There’s never been a better time than now to make big changes within yourself and resolve to move up a rung or two on your ascent to the top of the career ladder. Here’s some advice on how to do it, without losing your footing.
Develop a relationship with a mentor
A career mentor is someone who has been in your position but has made the move to management. While many companies offer official mentoring programs, most do not. But don’t worry. You can establish an informal mentoring relationship with higher-ups in your organization by letting them know you admire their skills and work ethic and asking them for ways you can improve.
Highlight and quantify your personal results
Not every promotion is given based on performance. However, you’ll be able to make a better case for yourself if you can provide unequivocal evidence of your effectiveness. Whether you’re looking to grow within your company or make a move to a new organization, your resume should always be up-to-date with a concise record of your actions that directly resulted in a positive outcome for your department or company as a whole. If you’re looking for a quick, easy way to stay on top of this task, consider online resume templates that allow you to customize and edit, as needed.
While nobody likes a braggart, you can still highlight significant accomplishments as they happen without coming across as overbearing. For instance, if you are in a position that doesn’t allow for regular face-to-face interaction with your superiors, get in the habit of sending out a monthly email updating your boss – and his or her boss – of your status.
Improve your knowledge and skills
You’ve already landed a job in your chosen profession, but it remains important to stay abreast of current trends within the industry. If going back to school for a higher degree is out of the question, consider online courses or day-long seminars that offer certification in relevant skills. If you are unsure of what areas you’d like to focus on, play it safe. For instance, Skillpath offers training courses throughout the country on everything from business writing to office administration, each of which are transferable across a number of careers.
Ask for additional responsibilities
Make yourself stand out by actively seeking opportunities to go above and beyond. Don’t limit yourself to your direct coworkers. Spread out across departments and become visible to more decision-makers. It doesn’t have to be specifically tied to work, either. If you notice a team leader being tied down to his or her desk, offer to grab lunch while you’re out. Small acts show you are a team player and are willing to do what it takes for the greater good of the company.
Demonstrate professionalism at all times
It isn’t difficult to maintain an air of professionalism, according to Inc. It is, however, ridiculously easy for people to lose respect for you based on uncharacteristic actions. If you want to snag a well-deserved promotion, you must be professional at all times. One of the most important things you can do in the workplace is to keep things appropriate; avoid racist, sexist, or insensitive actions and words. Remain consistent and enthusiastic and always follow through with your promises.
Take a leap
If you’ve burnt yourself out or gone as far as you can at your current company, it may be time to move on. It might seem like a scary move, but if you know in your gut that it’s time for a change, start looking for a new position, or think about starting your business. Vicki Salemi, a Monster career expert and site contributor, says finding a new job takes about eight weeks if you’re willing to remain persistent and dedicated. Starting a business will likely take a little longer, but there are tons of tools available to women who want to venture out on their own, including small business loans and women-only grants for funding, free online tools for branding and marketing, and a nationwide network of other female entrepreneurs to support you.
Finally, trust yourself.
It’s true that women face unique challenges as they attempt to climb the corporate ladder and break through the glass ceiling, but don’t let that stop you. Women make great leaders because of their gender, not in spite of it, and there is plenty of room for more females at the top.
About the Author: Gloria Martinez loves sharing her business expertise and hopes to inspire other women to start their own businesses.