Six ways to fast track your career progression
Have you ever been frustrated, waiting for your manager to offer you a promotion, or wondered what more you could do to stand out from your peers? Use these tips and tricks to get the recognition you deserve and fast-track your progression.
1. Set your career (and life) goals
Goal setting is all about having a long-term vision and short-term motivation. Think, where do you want to be in 5 years, and how will you get there.
Ensure these goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound (SMART). This will allow you to keep track of your progression and hold yourself accountable as you progress.
Don’t forget to be flexible and adaptable in your approach. You will undoubtedly hit detours along the way or decide to shift your target entirely. Adapting to these roadblocks is key to your development and maintaining a high level of satisfaction in your career.
Don’t forget to celebrate the small wins along the way!
2. Develop your networks
The power of having a solid personal and professional network is undeniable. Building strong networks and understanding how to use them effectively is key to many successful careers.
A common misconception is that this means constantly going to conferences, networking events, and lunches. Whilst these can help, don’t neglect to focus on those closest to you. It’s often your colleagues, mentors, lecturers, and friends is your network.
One of the best ways to improve networks within the workplace is to be willing to go the extra mile to provide support and help others. Say yes to that colleague or friend, offer your assistance, and go the extra mile.
Developing a diverse range of networks will allow you to adapt to new situations, expand your knowledge and rapidly develop in your field.
3. Understand where you add value
The more you understand the goals of your team and organisation, the more effective you can be at showcasing the value that you provide to them. Your progression is directly related to this value and how it is showcased.
Read your organisation’s vision, mission, and strategy. Understand the targets of your boss and their boss and use this to your advantage. This will allow you to see where you can provide value beyond expectations and provide added benefits to those above you.
It’s also important to understand your strengths and realise how you may best use them within the company. Is there something you can offer that your boss wasn’t aware you had a passion for?
4. Continue to learn and challenge yourself
If you’re looking to fast-track your progression, it’s time to get outside your comfort zone. The more professional and personal development opportunities you can participate in, the better. Align these with your career objectives, and don’t just rely on your work to put the options in front of you.
Simple things like using podcasts to keep up to date with industry trends, signing up for free short courses to expand your skill sets, and saying yes to opportunities in the workplace will help your development.
5. Know how to ask for more
Many employees find themselves disappointed, waiting for their annual performance review to discuss progression or even waiting for it to be raised with them. This is an area where being proactive will provide the most significant value.
Be prepared to ask for additional responsibility. Summarise your achievements and goals within the organisation and how a promotion or change of role will assist the organisation in achieving its goals. If you approach this by showcasing the value that you can provide with more responsibility, you further increase the opportunity for a promotion.
You have so much to gain and so little to lose by speaking up.
6. Recognise when to stay or go
A key to career development can come down to knowing when you should hold on or seek new opportunities outside your organisation. There are many reasons that you may not be happy, but when it comes to progression, if you believe the value that you add is not being recognised, then be proactive.
Ask your manager what their plan for your development and opportunities for progression over the next 6-12 months looks like. Does this align with the reasonable goals that you have set?
If yes, develop a formal plan and don’t be afraid to hold them accountable.
If not, or there is no plan, then considering external growth opportunities could be favourable.
- Remember that chasing progression can leave you with unrealistic expectations.
- Set clear goals, but don’t be afraid of speed bumps.
- Build up your networks and be there for them.
- Understand the value that you add to your organisation.
- Continue to challenge yourself and develop your skills.
- Know-how and when it is time to ask for more.
- Recognise when it is time to move on.
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash
Chief Executive Officer
Cameron Kenney is Chief Executive Officer at ActivateUTS. He is passionate about improving the student experiences at UTS and the impact these have on student’s personal and professional development.