead of all the other workers who also want to be plucked from anonymity.

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When you couple these concerns with self-doubt, the picture looks even more grim. About 32% of workers feel that they don’t have the skills that they need to earn a promotion.[1] If you don’t believe that you are a good candidate for advancement, how can you expect that your boss will see your potential?

It’s time to get out of your own head and try these 7 strategies to snag that promotion.

All these frustrations about competitiveness and lack of control are valid, but if you want to get ahead, you’ll need to devote your energy to things that are within your control. Advancing on your chosen career path requires you to take your fate in your own hands and trust that you have what it takes.

Getting ahead at work involves going above and beyond what is expected from you. Work output algorithms,technological advancements, and high expectations can make the prospect of taking on additional responsibility daunting. If you want to be a cut above the rest, you will have to demonstrate your ambition.

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  • Put yourself out there. If your boss doesn’t know that you exist, they aren’t going to be able to go to bat for you. This also means that you should make an effort to develop a good working relationship with your manager.
  • Ask to take on jobs that will challenge you. You won’t grow if you are standing still. Stay on your manager’s radar by demonstrating your eagerness to grow and doing high-quality work.
  • Keep track of what you do. If you save the company money or spearhead an initiative, document it. When you have to make a case for why you would be a good fit for a promotion, you’ll have numbers to show your supervisors.[2]
  • Spend time with colleagues in casual settings. Having an excellent rapport with your coworkers will not only make work a lot more fun, but it will also help you build collaborative relationships. Upper level management like to see team players. Of course you want to stand out, but you don’t have to be cutthroat to show your mettle.[3]
  • Value your time. When employees value their time, they are also showing the boss that they value the company’s time. Stay organized and develop a workflow for your day. Managers are more likely to give you more opportunities if they see that you are efficient.[4] Asking a manager what steps you can take to make a project run more smoothly shows that you are open to mentoring and care to maximize your time.
  • Think about the big picture. Find out what problem you can help your boss solve. When your manager knows you are willing to take the initiative to troubleshoot an issue, you show that your vision goes beyond the stack of papers sitting on your desk.
  • Always keep it professional. You may have heard that you dress for the job you want, not the one that you have. Avoid gossip, sloppiness, and negativity at all costs. If you look and act like a leader, you’re more likely to be treated like one.

Your managers want you to succeed.

Approximately 22% of workers who do not receive promotions look for work at other companies so that they can continue to move forward on their career path.[5] When a company loses a good worker, they must work to fill the gap, and they lose the time and money they invested in you. Managers know that promotions are an important part of employee retention.

Don’t be afraid to ask for more mentoring and training. Undertaking development opportunities makes you more valuable to the company. They are making an investment in you so that you can provide a return on that investment with improved skills.

Leadership want to have a mutually beneficial relationships with their employees. When you excel in your career path, it makes them look better, increases their profit, and makes their work easier. Promotion for you means more recognition, a higher salary, and more opportunities to continue on your chosen career path. In an ideal scenario, everyone wins.

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Speak Up and Go for it!

Letting your manager know that you are willing to take on new responsibilities is the first step in developing a dialogue around career advancement. Seek opportunities that showcase what you do well. You and your boss may be able to work together to find assignments that will help you build skills in your specialty. Projects that align with your career path will be more meaningful and serve your development better.

If you ask for additional responsibilities and fail to deliver, it sends the wrong message. You want them to know that you take this work seriously. Finding responsibilities that make use of the many skills that you already possess can keep added work from becoming overwhelming.

No matter how long and treacherous the path to advancement can seem, don’t let the challenge defeat you. Embrace the struggle, stay positive, and stand firm in your desire to move forward on your career path.

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Your playing small does not serve the world. -Marianne Williamson

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Angelina Phebus

Writer, Yoga Instructor (RYT 200)

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Last Updated on April 17, 2019

10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

What’s the secret of professional success? Some of it lies in the mastery of your discipline and all the technical skills you have to carry out your job; but a much bigger part lies in the soft skills list you possess.

Soft skills are your people or relationship skills—how well you get along with others and your ability to communicate and collaborate—as well as the personal characteristics you bring to the job, such as optimism, a can-do attitude and the motivation to work hard. These skills are not always easy to point out, but their absence can cause serious problems and negatively affect the whole work atmosphere.

They say that hard skills will help you get the job, but soft skills will help you get along—and get ahead. With that in mind, here’s the top-10 essential soft skills list to help you advance your career.

1. Communication Skills

Communication skills are hands-down the most sought-after soft skill that bosses want, and this one ability covers a lot of ground.

To communicate well, you have to listen carefully, interpret the context of the conversation, express yourself clearly, persuade others of your point of view, check your body language and use an engaging presentation style that won’t intimidate or bore your audience. That’s a big ask!

Your personality traits can influence the way you communicate with others. For instance, some people get straight to the point and center their arguments around facts and logic; others are cooperative and sensitive to how others feel. Both these approaches are equally valuable but there can be misunderstandings if you don’t understand where the other person is coming from.

Taking a comprehensive personality test can help you understand why you communicate the way you do and where your blind spots are. It can also help you understand other communication styles is so you can tailor your communication to the person you’re dealing with.

After all, connecting with your conversation partner is the hallmark of good communication.

2. Flexibility

Change is an essential part of any business. Companies need employees who are flexible enough to work with new initiatives, open to new ideas, and generally are able to tough it out when things don’t go as planned.

Research has found a link between job performance and flexibility over the long term because there will be times when you have to step outside your routine and rise to fresh challenges that didn’t exist before.

Being flexible doesn’t mean you have to hop into a new task or job role like an expert. Rather, it’s about showing you’re willing to accept new responsibility and learn different things.

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Bosses look for people who are prepared to step outside their comfort zones and are open to alternative solutions when their first idea doesn’t work.

3. Being a Team Player

Working on a team can be challenging but learning to do it well can definitely help you get ahead in your career. Employers look for people who can negotiate, cooperate and manage conflicts with other people to achieve a common goal. That includes the ability to build lasting relationships with customers and clients.

What makes a good team player? Essentially, it’s someone who knows the goal and knows her role. Employers look for evidence that you know your strengths, your responsibilities and how you can best contribute to the team, then put those skills into action by sharing ideas and communicating in a respectful manner. That’s the definition of being a good team player.

This is another area where taking a personality test can help you get ahead. When teams work together, each member brings a unique set of skills and qualities to the group. Research has shown that different combinations of personalities affect how teams collaborate and how productive they are.

Knowing who you are, and how you work on a team, can drive new insights and open the door to better teamwork.

4. Positive Mental Attitude

There are plenty of things you can’t change at work, like the people you work with or the fact that the printer is broken again. The one thing you can change is how much you let these things bother you.

Bosses like people who are calm, rational and upbeat—those who diffuse tensions in the workplace, not get all grouchy and go around slamming doors.

Studies show that people who maintain a sunny disposition have better relationships at work, are happier in their jobs and make better decisions than those who whine and complain. Some suggest that a positive mental attitude can also make you live longer—which means it’s beneficial for every area of your life![1]

It’s not always easy to keep a “glass half full” mentality when work is stressful and the deadlines are piling up. But there are some things you can do to help maintain a positive attitude. Laughing at your unfortunate circumstances keeps the work environment positive, and taking “sanity” breaks can help you keep your cool in high-pressure situations.

Managers look for positive mental attitude in a team member that is ready for a promotion, so it really does pay to keep your cool in challenging situations.

5. A Strong Work Ethic

People with a strong work ethic are committed to the role, persevere when things get tough and are inspired by challenge. These people are ambassadors for the organization, and will always be seen as top talent and ideal candidates.

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If you can exhibit this skill, then expect to be seen as a great candidate, eligible for new opportunities and positions throughout your career.

Since a strong work ethic can mean different things to different people, it helps to show specific examples of your exceptional work ethic during a performance appraisal or interview. For instance, you might talk about:

  • A time when you persisted in the face of challenges and did not shy away from hard work.
  • How you volunteered to help with projects even though these tasks did not form part of your job description.
  • The networking, workplace learning and skills betterment you’ve undertaken, which shows ambition and drive (people with a strong work ethic have those qualities in spades).
  • How you own your mistakes and never, ever point the finger of blame at others.

For help with building a strong work ethic, check out these tips: How to Build a Reliable Work Ethic

6. Public Speaking

Who’s terrified of public speaking? Pretty much everyone, since public speaking is America’s number one fear, ahead of death at number five and loneliness at number seven.

Yet, according to Warren Buffett, mastering this one skill you could increase your personal value by 50 percent.[2] That’s huge!

If you’re not natural at public speaking, you’re in good company. Buffett had to work hard to overcome his stage fright and once dropped out of a public-speaking course before it started—because he was afraid of public speaking! He eventually realized that he needed to build up his confidence by just doing it; over and over in front of small groups.

For a more structured approach, Toastmasters International teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a variety of pathways. Membership of this non-profit looks good on your resume but the real payoff will come when you can put your newfound skills to use on the job or in the interview room.

Or, you can check out this advice: The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

7. Integrity

From a manager’s point of view, the two integrity skills that will set you apart are:

  • Always doing what you say you will do
  • Owning an error instead of minimizing or hiding it

…even when no one is around to check up on you.

There are lots of people who have climbed the ladder without scruples, but they are not the people who others trust, respect and support when promotion time comes around.

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Behaving with integrity is a safe and consistent way to enhance your reputation and achieve your professional goals.

8. Managing Your Time

Phone calls, texts, Slack pings, meetings, huddles, side projects, multitasking—we are busier today than any generation before us. There’s no denying the workplace is an incredibly distracting place to be.

A lot of us have traded effectiveness for busyness which we wear as a badge of honor, both as a proxy for productivity and to show our value to the company. But what bosses want, what they really, really want, is someone who actually gets stuff done on time.

Time management is not merely the art of being on time, but of managing your time so you focus on the projects that really matter and add value to the business. This means prioritizing well, sticking to schedules, delegating, and not getting distracted by tasks that are easier to perform or less important. It means planning ahead and learning when it’s appropriate to say no.

Time management can be a tough skill to maintain, but not a difficult one to pick up. Monitor your actions for a few days—how long do your tasks take to finish? What’s interrupting you? What causes you to lose focus? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can set a schedule for yourself to make sure you’re spending your time wisely and this valuable asset is never wasted.

These 20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity are also great to try.

9. Assertiveness

In any workplace, you typically will find people with the following conflict styles:

  • Passive: Those who go out of their way to avoid conflict.
  • Passive-aggressive: Those who express their negative feelings through actions rather than words.
  • Aggressive: Those who respond to conflict in a hostile and rude manner. These people get their opinion heard but they won’t make any friends in the process.
  • Assertive: People who stick up for their rights while still respecting the rights of others.

Managers look for assertiveness above all other styles because it allows decisions to be made without conflict or alienating people.

How do you use this information for yourself?

It starts with understanding your personality so you can anticipate how you will react when conflict arises and address your own shortcomings. Then, you can start influencing the team for top results, and securing your own career advancement in the process.

Learn how to be assertive and gain respect:

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How to Be Assertive and Stand up for Yourself the Smart Way

10. Creative Thinking

LinkedIn recently analyzed over 50,000 skills that employers search for when looking for candidates to find out what skills are currently in demand.[3] Taking the number-one slot on the 2019 soft skills list was creativity: the ability to solve problems and think outside the box.

Creativity is about bringing fresh, and sometimes unorthodox, ideas to the table. This helps companies to innovate, and companies that do not innovate will not survive very long.

How do you showcase your creative thinking skills? The golden rule is to participate.

Be brave and share your ideas during group brainstorming sessions. Volunteer to run a society, networking event or recruitment drive. Ask “what if” questions: “What if we add this information to the client welcome pack?” “What if we eliminate step 3 from the process?”

These activities demonstrate that you’re prepared to go beyond “business as usual” towards creative problem solving—an ability that will serve you every day, all throughout your career.

You can learn to unleash your creativity power:

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

Final Thoughts

The good news? Every item on this soft skills list can be learned. Although you may feel lacking in certain areas, taking an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses will allow you to focus in on the areas that you’ll benefit from developing.

So take an inventory of your personality, skills, and talents. This will give you a baseline for your communication style, attitude to change, conscientiousness and more. You can then identify your weak areas and develop strategies for improving your team-building, assertiveness and conflict skills.

The better news? The effort is worth it. Developing your soft skills opens the door to a new job or a promotion, and helps you succeed once you get there.

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Featured photo credit: Rachael Gorjestani via unsplash.com

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