Business Library

Seven Tips to Advance Your Career

Annette Parisi - Assistant Director for Employer Relations | Siena College

As you contemplate your career, where do you hope to be in five years? Three years? Next year? When you are satisfied with your current position, it can sometimes be easy to get complacent. However, humans are, by nature, geared towards growth. Sometimes that growth is more focused on our personal lives; other times on our professional lives. Below are some quick tips to help grow and advance the professional aspects of your life while you think about your long-term goals:

1. Learn what others do on a day to day basis within your organization
If you work in a large organization with many parts and pieces, it can be useful to understand how they all fit together. This will not only improve your own work, it can also build your professional network and rapport with your coworkers.

2. Take on additional responsibilities
Many of us are stretched very thin, but if you can make time (even an hour or two a month) to develop a skill in an area outside of your normal duties, you can add to your resume and make yourself more marketable.

3. Look around you
Where do you want to be? Find people who have jobs you think you want and ask them for advice. You can also find out how people with the jobs you want got to where they are, then go after similar stepping stones.

4. Understand that sometimes you have to go backwards to go forwards
If you are contemplating a career switch, it is possible that you may initially encounter a pay cut or a lower title. However, if moving to this position poises you for where you would like to be in a few years, the move may very well be worth it in the long run.

5. Share your secret
This may sound obvious to skilled networkers, but if you have decided that it’s time to move on from your current position or organization, be sure you let your trusted network know. This way, you’ll have more people keeping an ear out for opportunities that might be a good fit for you.

6. Communicate
If you’re interested in advancement and it’s possible within your current organization, maintain open communication with your supervisor. Let him or her know of your plans, and work toward goals with which they can help.

7. Keep learning
Do you need additional training for the position you are seeking? If the training is extensive, take the time to map out how to make it fit with your current life, or note the adjustments to be made.

Personally, I find that writing things down helps a lot. Try jotting down the goals you have, then look at them and evaluate them periodically. Be sure that you are doing something, no matter how small, to work towards your goal. Every step you have taken thus far in your life has led you to where you are. So build upon your strengths (even if changing careers, you can focus on those transferable skills!), improve upon your weaknesses, and utilize your network for support.