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Getting Ahead in your Job

It may be that you have only recently graduated and are starting your professional career, or you may be an established professional with years of experience and looking to move to the next level of your career. Do a Google search and you will find many tips on how to get ahead in your job. Many of these tips are common sense and are likely things you are already doing. Regardless of whether or not you are feeling stuck or looking for more in your career, I present to you my top 10 recommendations on what you can do aside from the typical advice you might receive through other sources. These recommendations have worked for others and some of them have come recommended to me from other Career Development Practitioners as well as HR professionals and senior managers from a variety of different industries.

These tips will help you get noticed and increase your reputation, influence and impact within your organization and your field.

  1. Volunteer
    • Conferences are always looking for volunteers. Find one that is relevant to your field and offer to volunteer. Often volunteers are able to participate in the conference at a discounted rate or free of charge.
    • Your workplace likely has many opportunities to further develop your skills, including ones in other work areas. Determine which skills you want to work on and find opportunities within your organization to practice and master them. Going above and beyond your typical duties will get you noticed.
  2. Gain Professional Development outside of your organization
    • Stay on top of new technology and apps that can make your work more efficient.
    • Pursue training in leadership, management and supervisory skills.
    • Attend conferences and join online groups related to your field
    • Explore opportunities in higher education. Many distance learning Master degrees are available to accommodate professionals who are working full time.
    • Aim for 1-2 professional development opportunities per year and update your resume with these additional skills.
  3. Public Speaking Engagements
    • Submit a proposal to be a speaker at a conference that demonstrates your expertise, leading edge, initiative and passion.
    • Speak up during business meetings. Often meeting agendas are sent out before a meeting. Read it and generate questions, comments or suggestions that you have before the meeting starts.
    • Offer to present a project idea to senior management.
    • Give workplace tours to esteemed guests.
  4. Be generous
    • Give your time, attention and devotion to not only your work, but also your colleagues, organization and profession.
    • Be mindful of what you do and how you communicate with others.
    • Take time to think out how to best tackle a project or communicate with someone.
    • Offer to support others. Sometimes a simple chat is all that’s needed to help peers during a tough day.
  5. Dress for the position you want next
    • Want to be the boss? Dress like on every day. Your supervisors much be able to envision you as a senior member of the team. Appearance does a lot in showing how you would represent the company as well as the pride you have and respect you show for yourself and your employer.
    • Keep clothing at work so that you can instantly transform your look to a more professional level in the event of an unplanned meeting or visit.
  6. Learn business etiquette
    • Do you know how to eat a meal using proper etiquette? Learn dining etiquette to prepare yourself for any potential business lunches and professional functions that you might attend. Your example will not go unnoticed.
    • Does your organization practice a certain style when conducting meetings? If so, learn about the process and demonstrate your familiarity and professionalism during the next board meeting.
    • Learn how to make proper introductions.
    • Wear your name tag on your right side. When you go to shake hands, the other person can then easily see your name.
    • Offer many “thank yous”. A simple email can go a long way and further builds relationships and demonstrates your professionalism.
  7. Network outside of your field
    • Think outside of the box on how your skills and experience might contribute to the success of all organizations – even those outside of your field.
    • Become a committee member.
  8. Become a master
    • Learn a lot about a specific and relevant piece of your work and become the expert in your company on a particular matter. Doing so will help you become indispensable to your organization and attractive to others who may be looking to hire.
  9. Take initiative and ask for more responsibility
    • Present new ideas and approach upper management with solutions on matters needing to be addressed. Offer to take the lead and organize a task force, if need be.
    • Ask to be considered for future projects.
    • Check in with your supervisor and ask if there are any additional responsibilities that you might take on. You may have flexibility in molding your position to one that offers you more challenge, excitement, leadership and freedom.
    • Seek and create leadership opportunities for yourself.
  10. Nurture business relationships
    • Relationship building plays a big part in work. Take time to nurture them. Participate in social functions at work and offer to take colleagues and managers out for lunch or coffee every now and then.
  11. Join Professional Associations
  12. Keep your LinkedIn Profile updated and consider starting your own LinkedIn Group.

Remember, it is not your employer’s responsibility to look out for your career advancement. Ultimately, that is your responsibility. So, do your best to discover possible opportunities to gain new skills and experience both in your own workplace and externally.

Best wishes to you in your career advancement!