~by Anica Oaks~
Job promotion is seldom an easy and never an automatic process. Even years of hard work at the same company doesn’t guarantee advancement. Past research has revealed that while external hires made 18% more than internal promotions, they were 61% more likely to be fired.
But there are some paths for maximizing your chances of reaching upper management.
Set your sites on positions that reflect your own professional experience and strengths:
- Front line supervisors used to managing smaller teams may seek to constantly increase responsibility and assume gradually larger roles.
- Functional managers such as warehouse, production or project managers have a role that touches on many aspects of the business. This may prepare them for a wider focus as each new opportunity comes along.
- Special skills managers such as HR, IT or sales may also widen their influence by seeking inclusion on projects or committees.
Think of your career path not in terms of building a better resume which will help advance prospects in both current and future employment. Seek out challenges, awards, milestones, and especially accomplishments that will impress. Even if your process changes saved the company $100,000 or boosted production by 15%, others tend to forget. But if you have documentation, then these accomplishments can definitely be a selling point in negotiations.
A degree demonstrates commitment, intelligence and effective communication as well as learning. If you have the opportunity, never stop pursuing your education in career-related fields. If you are more business-oriented than tech-oriented, you may want to look into a growing demand for those with a master’s degree in organizational development. These programs produce individuals with expertise in leadership, including not just management of people and budgets, but essential team-building, interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence that bring results to all business endeavors.
You want to be able to convey a level of expertise in what you do that builds confidence in others. Join several professional organizations, local as well as national ones. Take job-related courses, write blog posts or articles in trade publications, do research, crunch numbers, submit proposals — anything that makes you look like the resident expert. Become a resource that others tend to rely on, and superiors will recognize your value.
Remember that in today’s highly competitive digital environment, hard work and office politics aren’t enough. It’s important to have clear goals, solid credentials and a proven track record before you’re considered for the big responsibilities.
Anica is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean and anything outdoor related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.