10 Ways to Improve Your Career Prospects and Reach Work-Related Goals

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Written By Diana Smith

For a lot of people, advancing in their careers seems like a mixture of a gamble and rocket science.

To them, the way in which the management is choosing the next person to promote appears either luck-based or impossible to decipher. Neither could be further from the truth.

So, here are several tips and tricks that will get you one step closer to that career promotion that you believe you’ve earned.

1. Take initiative

The first thing you need to keep in mind is that there is no one who cares about your career more than you do, which is why the responsibility to take the initiative needs to be yours and yours alone.

This means that you need to be the one volunteering for extra work, staying several hours longer than you are supposed to, and leading the conversation during meetings.

A lack of skill or experience is something that you can make up for in time. Taking the initiative, on the other hand, is something that the potential employer values above all else.

2. Be realistic

Another thing you need to understand is that even the most realistic and objective person tends to be biased when their own hard work is being estimated.

It is only natural that you value one hour of your own work more than two hours of anyone else’s labor but overestimating your contribution to your current employer can be catastrophic.

First, it can make you look self-entitled. Second, it can make you feel underappreciated, which can be a significant blow to your morale and diminish your workplace efficiency for years to come.

3. Learn how to win friends

Regardless of how much work you invest in the enterprise in question, the truth is that this is always evaluated and estimated by a human supervisor. Learning how to properly network and position yourself within the company can, therefore, be pivotal to your career efforts.

Learning how to make supervisors notice, appreciate, and even genuinely like you, is crucial to your career plans. The same thing goes for your coworkers.

One of the best manuals on this topic is How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.

4. Invest in your career

While it is true that your employer may send you on a course and seminar in order to improve your skills, this is not something that you should count on or rely on.

You see, your skills are your assets, which is why making an investment to expand them is definitely a good idea. This is one of the reasons why it is so important that you have a self-improvement fund at hand.

5. Don’t be afraid to move

10 Ways to Improve Your Career Prospects and Reach Work-Related Goals

Sometimes the career opportunity that you are looking for may not be available locally, which is why you need to make up your mind on whether you are ready and willing to move to a different city or even country.

The latter may not be so simple, seeing as how it would require a certain legal procedure, as well as a period of acclimation to a different culture and environment.

In some cases, it would even require additional education. For instance, in some countries, having an ESL certificate is mandatory for a number of positions, which is why it would be a good idea to start a Monkey Tree ESL course.

6. Fight for what is yours

Letting your employer deliberately skip you every time when your raise or promotion is due is not just bad from the perspective of your career and finances but also harms your image within the company.

Imagine seeing yourself as a future leader or a person in a position of authority and being too timid to ask for what is rightfully yours.

This is why, you need to be firm and determined, yet, respectful once you actually do have to lead this conversation. The thing is that you need to use proper arguments and avoid confrontation, while still creating leverage and coming from the position of power.

7. Make sure that it is a step in the right direction

Not every change in the workplace necessarily leads you in the right direction, which is why you need to set a career course and do all that you can to stay on it.

For instance, sometimes, a lateral move (even with a tad smaller salary) can be preferable to outright promotion.

This is because this position may create room for further advancement in the desired direction or, at least, allow you to acquire a pivotal skill for the position that you hope to ascend to in the future.

Due to the nature of this lateral move, chances are that you’ll have to request the transfer on your own.

8. Learn who to avoid

One of our previous suggestions was that you need to learn how to befriend people. Now, while it is always better to have allies than enemies, not every one of your colleagues is worth befriending.

There are some people who see you as office rivals or competitors and who would jump on the opportunity to frame you or tell on you in order to move you out of the way.

Then, there are some people who drain your energy or make you too distracted from work. Identifying and avoiding these people is usually a great idea.

9. Know when to cut your losses

Previously, we’ve mentioned that there’s always a subjective factor to your own advancement, which is why there are some instances in which, no matter what you do, the promotion in question will always elude you.

Sure, discrimination and nepotism are unfair and, in some instances, even completely illegal, which, sadly, doesn’t mean that they don’t take place more often than they should.

What you need to understand is that once you are 100 percent sure that you’re going nowhere, it might be time for you to cut your losses and leave.

This way, you’ll be able to find a place where you’ll be more appreciated.

As you can see, the key to advancing in any career lies in knowing what you want and figuring out the path to get there.

Even though you need to display some patience, you should also A) learn how to recognize when you’ve been waiting for too long and B) avoid believing that it will just come on its own.

It is not about how long you’ve been working, it is about how long you’ve been doing the right thing.

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