11 Ways To Achieve Career Advancement

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated April 1, 2021 | Published February 25, 2020

Updated April 1, 2021

Published February 25, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

In addition to the prospect of increasing your salary, career advancement opportunities can help you feel motivated at work. Career advancement comes in many forms, including training opportunities and more, and you should seek out these opportunities whenever possible. In this article, we discuss career advancement and provide a how-to guide for pursuing your career goals.

Related: Guide: How to Choose a Career

Why is it important to understand career advancement opportunities at work?

It is important to understand career advancement opportunities at work if you want to be satisfied in your profession. Having a clear idea of the opportunities your role can lead you to is a good motivator.

Career advancement opportunities can mean different things for different people. For some, it means becoming a partner or a top executive. Some want to learn new skills and become experts in their field, while others dream of opening their own successful business, publishing their research and more.

Your employer can present you with a career opportunity in a variety of ways. For instance, you may receive a promotion or a raise. You could also get training to become more versatile or specialized in your role, or your employer may simply give you more responsibilities.

Understanding the kind of career advancement opportunities your work offers should be something you discuss early on in your job, ideally when you are still in the interviewing process. It is best to know beforehand if the place you are choosing to work will offer you career advancement in the long run, otherwise, you might resort to a career change sooner than you or the company would like.

Ask your interviewer about career advancement within the organization during the part of the interview when you can ask your own questions. You can also ask people who work there about career advancement.

Related: How to Prepare for an Interview

How to support your career advancement goals

The following are some of the best ways you can support your career advancement goals:

  1. Get a sponsor

  2. Speak up

  3. Volunteer for other departments

  4. Volunteer for other organizations

  5. Check for internal job listings

  6. Become a pro at networking

  7. Find a mentor

  8. Continue learning

  9. Create a vision

  10. Learn to promote yourself

  11. Look the part

1. Get a sponsor

Having a sponsor means you have someone in a high position who openly advocates for you. This person will support you in risk-taking endeavors, recommend you for projects, help you build relationships with important people in your industry and support your career path in other ways to make it easier for you to advance.

To find the right sponsor for you, you must have a clear idea of your goals. Then, seek out networking events where professionals in your industry will attend. After that, you should clearly share your goals with the leaders you admire professionally.

2. Speak up

Be clear about your goals for career advancement, whether in an interview or in a job you already have. Be assertive when you speak up, but also be respectful and professional. You can ask your employer to give you more work, more responsibility or better challenges. For example, you could say, "I appreciate the workload you have given me. Since I have exceeded the requirements for the role, I would like to be considered for a more senior position."

3. Volunteer for other departments

You can also choose to volunteer to help other teams or departments in the organization. This is a good way to raise your profile in the company and prove your dedication to the organization. In volunteering for other departments, you are also learning how other parts of the company work. Additionally, working in a variety of departments can familiarize you with other aspects of the company, which can help you make an informed choice about where you want to advance and what kind of work you want to do.

4. Volunteer for other organizations

Volunteering for organizations in your industry is a good opportunity to raise your profile and establish a reputation in your field. For instance, if you're working as an environmental engineer, serving on an advisory board for an environmental nonprofit can provide you additional experience to help your career prospects.

5. Check for internal job listings

Set daily or weekly reminders on your calendar to check for internal job listings that offer a higher-level position than your current one. Be sure you are properly qualified for the role. You may also choose to speak to a trusted superior who can offer you some advice. After that, speak to someone from human resources to get key information about the job. Your human resources representative can also offer you advice to create the right career advancement path for you.

6. Become a pro at networking

Having great people skills will give you better opportunities to advance in your career. You want your employer, your colleagues and people you respect professionally to respect you and your work ethic. To become better at networking, you must:

  • Become an active listener

  • Always prepare good questions

  • Learn to relax and appear calm around people

  • Pay attention to the smallest things

  • Sharpen your memory to remember names and other important facts

  • Have a professional business card

  • Keep in touch

7. Find a mentor

A mentor with years of experience in your field can help guide you in your career advancement. A sponsor will speak for you, but a mentor will give you good advice about the options you have and how to best approach your goals. Find a mentor you can connect with, someone who will make time for you and has a proven track record in the field. For example, you can ask someone you admire professionally or a professor who taught you in college. You can also choose to hire a mentor.

Related: The Definitive Guide to Mentorship

8. Continue learning

Whether you choose on-the-job training or you take an independent online course, it is essential to continue to sharpen your skills. Show your employer how invested you are in learning new skills and attaining the right knowledge for your role by attending workshops, seminars or evening classes to further your qualifications.

9. Create a vision

Besides the actionable steps to further your career, you must also be mentally focused on where you want your career to take you. You can do this by creating a vision board or a plan with steps to get to your goal.

Having a clear vision of how you want your career to turn out is important for days when your job gets challenging. You can also write down what you have achieved so far so that during challenging times, you can remember how far you have come.

10. Learn to promote yourself

There is a great deal of competition out there, so you must learn how to sell yourself effectively and get the attention you deserve. There are three main things you can do to become skilled at promoting your strengths and qualifications:

  • Tell others exactly who you are. This means that when you are promoting yourself, you talk about your abilities and the qualities that make you great and avoid thinking about your setbacks that don't have to do with your goals.

  • Reach out to people. You need to be around people to promote yourself. This means you should be attending seminars and meeting your peers. Go on interviews, speak to management when the opportunity arises and take every other networking opportunity that comes your way.

  • Stand out. When promoting yourself, your job is to tell your peers what makes you stand out from the competition. To do this, you can talk about the exciting projects you have worked on, share great ideas or talk about upcoming challenging work.

11. Look the part

Whether you are in a start-up company or in a long-established corporation, remember to dress for the job you want. That means adhering to the style code of the company but also looking polished and professional during work and networking events where you will be interacting with your peers.

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