8 Tips for Moving Up the Corporate Ladder

At the beginning, even in the middle, of a professional career, the corporate ladder may look tall and seem unreachable. But, that’s because moving up takes foresight and planning. Keep in mind, hard work and patience merit promotions.

If you are determined to move up in your organisation or change the course of your career path without having to start from scratch, there are some things you need to do. Below, we give you eight tips that may help you muster enough confidence to take a larger-than-usual step and fast track your way up the corporate ladder.

#1: Develop a career map.

To achieve your full potential, you need a clear plan. “A smart person will have a long-term career plan, which focuses on where they want to arrive at the pinnacle of their career, as well as the interim steps they’ll need to take in order to get there,” suggests career coach Ford Myers.

First, understand what it is you really want to do professionally. Ask yourself how you want to develop or change your current professional identity. Figure out your strengths, values, and personality preferences and determine how these qualities will fit into the identity you aspire to become.

Second, learn as much as you can about the industry or career you want to dive into. As you go, adjust your map as needed. Suffice to say, the success of your plan relies on having discipline, self-confidence, and strong communication skills.

#2: Volunteer strategically.

To volunteer strategically means to join a committee that compliments your skills and existing network. For instance, if you’re in events and marketing, join the organisational committee or the marketing committee.

You may find that making time for volunteer projects is difficult in the midst of your responsibilities. However, this could be a powerful way to backfill your business skills and expand your network. “Your end game is to transition to an assignment that builds your business skills, once your credibility is established,” explains author, Joanne Cleaver.

#3: Be a team player who’s driven to win.

How you work with the rest of the team and other departments factors in whether or not you deserve to level up. To be an effective leader, your supervisor should see that you’re not just an iconic maverick but also a team player.

Keep in mind that you will always be part of a team, no matter how high you step up the corporate ladder. Harness the ability to influence others and win friends–this is an increasingly necessary skill as you move up in the organisation.

#4: Hold yourself accountable for your own actions.

In today’s world, there is an increasing acceptance of making excuses, placing blame, and rewarding failures. It is rampant among political leaders. And sadly, it is becoming a core tenet of the corporate world. This shouldn’t be the case.

As someone who is eyeing a position on top of your organisation, understand this: Taking responsibility for whatever you, yourself, incur and expecting the same from your peers and others is one of the mightiest predictors of success.

#5: Be the person who makes things happen.

…And actually get them done.

If you truly want to get anywhere in this world, you need to work hard and work smart. “There is no replacement for hard work and smart work.,” says Myers.

Become that employee who shows up, figures out what is going on, and makes a clear, cut plan to resolve it. If you can initiate, persevere, overcome hurdles, and accomplish what you initially set out to do, odds are you have a bright future ahead. Keep at it.

As corporate veteran Andy Teach notes, “90% of employees are executors, but it is the other 10% who initiate, who do things that they are not asked to do, who move up the ladder the quickest.”

#6: Get a reputation. A good one.

Most likely, you won’t work at one firm for the entirety of your career. Thus, it is imperative to make connections outside of it to get into the corporate realm. And you can do so by being active in your field and using your resources.

Start a professional blog of your own. Be active on social media and connect to peers, professionals, and other influencers in your industry. You can also consider speaking opportunities–ones that will further brand you as an industry leader and expert.

Remember: networking does not and should not stop once you get a job. You have to work to get a solid, industry-wide reputation.

#7: Orchestrate your own promotion.

If you find yourself in a position where no next level is in sight, it may be time to create your own. To make this happen, workplace coach Darcy Eikenberg suggests identifying your company’s pain points that no other existing departments or services can resolve and building a business plan around these issues that would include a new role, service, or team that you might lead.

Take your efforts seriously and communicate your proposal with the key players in your company. If you are genuinely hungry for a career advancement, you’ll make the promotion yourself.

#8: Take risks.

We achieve great things because we take risks.

Do not stay in your comfort zone. Otherwise, you can’t expect to grow in your career. If you’ve been offered a new project but scared that you might mess it up, take on the challenge anyway.

Making mistakes is one of the best learning opportunities there is, so don’t be afraid to make one. By trial and error, you’ll learn. From experience, you’ll grow. From failure, you’ll gain wisdom. From success, you’ll gain confidence. That’s the beauty of taking risks.

Never mind if the odds of success are small–just go it. As Samuel Beckett once said, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”


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