In a world where competition for jobs can be fierce, ensuring that you stand out enough to get the job you want is hard enough. However, when it comes to advancing that career, once you have found a job, it can be even harder. Some people find that seemingly no matter what they do, they are stuck in a rut, and the only way to get out of that situation is to re-train for another career entirely, even if it’s not something they actually want to do.
Yet, although this might seem as though it’s the only option, the truth is that there are other things you can do. Just as you had to stand out from the crowd when you applied for the job in the first place, so you need to do the same again when you’re looking for a promotion or other kind of advancement. Just because you now have a job, it doesn’t mean that no one else is looking for the same opportunities as you, and it doesn’t mean you can forget about the competition. Here are some of the best ways you can advance your career without having to start from scratch (unless that’s what you really want to do).
Table of Contents
What Are You Good At?
The first thing you can do is to determine what it is you’re good at, or even what it is you’re best at if you have skills in many different areas. Knowing where your strengths lie can help you immensely when it comes to finding the right opportunities to advance your career in business and become the leader you know you can be.
Think about what you do on a day-to-day basis and what you not only enjoy most but what you are able to accomplish easily. These are the areas to concentrate on when you are looking for opportunities to advance your career. It might be that you had not considered this before and were only looking at ways to move forward in general terms. However, if you narrow things down, it will be much easier to find opportunities that suit you and that, importantly, you stand a good chance of being accepted for.
Ask For More Responsibility
Do you sit back and get on with your work and never stand up for yourself or ask for more than you currently have? If that sounds like you, then you shouldn’t be surprised to find that you’re still doing the same job you’ve been doing for years and that no one has offered you any kind of promotion or better opportunity.
There are so many people who want the same thing as you that unless you specifically ask for it, you’re going to be overlooked. Managers and employees will just leave you alone to get on with your work and do your job, assuming that you’re content with that or that you don’t have the leadership skills needed to ask for what you want. This is why you might see colleagues being promoted ahead of you or instead of you; they are the ones who are showing what they can do and asking for a chance to do more. You might consider this ‘making waves’ or being too brash, but the truth is, this is how you’ll need to be if you want to enhance your business career. You’re not being rude, you’re not pushing others out of the way, you’re simply asking for what you want and what you deserve.
It might be that your employer sees you in a new light if you can ask for a promotion or a raise or a new office or anything else you’re looking for, and that can be enough for them to give you the chance you need to shine.
Use Your Network
What is the point in struggling along in a position you don’t enjoy or that you know is a waste of your skills? If you have friends and family, you can turn to for help? When it comes to advancing your career, there is no time to be shy or proud; if you know someone who can help you (or even someone who might be able to help you), then ask for that help. The worst that can happen is they say they can’t help after all, and you’ll be no worse off (you might even be feeling more confident because you asked the question, and that will help you in your business career too).
It can sometimes feel wrong or uncomfortable to ask people you know to help you get ahead in your career – we’re often told that we need to make something of ourselves by ourselves – but the truth is that it would be a wasted opportunity not to ask in this situation. Plus, don’t forget that many entrepreneurs relish the idea of being a mentor to someone who’s just starting out, and they will feel honored that you thought of them. Even if they can’t personally help you, there is a possibility they will know someone who can – it’s definitely worth asking because you never know where it could lead, and they may not have suggested helping you in the past because they assumed you were perfectly happy where you are. Again, it’s speaking up that makes the difference.
Don’t assume that everything will be handed to you just because you happen to know the owner of a business you’d like to work for, however. You’ll still need to put in the hard work, and you’ll still need to show that you are capable of the job at hand. The only difference is that you can get ahead of the competition at the start; the rest is always going to be down to you.
Start A Blog
You might be wondering just how starting a blog will help you advance your business career, and it’s a good question, but there is also a good answer.
Starting a blog takes just a few moments, and even if you’re not sure that anything you’re going to say about your work and experience is going to be of interest to anyone, and you’re worried that it might not be unique and a new insight into things, don’t worry. Someone will find what you have to say interesting, and they will want to know more. As time goes on, as long as you are consistent and research what you’re going to say, you’ll gain more readers who are keen to know what you will say next.
When this happens, you can start to position yourself as an expert in your field. Make sure the blogs you write are accurate and informative, and you can show all your skills in one place on one platform. The more you write, the more you’ll learn through your own research, and you’ll also be able to explain just why you’re good at what you do. If you’re looking for a way to start your own business with a good potential customer base behind you from the start, blogging first could be the right way to go about it. If you want to work for someone else but you want to do so at a higher level than you’re doing now, you can show any potential employer (or your current employer if you’re hoping for a promotion) what you’re writing about, ensuring they are away of your expertise.
At the very least, writing a blog about business is something that will allow you to get your thoughts in order and really assess what you like, dislike, and need to get better at if you want your career to improve.
Do Volunteer Work
Of course, money is important. Money might even be the reason behind why you want to advance your career in business (and if that’s the case, there is nothing wrong with that – everyone needs money). However, if you’re able to do any volunteer work or pro-bono work, you might find that you can enhance your career and receive that extra money even if you need to work for free for a while to get to that position.
Volunteering is an enriching experience that can make a difference not just to the lives of those you are helping but to your own life, too, helping you to see things in a different light and from a new perspective. Yet, although this is certainly a bonus if you’re looking at ways to enhance your career, doing volunteer work outside your normal job can be a wonderful idea. This is especially true if you can find a volunteering opportunity that relates to the sector you work in or want to work in. The more volunteer work you can do, the more knowledge and experience you will gain. This is not something you would necessarily be able to do in your workplace, so it’s the ideal opportunity to learn more.
Teach A Class
If you’ve never considered teaching a class before, you could be missing out on the ideal opportunity to advance your career in business. You don’t have to have a teaching qualification to teach a class if you’re not working in a school or other recognized educational facility; there are actually ways you can enhance your career, share your knowledge, and even gain some more.
Take a look online, and you’ll see that there are various opportunities for people with specific skills to share their talents with others. If you are working in a particular sector, you can talk about that. Perhaps you’ll discuss how technology is helping businesses to advance, or you’ll teach people how to write a business plan. It could be anything.
As with writing a blog, when you can create a course or a one-off workshop, for example, you can showcase your skills and experience and let others know that you are an expert in your field. This is an excellent addition to your resume, and it will also be impressive to employers, many of whom won’t have considered doing such a thing themselves.
Get Additional Qualifications
You might be stuck in the same position you’ve been in for a long time simply because you’re not taking every opportunity possible to continue to learn and not just learn, but to gain additional qualifications that will be exactly what an employer or manager will want to see.
You might want to get a qualification that relates direction to business, such as MBA, but if this doesn’t appeal then it’s time to think laterally. There are many degrees, masters, and even doctorates that may not link directly with your sector, but that will give you all the skills and knowledge you need to excel. An EdD from Marymount is exactly this kind of qualification.
Not only will studying for new qualifications give you more knowledge which you can use directly in your work, but the fact that you are taking the time and putting in the effort to study as well as work will be something an employer will take seriously. They will see that you are interested in the work, that you are dedicated, and that you are doing all you can to know more. This, coupled with the knowledge itself, is one of the best ways to ensure you get the advancement in your business career you’ve been looking for.
Join A Business Group
There are many different networking groups around, some online and some in person. We’ve covered networking above, and these groups are certainly useful places to go to. However, they are not the only kind of group you can attend to discuss business; you might find that there are business groups that are less about networking and more about sharing knowledge. Imagine starting your very own business… Wouldn’t it be nice to join an online community for startups that provided insightful information to budding entrepreneurs from other successful entrepreneurs and innovators? Finding one of these groups and attending regularly can often be extremely beneficial to your career; you’ll be learning all kinds of new information every time you attend, and you’ll be able to offer advice and guidance in return. Although competition is indeed fierce for jobs in business, and especially in some sectors, that doesn’t mean people can’t come together to pool their knowledge and ensure everyone has the best chance of success. If you’re worried that you might be giving away secrets to those who might want the same job as you, join an online group of people from all over the world, and don’t give away any personal information (a good rule of thumb in general). In this way, you can still benefit from the advice about how to advance your business career without sacrificing any potential promotions.