If you’re reading this, then you might be like me and enjoy climbing the ladder quickly.
But the thing is—there usually isn’t just one ladder in career advancement anymore, and the ladders don’t always go straight up.
Sometimes we have to leave one company and jump to another to take our next step. Other times, we have to move down a position and work our way back up. Each company has a different way of offering career advancements, and it’s crucial that you understand how career advancement works within yours.
In large corporations, you may have to hold one position before you can hold another. There may be caps on the level of manager or your earning potential based on the path you take.
In small businesses, it might be all about the relationships, and the management team tries to keep things lean.
Many startups are poorly managed, and this can result in hiring too many people for the revenue brought in. Which means the owner isn’t taking home much, if anything at all. There usually isn’t a budget for promotions because they are just trying to cover the current payroll.
The best thing you can do is to plan for the advancement that you want. Sometimes this is easier said than done. In high school and college, they give you advisors and course catalogs to help you map your path. But when it comes to your career, there usually isn’t a guide, and the rules are ever-changing.
If everything is changing and there is no guide, what can you do?
STEP 1: GET AN ADVISOR
For starters, you can connect with “an advisor.” It’s no secret that one of the biggest secrets of top earners is having many mentors. Your mentor(s) can be your direct boss, owner of the company, C-level manager, regional manager, or even someone that doesn’t work in your office but has “been there, done that. ”
STEP 2: PLAN FOR THE FUTURE
No manager wants someone coming into their office every day asking for more money or a promotion. So the next thing you can do is make a plan and share it with your advisor. You need to make your future plans known.
Often, managers are so caught up in the day to day that your extra efforts are overlooked. Even though you’re doing everything to show you are promotion material, no one notices. Making the plan will show your manager that you not only have interest in a promotion, but that you also add value to the company. Most employees aren’t willing to take the time to document their plan and are consequently overlooked even when they talk to their manager.
Your plan should include a timeline that shows your employer you plan on sticking around and will set you up for your promotion in the future.
STEP 3: BE A GOOD EMPLOYEE
Even with the best promotion plan, you are likely to be overlooked for the promotion if you lack work ethic or have a poor attitude. Ask yourself daily what you can do that will add value to the bottom line, your boss, your co-workers, and your clients.
After all, the best leaders are those who were great employees first.
PRO TIP: IF IT ISN’T WORKING, DON’T FEAR CHANGE
If you are working hard and can’t seem to get ahead, then it might be time for a career change.
When I was in college, I remember listening to a guest speaker who talked about the different companies that she had worked for over a short period.
I honestly thought that if you had a good job, you would work at the same place forever. Intrigued, I asked her at the end of the session why she had switched companies so many times.
Her answer? Because of the opportunity for career advancement.
In summary, if you want to advance rapidly, seek out mentors, make a plan, and be the employee you would want to manage. If you still can’t earn a raise or promotion, maybe it’s time to look somewhere else.
Just remember the grass isn’t always greener on the other side—it’s greener where you water it.
Looking for more career advice? Browse other tips on the My Promotion Plan blog.