Keep your career moving forward: Some tips

KD Suarez
Keep your career moving forward: Some tips
When it comes to your career, there's more than one way up

MANILA, Philippines – When the phrase “career progression” is mentioned, what comes to your mind? 

Probably a long journey that starts with being at the bottom of the company, moving through the ranks, and ends with you becoming an executive with a corner office and a fat paycheck.

According to Abi Lomboy, an HR manager for Jobstreet Philippines, this traditional career path doesn’t always happen anymore, especially in today’s companies where structures are more flat and overlapping. 

“The typical kind of promotion is dependent on the organization’s needs,” she says. “You can’t have too many managers or heads, so there will be a lot of times where higher positions are not available.”

If you’re reading this, you’re probably at a crossroads, wondering how to improve your current status and move your career along. The good news is that there are actually several ways you can do that. It’s about looking for chances to learn, grow, and be better.

“Career growth can be vertical, lateral, and even within your current position. See the opportunities beyond money,” Lomboy advises.  

Looking to improve yourself? Follow these tips on how to be better poised for career growth:

1. Never stop learning

There are many learning opportunities for working people: post-graduate degrees, short courses for related job skills, speaker summits and events, and workshops.

Enrolling in further studies is not about gaining prestige or additional lines in your resume header. It allows you to get better at certain aspects of your job, and also keeps you up-to-date on the latest trends in your industry. Then, you gain more leverage to seek the position or benefits you want. 

“Read, study, follow industry leaders on social media outlets, and attend industry conferences. This helps you grow beyond your job to know the industry and others in it,” says American career coach Ford Myers. 

2. Find lateral opportunities

MOVE LATERALLY. Look for opportunities in other departments to develop your skills

Another way to progress your career is to look for and find growth within your current role or company. This is what’s known as lateral progression.

“You can explore other departments for opportunities for skill development,” Lomboy reveals. “[It’s a chance] to learn more of the business, and perhaps in another department there are more opportunities for vertical growth.”

In the office, take on small tasks that no one else wants to do, look for projects or opportunities outside of your department, learn skills from other departments, and network when possible. 

Take note that this should not harm your current tasks and deliverables. “The most basic factor [in progressing your career] would be that you’re good in your current role,” Lomboy shares. “At the very least, you should meet the expectations set and address any gaps you might have in your performance. You should also have the initiative to do more than what is asked of you.” 

If the option is available, you can then ask for a lateral job transfer at work, and be assigned a different role with similar responsibilities, pay, and ranking. This affords you a fresh start and a new space for career growth.  

A lateral move can equip you with new skills that can spur your career’s long-term development.

3. Update your professional online profile

STAY UPDATED. Your online resume acts as your digital calling card

In any journey, it’s important to map out your progress. One of the best ways to do this with your career is to keep your online resume updated

Job portals aren’t just for those looking for new jobs. Your online resume acts as your digital calling card. Through it, you can be more aware of opportunities for career growth that are out there, even when you’re happily employed: it keeps your name visible to potential contacts and future employers, helps you keep tabs on your industry’s demands, and is also a way for you to gauge your market value. Keeping an updated resume is a good security measure in case you lose your job and need to find employment quickly. 

Keeping your online resume updated is also a useful learning exercise. It helps you to see which industries are growing, industry skills and trends that are currently in demand, and it will help keep your options open if you decide to switch jobs. 

4. Always work to (eventually) move up

KEEP WORKING YOUR WAY UP. Eventually, the right people will take notice

As you progress in your career by striving to learn, looking for lateral opportunities, and putting your name out there, your superiors (or the right people at another company) will eventually take notice. In time, your career’s growth will head upwards when the time and opportunity are right.  

To make sure that your progress is steady, here are a few tips to keep your career on that upward path:

  • Always give your best in any task, no matter how big or small. This shows that you take your job, your responsibilities, and your company seriously. 
  • Always carry yourself in a neat and professional manner, including: how you dress and groom yourself, how you act towards others, and how you adhere to company policies and processes.  
  • Network within your company and industry. Not only does this put your name out there, but it’s also a good way to learn about other industry practices and skills. 
  • Be a team player and demonstrate leadership skills where possible. This shows to your superiors and colleagues that you’re ready and able to step up when the opportunity arises. 

Your career’s journey should be personal and driven by a constant desire to improve. Focus on how you can be better, and it won’t be long before your superiors (or future employers) take notice. – 

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