You don’t have to feel stuck in your career to seek a change. Many people want to move up for all sorts of reasons: a new challenge, to make more money, to change their surroundings, or just to take on new responsibilities. Here are some strategies that can make it easier to move up and prepare you to take advantage of the opportunity when it comes along.
Build your skills
Building up your skill set will give you a leg up on other competition while making you a more attractive hire. Taking time to learn new skills, whether on your own or through a formal program, will show employers and management that you take the job seriously and are interested in growing in your role. There are many ways to build your skill set, including taking on a new, challenging project or enrolling in an online class.
Build your network
If building your skills is a “what you know” approach, building your network is its “who you know” counterpart. Making connections across your industry can help you advance or prepare for the next stage. Network building comes in many forms, from professional networking mixers to social events with coworkers to industry events and symposiums. Expanding your network can alert you to new job opportunities and provide an in when an opportunity arises.
Find a mentor
Mentors can be the boost you need to get to the next level. Usually, a good mentor has lots of experience in your industry and can offer guidance based on what they have learned. A mentor can be a friend, colleague, manager, or teacher, and might be a person who provides critical guidance about what steps you should take next to move forward and grow.
Take on high-profile projects
Getting to the next level often involves taking on new challenges to test your abilities and stretch your experience. Taking on high-profile projects can be a great way to do this. Challenging projects can raise your profile among your peers and managers, and show you are capable of taking on big responsibilities. It can also provide new accomplishments to add to your resume and opportunities to connect with other colleagues working on the project.
Applying at the right time
Timing can be an important factor in advancing your career. This can mean applying when you’ve just completed a big project, waiting for a job to open, or noticing a new need in your department. While building your skills and résumé, keep abreast of job openings and opportunities and be ready to apply when the time is right.
Evaluating a job offer
Once you get the opportunity to advance, it’s important to make sure the offer is right for you. Is this the career move you wanted to make? What about the responsibilities and work-life balance the position offers? Will the new salary put you in a much better position financially? A higher salary can help you reach financial goals more quickly, such as making a down payment on a new home, putting more toward retirement, or getting a permanent life insurance policy like whole life insurance or universal life insurance. If the compensation is not what you expected relative to the increased responsibilities, you might try negotiating.
The role may match some of your needs, from compensation to benefits, but that is something only you can determine. Knowing what you need from the job will help you make the right decision for you.