An average employed person spends about one-third of his or her life at work. Making this time of your life enriching and prolific can be hard when monotony sets in, but cultivating a few productive habits will ensure that you’re not stuck in a rut and are constantly moving upward. Everyone regularly looks at growth and advancement in their professional lives, but not many are able to get where they want to be. Sometimes even the right set of skills can’t get you to the top, primarily because of a few shortcomings that you never considered working on because they seemed too minor at the time. Steer clear of such situations by adopting the following ten strategic ways to map your career path and move up the corporate ladder.
1. Be open to opportunities
Job security is nonexistent in this day and age. Therefore, it is extremely important not to box oneself in. Always be open to trying new things, acquiring new learning and improving your skill set. Create contacts and strong networks at every work place by, maybe, lending a hand to a colleague in another department. This doesn’t mean you continually hop from one job profile to the next, but always be on the lookout for growth prospects. You never know when the next opportunity may present itself and you should to be ready to take it on.
2. Focus on personal development
Aim to not only acquire new skills, but also improve existing ones. Make use of online training modules, organisational training sessions, employee manuals, business magazines, newsletters and newspapers. This way, you will always be aware of the goings-on both within and outside the organisation and industry, and it will prepare you for surprise interviews and coincidental meetings. Stay updated with the latest trends and technology too. Most importantly, learn from people around you through observation and conversations.
3. Be egoistic
This may not be appreciated in personal life, but at a tough work place this can sometimes be the only way to move forward. Be a team player but remember that you are responsible for yourself and your advancement. Don’t let anybody make decisions for you or push you into doing things you don’t want to. If you’re unhappy with your manager, pay or work profile, don’t be afraid to ask for modifications. If you don’t fight now, you may regret it in the long term. Don’t be too rough so as to ruin relationships, but make it clear that you’re not a pushover.
4. Look for alternate routes
If you discover a quicker, acceptable path to achieve your goal, don’t hesitate to adopt it. In all likelihood, you’ll be able to avoid unnecessary toil and get to the top sooner. However, if your ultimate goal requires you to have a little know-how about the basics, don’t skip those steps. Grab chances that allow you to widen your horizons and quicken your speed up the ladder. Don’t forget to be flexible, and give yourself chances to learn something new along the way.
5. Don’t make assumptions
Never assume that you’re not good enough or too qualified for a job. Every post offers something valuable to learn, and it’s always beneficial to have a fundamental knowledge of everything. Also, never underestimate yourself or your colleagues and always be prepared for the worst.
6. Accumulate feedback
Seek out a trustworthy, honest and experienced mentor either at your work place or outside. Such a person will be frank with you and help you face hard truths if necessary. At the work place, ask veterans for tips on improving your work quality, and also ask for critical feedback in the exit interview. This will help you understand where you lack and where you excel and you can accordingly get training for your shortcomings. That way you’ll be better prepared for your next job, and will also show future employers that you’re willing to work on yourself.
7. Be communicative, to an extent
Unless your bosses know what your innate desires or targets are, they won’t be able to help you. Be communicative with your colleagues too, as they can help you establish networks and worthwhile connections. However, be aware of envious people who can be discouraging and make your goal seem unachievable. Keep innovative ideas and goals to yourself, and wait for the right time to reveal them and for the right person to share them with.
8. Shape your personality
Work on your social qualities and maintain good relationships. Be neat and punctual at all times, whether at the work place or elsewhere. Treat underlings with respect and be sensitive to their needs and goals. You need support to move ahead, and such people can prove loyal in the future if you treat them right in the present. Most importantly, always remember names!
9. Update your resume
Keep updating your resume with all your achievements as and when you accomplish them. This will guarantee that you don’t miss out on any significant successes when filling your resume at a later date and ensure that you’re prepared for any good opportunity that knocks on your door.
10. Think positive
Think positive thoughts and do good deeds. Stay loyal to your company and your colleagues, and be a devoted employee. All your hard work at your job and within your relationships is bound to pay off some time.
The above tips will certainly get you where you want to be, and will also help build excellent relationships along the way. It is said that it’s lonely at the top and you’re going to need a support system if and when you get there. Take a regular break from work to spend some time with family and friends or to go on a holiday. You’ll get back charged and rejuvenated and this will ultimately reflect on your life.