10 Career Advancement Techniques Anyone Can Master

 

Capturing a big sale, completing an important project, or becoming certified in a new skill are certainly ways to impress, but these simpler career advancement techniques are a great way to garner favor and put yourself in position for big wins down the road.

A long stairway symbolizes upward mobility.
Photo by Max Ostrozhinskiy on Unsplash

When preparation and opportunity meet…

These career-boosting techniques aren’t designed to help you skip rungs on the ladder entirely, but they will help you be prepared and get noticed when the opportunity presents itself.

Get smarter every day. In many workplaces, you’ll have short blocks of time throughout the day. Waiting for the next meeting or taking your lunch break are opportunities to stretch your brain. While your colleagues are standing outside on a smoke break or playing Candy Crush, you can be reading industry news or listening to a TED Talk.

Record your victories. Write down your victories, big or small. Then when it comes time for a promotion or a raise, you’ll have a good record and can choose your most important victories depending on the particular opportunity. Remember victories aren’t always within your job description. You may be good at sales, but if a management position opens up, you’ll need to demonstrate that you are leadership material as well.

Have informal meetings with higher-ups. Leaders in your organization usually achieved that status with good reason. You can learn from their experience. Buying a cup of coffee or lunch can be a great excuse to sit down and ask questions. Don’t use this opportunity to impress, just be an attentive student. If you pick up one tip, you’re better prepared for the future, and the leader will remember your enthusiasm.

A group of businesswomen have an informal meeting over coffee.
A group of businesswomen have an informal meeting over coffee.
Photo by LinkedIn Sales Navigator on Unsplash

Get to know as many people as possible. Both inside and outside your company, make connections, and keep in touch with your network. Become that person who “has a guy”, and be the valuable intermediary. You can be valuable simply for being an introducer.

Speak up in meetings. You don’t have to be comfortable making a grand toast or keynoting at a convention, but take opportunities to voice your thoughts in meetings. Chances are your colleagues who have some of the same thoughts or questions. If you’re the one to raise your hand, you’ll always gain respect. Be cautious not to speak up for the sake of speaking up. Try to add something to the conversation at hand. As you gain more confidence, you will be speaking to the masses in no time.

Improve your writing skills. It’s amazing how many people move up the ladder without strong writing skills or even good grammar. However, at some point, you will reach your limit. Take time daily to learn new vocabulary and improve your grammar. There are also software tools that help catch mistakes. Learn from them.

Few people notice good grammar, but many will notice poor grammar.

Be genuine with compliments. Every person is worthy of a compliment. Identify genuine value and look for things that the person will also appreciate hearing. If someone doesn’t care about the latest fashions saying “nice tie” isn’t valuable, and can be seen as sucking-up. Try to find the things that give a person pride and compliment them. A person that is highly organized is going to appreciate it when you say, “Color-coding these files was a great idea.” An artistic person wants to hear, “this inspired me.”

Challenge yourself. There is an old adage that, in the corporate world, people tend to get promoted up to their level of incompetence. Look for ways to challenge yourself at every level. Frankly, many people looking at career changes are doing so out of boredom rather than growth. The only way to truly grow is by finding ways to stretch your personal limits, both on the job and off.

A woman writes reminders in a datebook in an office setting.
A woman writes reminders in a datebook in an office setting.
Photo by STIL on Unsplash

Self-evaluate. Try to see yourself in an objective way. Personality tests, for example, allow you to learn more about your strengths and weaknesses. Then, try to improve areas of struggle if they are essential for the next step in your career, or look for a path that emphasizes your current strengths.

Stay curious about your company and your industry. A former CEO of United Parcel Service required that every management level hire from outside the company don a uniform and spend a few weeks riding in the big brown trucks. He felt that every company manager needed to understand the job of package delivery at a very personal level. Understanding your industry and your company is critical. The path to the top of your career is seldom a straight line. The more you understand about other parts of your business or your industry, the more opportunities you’ll see for growth.

Career growth isn’t always about the big wins. The most valuable people in every industry achieved greatness through perseverance and daily dedication. Big wins are typically the result of perspiration and preparation.