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Last Updated on August 19, 2021

14 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Advancement

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14 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Advancement

Are you focused on career advancement, or is it not your priority?

For many of us, having a secure job to go to each week is important and career is not much of an interest. It may not be an issue until we start to feel discontent at work. When this happens, we naturally start to look for another job.

By this time, desperation has often crept in and we go into reaction mode. We become impatient for change and may jump out of the frying pan into the fire.

The more interested we are in career advancement, the less likely we are to get to that stage. This is because we make conscious and objective choices, and we are more proactive about them.

There are many benefits to advancing our career. These include salary raises, increased work satisfaction, travel opportunities, building skills, and personal growth. All of these contribute to our quality of life in general.

For many people, career advancement happens organically. I know it always did for me. It was not something I consciously pursued; my employers just saw potential in me. I guess, in a way, I was lucky.

But for most of us, if it is something we want, then we need to make a conscious choice.

If you’ve had an intention to advance your career from the onset, you possibly have a good idea where you’re heading and how to get there. But if you’re new to the concept, you may not know where to start. Let us begin my understanding the concept of career advancement.

What is Career Advancement?

Career advancement is referred to as the upward evolution of one’s career. Moving from entry-level employment to a managerial position within the same industry or from one occupation to another is one way to advance.

Gaining experience and possibly completing additional training can help you move up the corporate ladder within the same industry. When a person advances by changing occupations, they may move into a similar field with higher educational requirements and responsibilities.

For example, A physical therapy aide who goes to school to become a physical therapy assistant. The first employment only demands a high school diploma, whereas the second requires an associate’s degree.

It is divided into two categories: career planning and career management. While being able to build a realistic career plan to examine the talents and potential of employees with the help of consultants and other individuals, career planning describes the actions conducted by a person.

Some activities aid in the development of a person’s personality and the formation of career goals. Career management is mainly concerned with what the organization can do to take the necessary measures to reach that strategy and support employee career development.

Because the vast majority of workers transform their occupations into a medieval lifestyle, it is apparent that career advancement programs are required at all stages of life.

Why is Career Advancing Important?

1. Reduces Staff Turnover

A career advancement program can assist boost employee happiness and, as a result, lower the number of people who want to quit the company.

When considering a career advancement program, there is the possibility of equal opportunity employment because these programs identify each person based on their qualities. Highly effective people and their shown outcomes are used as a criterion for their development, rather than other factors, demonstrating equitable opportunity.

We acquire a sense of meaning from our job through identifying with it. This comprises work-related meaning (derived from belonging to a group) and work-related meaning (derived from a connection with the work itself). Individuals who have a strong sense of purpose in their work and their organization are more productive and committed.

2. Improves Employee Productivity

Career development allows employees to gain new skills and expand their knowledge of their current jobs. It also assists them in effectively managing their time and ensuring that staff utilization grows over time.

3. Improves Employee Work-life Effectiveness

Career development assists employees in learning better working practices, work ethics, and other key aspects of their jobs.

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Employees have gained a better understanding of the company’s diverse activities as a result of a career development program. As a result, information sharing and work ethics tend to enhance the organization.

4. Increases Employee Skill

When an employee participates in a career development program, their skill level rises. These programs are designed to improve numerous aspects of a worker’s life, allowing them to perform better at work.

Steps to Achieve Career Advancement

Because of this, I have put together what I consider to be 9 powerful steps to achieve career advancement.

1. Set An Intention to Advance Your Career

Starting with the outcome in mind is always a good place to start when you want to achieve something.

Forbes magazine says that it is about defining what success is in your career.[1] Success is different for everyone, so it is important to make this clear from the beginning.

This can be challenging from the onset, especially if you are not really sure. But if you spend time exploring this early, it will guide you to make the right decision and help you choose the right company to work for and roles most appropriate for you.

Even more essential is to regularly check in with your intentions at different points throughout your career path. This will help you see if it is still relevant to what you want as you change and grow. Because what you want now will more likely be very different from what you want in five years.

A favourite interview question is, “What is your five-year plan?

This is because it is helpful to know this when your potential employer makes a decision. It is also beneficial for you because it gives you direction and helps you make effective decisions.

Imagine how you want your career to look like five years from now. Think about how this may benefit your whole life. Remember that your career is just a part of your life; it is important that it benefits your life in general.

2. Explore What You Enjoy

The more we enjoy our work, the more satisfied we feel. And increasing job satisfaction gives us more potential for career advancement. We become more productive when we see greater opportunities that lead us to be noticed.

In general, we enjoy what we are good at, but that is not always the case. Sometimes, we develop strengths just because we have been doing them for a long time, or we have been trained well.

My career is probably a really good example of this. I am strong in numbers and was a skilled bookkeeper. Yet, I have chosen a career in human services. This career is the love of my life, and I have been very successful in it.

It’s also easier to learn new skills when they are related to what you enjoy. Even out of comfort zone skills become more doable. For instance, I was a C grade student in English, and now I have become a skilled writer because I write about my passion.

We can be doing something for years without fully enjoying our work. Getting clear on what most lights you up from the inside and working with that creates fulfilment. This contributes to your prospects of career advancement.

Write a list of all the things you have enjoyed, even what you loved to do as a child. Look for a common thread that could be part of your career.

3. Be a Forward Thinker in Your Job Choice

If career advancement was not on your horizon before, you might be in the pattern of accepting a job just because it is offered. It is easy to do, especially if you are unhappy in your current workplace.

Doing this can eventually lead to more of the same; even if you are happy in the role, to begin with. This can limit your career and even set you back for a few years.

When you have a big picture outcome for your career, you can use a simple process to ensure you make choices serving that outcome. This can fast track your career success.

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For each role or job that interests you, check for its alignment with the bigger picture.

Look for where it can contribute to your ultimate goal and how you can use it as a stepping-stone. For example, will it mean you have to learn new skills or open you up to new networks? Is there potential for promotion or not?

4. Do Not Keep Your Plans a Secret

In business, there is a fantastic saying:

“You can be really good at what you do, but if it’s a secret you won’t attract clients.”

The same goes for career advancement. You can have wonderful plans for professional growth, but keeping it a secret delays your development.

When you have decided what you want to achieve in your career, it is a good idea to let the appropriate people know. This might mean being prepared for that “5-year plan” question at your interview and answering honestly. Or actually ask if there are opportunities for career advancement.

And if you are in a company you love working for, let your superior know your aims. Freely sharing this information and asking them to keep you in mind puts you on their radar. This makes them more likely to give you the chance to develop yourself or trust you with extra responsibilities.

As you take on more, it gives you a chance to show what you are capable of. And this puts you in the forefront for future opportunities.

5. Stand Out by Believing in Yourself

When we believe in ourselves, it increases our self-confidence. And we all know that confident people tend to stand out in the workplace.

Believing in yourself and what you are capable of also leads others to believe in you too. This makes you more likely to be considered for promotion when it becomes available.

We are all very good at noticing our negative qualities. Many of us are also very talented at beating ourselves up for those things. This lowers our self-belief and in turn, our self-confidence.

When we flip this pattern and notice our wonderful qualities instead, our self-belief increases. Plus, our superiors are more likely to notice those strengths too.

One of the greatest self-confidence boosting exercises I like to do is writing a list of all your amazing qualities in a journal. Then write a list of all the things you are good at. Allow yourself plenty of time to do this and keep coming back to it as the answers come to you.

You will be astonished at how much you have on your list. And you may realize that you are a great catch for any employer.

6. Identify Your Strengths Using Profiling Tools

Profiling tools are a fantastic way to identify what we are good at. It can cut out the guess-work, and it hones in on our professional strengths. These days, there are many different types available.

Extended DISC is a tool I have used for myself and my clients for a long time. I prefer this method because it doesn’t pigeon hole us. Instead, it helps us build on the strengths and developmental areas that we naturally have.

This profiling tool is based on the works of Carl Jung and William Marston. It helps us build on our strengths and modify our behaviour’s to improve our performance. And when we improve our performance, we increase our opportunity for career advancement.

We can identify our strengths by writing our own list in a journal. We can also ask our work colleagues or honest friends to help us with this. Other people close to us can often see our strengths easier than we can.

Once you know your strengths, identify ways to build on them to improve your performance. You can try to volunteer for responsibilities where your strengths can be utilized.

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7. Be Prepared to Level Up Your Knowledge and Skills

For every strength, there is an underside, and we must work on those to increase our opportunities.

Einstein’s definition of insanity is:

“Doing the same thing and expecting a different result.”

This means that if we want to advance our career, we might need to do different things and learn new skills. We can also develop in areas that we are not that strong at.

Be willing to study further to support your career advancement. In many instances, the company you work for will chip in with the financial side. But if not, be happy to fund it yourself. After all, it is for your own benefit.

Also, volunteering for extra responsibilities that are out of your comfort zone allows you to learn new skills. You can sometimes do this by offering to cover someone when they are away or on holiday.

8. Show That You Want to Advance Your Career

We can have the best skills in the world, but if our outer image does not reflect our inner success, we can still be passed over when it comes to promotion.

Our image gives others an impression of our personal brand. Our personal brand is what we stand for, which includes our qualities, beliefs, and values. Therefore, it is important to look the part.

Sally Mlikota from CBC Staff Selection says it is important to dress for success. Research conducted by various career agencies showed that 65% of hiring managers say that clothes can be the deciding factor between two similar candidates in an interview.[2]

I believe this also applies when already working in a company you want to advance in. Promotion really is like applying for a new job.

Think about the new role you want and the responsibilities along with it. Consider the qualities, values, and strengths the role might require. Do you have those attributes, and if not, how will you develop them?

And once you have those qualities, how would you dress and present yourself? A personal stylist can also help you with this.

This is not about becoming something you are not. It’ is about developing and building on who you already are. Then, acting and dressing as if you already have the role.

9. Find a Good Mentor to Help You Advance Faster

For anything we want to achieve, there is always someone else who has already done it. And if we have a successful career, we are often eager to share how we did it.

Achieving success in anything involves making mistakes and overcoming many challenges. Working with a mentor or a coach can help you minimize these and fast track your career success.

That is why many network marketers do so well. They always have mentors on hand to tell them step by step how they did it.

You can find a mentor in your current workplace, or you can meet them while networking.

In my experience, networking in appropriate circles always expands opportunities. It gives us the chance to get to know people. And this allows us to make the best choices.

When deciding on a mentor, make sure that the person has the results you want. Just because someone has the kind of role you want doesn’t necessarily mean they are doing it well. It’s essential to build the relationships first, so you can get to know the person before you decide.

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Lastly, don’t be shy about it. Just ask them. More often than not, you will find they feel honoured.

10. Get Sponsorship

While sponsorship may appear to be the same as mentorship, it requires finding someone to advocate for you in your professional life. A sponsor can put your name forward for a job, make phone calls on your behalf, introduce you to others, and advocate for you in meetings. Finding a sponsor may necessitate a sizeable proportion of networking and outreach before you find the appropriate person.

11. Maintain Your Health to Protect the Asset

It may seem strange to consider your physical health an asset, but wait until you lose it and are out of sick days. Regular exercise, proper nutrition, and, most importantly, a good night’s sleep regularly are all critical factors in ensuring that your career lasts rather than burns out quickly.

12. Future-oriented Work

Short-term goals will get you there, but keep in mind what you want to achieve in the long run. Advancing your profession for the sake of a wage boost or the added prestige of a working title are fleeting pleasures that will fade as quickly as your ecstasy.

Work toward a goal that is more significant than material things. Always have a long-term aim in mind, whether to subsidize a remote village in a third-world country or spur innovation in a critical industry.

Warren Buffet, the renowned businessman observed,

“Someone is sitting in the shade now because someone planted a tree a long time ago”

13. Never Give Up on Learning

Continuously acquiring new knowledge is an established way to advance in your career. Keep up with industry changes and advances, and make sure your current resume represents the necessary skills. Take concrete steps to improve your abilities.

Look for training opportunities. Read a lot of books. Take the time to read blogs. Make an effort to learn new talents and put them to use in your existing employees as often as possible.

If you are not moving forward, you are moving backward ,” always keep in mind.

14. Improve Your Interpersonal Skills

Strong interpersonal skills are essential for obtaining the respect of your boss and co-workers, as well as attracting the attention of outside influencers who can help you open new doors of opportunity. Be approachable, friendly, and outgoing. Pay attention to what others are saying and practice becoming a clear and effective communicator.

To Sum It Up

We spend many hours at work each week. For that reason, it is vital that we feel satisfied with our roles. Feeling happy at work has a positive effect on our health and every relationship we have both at work and personally.

There are two choices:

You can either take it as it comes and change jobs when you feel unhappy. This means leaving it to chance, and you might never feel long-term fulfilment.

Or, you can consciously choose career advancement and know where you are heading. This one has positive effects on all aspects of your life, not to mention the potential increases in salary.

Which one will you choose?

More Career Tips

Featured photo credit: Jud Mackrill via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Forbes: 5 Things You Can Do to Advance Your Career
[2] CBC Staff Selection: Dress for Success

More by this author

Deb Johnstone

Deb is a professional mindset speaker and a transformational life, business and career coach. Specialising in NLP and dynamic mindset.

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Last Updated on September 5, 2021

How To Be Proactive At Work: 7 Habits To Build

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How To Be Proactive At Work: 7 Habits To Build

I don’t know about you, but it was nearly impossible for me to be proactive at work last year.

Every week, I would map out my game plan and color-coded my calendar. But when I tried to set things in motion, I faced ten-foot barriers that would force me to change direction. I’d have to reschedule meetings, push deadlines back, and reorganize my life because of all the twists and turns. Pivoting became my life, and it was taking over every part of it.

When I think back to 2020, it was like trying to survive the Tour de France blindfolded. By the end of the year, I was worn out, and I was in no mood to organize my 2021 goals. Being proactive was the furthest from my mind. In many ways, I didn’t even want to dream about new projects.

When January 1st entered the scene, I crawled back under my covers and hoped for the best—or at least a year that would be more predictable with less pivoting.

You want to be hopeful for this year, but a part of you is afraid of another year filled with more barriers and you’re tired of trying to survive the chaos. You’re not alone.

Over 100,000 businesses have permanently shut their doors because of Covid-19.[1] Start-Ups aren’t getting a second chance.[2] And according to Pew Research, one in four adults still have a hard time finding money to pay their bills.[3]

This reality is not the most inspiring for those of us who are business leaders. If anything, it feels like the grim reaper is right around the corner to destroy our dreams and add us to the rising number of failed companies.

Being proactive is one of the most challenging things to muster right now. But it is one of the most imperative traits that we need to embrace.

But first, let’s be clear, what does being proactive mean?

Defining the Term “Proactive” In-Depth

The word proactive often floats around the workplace, usually by well-meaning managers asking employees or their team to, “Be more proactive!” But have you ever stopped to think about what that actually means?

The dictionary definition of proactive is, “acting in anticipation of future problems, needs, or changes.”

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Being proactive is about dealing with any obstacles or challenges before they even happen. Simply put, a proactive person plans ahead.

For example, you’re buying an older home. The seller tells you that it has a sturdy foundation and an engineer confirms it. Most people would be satisfied with this answer.

A proactive person, however, would think beyond what’s presented and look into any potential issues. They may ask questions like, “How long is the lifespan of the foundation?”, “Is it earthquake ready?”, or “Does insurance cover the foundation?”

Depending on the answers, proactive people would respond accordingly and put safeguards in place to avoid these problems or minimise its impact. While it seems like a lot of resources and effort are spent at the beginning, it can actually lessen your stress and save you time and effort because you’re either preventing a problem or already have a solution at hand when the challenge arises.

This doesn’t mean that proactive people never have to put out fires on occasion. However, when you have a proactive mindset, most of the issues that come up seemingly out of left field are already something you’ve considered. And this makes you better equipped to handle situations calmly and enact a solution.

If you want your business to succeed this year, you need to be proactive at work. Situations around the world are constantly changing and you never know what the next month, year or even hour might bring and how it would affect your work. Planning ahead and preparing for the future is incredibly vital in our current climate.

Proactivity vs Reactivity

We can’t discuss proactivity without exploring the other side of the coin: Reactivity.

Being reactive is the complete opposite of being proactive. A reactive person doesn’t feel the need to address a problem until it’s already occurred. They simply react to a situation because it’s already there.

Spontaneity and the ability to address problems as they arise is important in leadership, and in life. After all, we cannot predict the future no matter how hard we try. But oftentimes reactive people encounter problems because they refuse to take action even though there have been warning signs of imminent trouble.

Reactivity also comes from a place of panic. Because you have not thought or planned ahead, you react instantaneously. You may not offer the best solution because you haven’t had time to fully review the situation, and maybe even create more problems.

It won’t be easy, but it will be a lot easier with the following practical habits that I’ve put together for you. These tools will make all the difference for you and your organization.

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7 Practical Habits to Turn Reactivity into Proactivity

Even proactive people can exhibit reactive behavior. No one is perfect and the corporate and business world can be unpredictable. But you can turn things around and be proactive even when you have not anticipated challenges that face you. Here are some tips:

1. Don’t Be Busy

Repeat after me: only do what is necessary—no more and no less.

If you’re anything like me, as soon as January 1st comes along, you cram in all your five-year goals into one packed year. You love seeing your schedule filled. But being busy isn’t the same as being productive. Being proactive requires you to take a step back, reevaluate your priorities, and actually take things off of your plate before adding new goals.

The brain is not designed to always operate at full capacity twenty-four hours a day.[4] It needs a break. If we’re constantly immersing ourselves throughout the day with frivolous tasks, then we don’t have time to concentrate on our goals.

This year, I’m taking a break from the chaos and learning to do fewer tasks with more investment.

Think of it this way. Planning takes time. It’s like painting an apartment. Before you can add color to the drab walls of your living room, you have to plan and prep the area. The same is true for being proactive at work.

2. Stop Trying to Run Everyone’s Race

If you want to direct the narrative of your life, you need to take a step back and get rid of the clutter. Figure out what you can delegate and then, focus your energy away from the distractions. Not every email needs a reply, and not every job is right for you.

Shakespeare said it best,[5]

“To thine own self be true.”

These six words need to become your mantra.

If you want to reach your goals this year and be proactive, you need to walk forward with laser focus. If you compare yourself or your business to the next big thing, you won’t contribute anything except a lesser copy of yourself and your organization.

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Part of being proactive is being creative. You have to be able to see the different angles and nuances in a situation or project in order to anticipate potential issues and come up with creative solutions. If you’re constantly looking over someone else’s work, you’re not focusing on what’s in front of you. And you could end up missing a lot of obstacles that you could’ve avoided if you were paying attention.

Stop looking around. Your purpose is not to run the race of someone else. If you want to be proactive at work, you need to stop comparing yourself to your neighbor and stick to running your own race. It’s the only way that you’ll win.

3. Make “Essentialism” Your 2021 Word

When you’re figuring out your 2021 goals, take time to weigh the cost. Ask yourself if it’s worth the investment. Being proactive means that you take into consideration all the variables before cementing your goals.

Before you map out your plan or get crazy with those highlighters, ask yourself these two questions:

  • Will this goal help create balance in my life?
  • Will this goal produce a return on investment?

If you can answer a resounding “yes” to both of these questions, then take these ideas and write them down on a piece of paper.

After you’ve compiled a list of 15 to 20 ideas, take a new sheet of paper and break it into two columns. The first section should contain a list of goals that take priority. These ideas would fall under the umbrella of being trend-related and financially profitable.

The second section should contain a list of goals that will increase your social proof and promote your priority goals. This column drives traffic and promotes awareness of your business and your product.

After you’ve compiled this list, break it in half and cut it down to three goals in each section. Three is the perfect number because it gives you leeway to pivot and bend if you need to make changes throughout the process.

The two excellent tools that have helped me develop a schedule of essentialism are Hilary Rushford’s Elegant Excellence Journal[6] and Jill Konrath’s book, “More Sales. Less Time.

Both of these tools have helped me focus on what’s important, make the best decisions for my business, and make a profit without sacrificing my health.

4. Order the Same Latte

When you look at the greats in the business world, they all encompass one thing: simplicity.

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If you minimize your choices and stick to the basics, you’ll have the ability to save time and focus your energy on decisions that require your creativity. Keeping up with the latest fashion trends not only sacrifices your time but also sacrifices your budget.

Remember, it’s not about looking successful. It’s about making choices that give you the ability to be successful.

Here are four things that you can do to save time to make you more proactive at work:

  • Buy multiples of the same outfit and mix and match throughout the week.
  • Order the same drink each day from the same coffee shop.
  • Prepare meals at the beginning of the week for lunch and dinner.
  • Set your alarm for the same time each morning, including weekends.

5. Don’t Pressure Yourself to Respond Immediately

It’s okay to be surprised or be blindsided. Sometimes things just happen that is out of your control. What you are in control of, however, is your reaction. There’s nothing wrong with not having a solution or response at hand. It’s okay to take a step back and think about it first before responding.

6. Put a Pin on It

If you find yourself being unable to come up with a good solution, you can put a pin on it. You may want to address another matter first, one you already know how to deal with. It may give you inspiration and confidence when you come back to your other issues. Unless of course the imminent problem is fire outside your door.

7. Prioritize What’s Important

The thing with problems that come up suddenly, is that they may have already caused damage you can’t reverse. You have to learn to accept the situation and instead of trying to solve the unsolvable, prioritize what’s important, see what you can salvage and take note of lessons that will help you in the future.

It’s impossible to be proactive if you feel rushed. But if you follow the above tips, you’ll gain more time in your schedule and have more energy to lead your business and operate with a well-organized game plan.

Final Thoughts

I think the majority of us are tired of feeling like we’re contestants in Survivor. After all, who wants to be filmed while living in the woods and surviving off of bugs and tree bark?

All kidding aside. This past year has been challenging. But we can learn a lot from these past twelve months.

If you want to be proactive, simplify your schedule, focus on your path, only take what you need, and be purposeful with your time and energy. Being proactive is not about filling up your schedule. It’s about creating balance in your life.

I know it seems daunting right now, and many of us are still trying to figure out how to pay this month’s rent with spare change from the couch. But if you take the time to prepare and figure out what’s a priority this year, you’ll not only meet your goals, you’ll enjoy the journey.

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You have all the tools you need to be proactive at work. Now, go map out your 2021 goals for the year!

More Tips on How to Be Proactive

Featured photo credit: Campaign Creators via unsplash.com

Reference

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