It is possible for two individuals with the same qualifications and level of experience to start working in the same company or industry at about the same time on the same salary scale but five, ten years down the line they are already far apart in their career paths. I have seen this happen again and again.

Many factors account for this. By taking advantage of the knowledge I share in this post you can secure a competitive edge to ensure you advance as fast as you possibly can in your career.

1. They understand that career advancement is not automatic

The mistake a lot of people often make is to think they will be promoted simply by reporting to work regularly and doing their 9-5 job. No, it doesn’t work that way. People who have that mindset are usually the ones that become stuck in the same job at the same level far longer than necessary.

Recognise that career progression will not happen automatically. Even if you if you work in an establishment where you are guaranteed an annual pay increment there is only so far that arrangement will take you.

2. They are already demonstrating their capacity for the next level in their current role

They recognise that the quickest and most guaranteed way to get promoted is to show they have the capacity to handle the responsibilities associated with the higher position they aspire to.

If you want to get promoted, you should already be performing the tasks associated with the higher role. It is about stepping up before you are called up. For instance, let’s say you are currently a Manager and the next level is Senior Manager, you should already be handling some tasks that a Senior Manager does. It doesn’t mean you should be taking on more responsibilities than you are paid for unnecessarily, but it means you are demonstrating through your performance that you can be entrusted to handle the responsibilities if promoted to the role.

3. They understand the requirements for the next level

Employees who get ahead of their peers usually have a clear understanding of the pathway to the top. They know what the topmost and highest paying roles in their field are both within their own organisation and in the wider industry. Beyond that they are also clear about the general responsibilities associated with those higher roles.

For the next higher role in your career path, get a clear understanding of what the post holders typically do day or are expected to do day to day. Find out what qualifications, skills and competences are you develop to fulfil the roles. It is all about acquiring information for positioning. Have a mentor. Understudy senior colleagues within and outside your organisation to understand what they do and how they do it. Check out job vacancies advertising the next level role to acquaint yourself with the job description and person specification even if you don’t plan to apply for the role just yet.

4. They are clear about their career goals

It is those who see ahead that get ahead. Employees who advance in their career are usually clear about what they want. They are better prepared for the future before it arrives. As a result they are ambitious, intentional and strategic in their career pursuit and choices.

To move and stay ahead in your career you should constantly clarify your goals. Be clear about what you want and what you don’t want, where you want to be and where you don’t want to be. The clearer you are about your career progression path, the more you will be able to prepare yourself for the higher roles. The more prepared you are, the more employers will be willing to promote you to higher roles. It is all about acquiring information for positioning.

5. They respond to changes in their industry

They understand how their industry is changing. As a result they are able to respond to those changes quickly. They know what skills and qualifications are becoming outdated and the new ones that employers are demanding. They are familiar with trends in their industry.

To ensure you are not being left behind, be current in your industry. Attend training programmes, seminars and networking events. Read widely, subscribe to industry publications, follow industry thoughts leaders.

6. They are visible in the workplace

Employees who are visible in the workplace will usually be promoted at the expense of those who are not.

To advance in your career, it is not always enough to be hardworking or producing good work; you also need to get recognition for the good work you are doing. Making yourself visible is not arrogance or self-promotion. It is about making your voice heard and making your face seen when and where it matters based on the quality of the work you produce.

Actively participate in projects and company’s initiatives. Volunteer for opportunities. Prepare well for and contribute to business meetings. When you have a chance to make a presentation, prepare well for it. Improve on your communication skills. Write professional emails. Write proper documentations and let your reports be accurate and useful. As much as it’s permitted, stamp your name on your work outputs. It involves building a strong professional network with others at work including with senior colleagues.

My name is Ayo Adebamowo. Author, Speaker and Techpreneur. I’m here to walk your success journey with you. Subscribe to my newsletter for regular nuggets or check out other empowering articles on my blog to help in that journey. My latest book is Accelerate, a primer on personal and professional development.

Written by : Ayo Adebamowo

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