7 Ways to Build Your Career Path Within the Organization
When you work for a big company, the pattern for career progression is pretty simple. You follow a career plan, develop the competencies needed to make it to the next level, and get a promotion. However, not all companies have career growth opportunities. In small companies, there isn’t always a place to move up. Due to the lack of professional development, 39% of millennial workers consider leaving their job.
Quitting isn’t the only solution, though. You can take charge of your career growth and create a career path with the current company using the available resources. In today’s changing economy, many professionals begin to realize the significance of personal development at work and become proactive about their careers. If you wouldn’t like to quit, our creative resume writer will share the hints on how you can grow professionally and gain more responsibility even if the company doesn’t offer training or vertical career growth.
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Tips to build your career path when there’s no career ladder
Today, an increasing number of organizations expect people to take responsibility for their own careers. Opportunities for growth exist in every company, even if they aren’t obvious and the company doesn’t advertise them. Here’s how you can identify those opportunities and grow as a professional:
✓ Build relationships with professionals inside and outside of your company
The fastest way to become aware of the existing opportunities is through networking a lot. Communicate with colleagues across the company to understand the challenges each department is facing and the areas which need improvement. Talk to other professionals in your industry to stay abreast of the recent trends and tendencies and understand which skills will be in demand. Have a conversation with your boss to get the bigger picture of the business’ strategic plans. Communicating with other professionals a lot will help you understand how the company and the industry works. As you build awareness, you will start seeing the opportunities of how your skills can be applied.
✓ Become aware of the possibilities for growth
In today’s turbulent economy, career growth is not always linear. Do online research, talk to professionals in your field or the HR manager to find out which directions for your career growth exist. Attending conferences and industry events can also give you exposure to new opportunities. Of course, this requires you to become proactive about building your career and source responsibilities rather than waiting for something to happen. However, in the organization with no visible career progression it’s the only way to increase your responsibility and grow as a professional.
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✓ Investigate the opportunities for improvement
Pay close attention to the processes in your organization and talk to people from different departments. If you look beyond performing your standard responsibilities, you can find out that the client communication scripts sound like they were written in the past century, internal resource management software isn’t used effectively, and the marketing strategy fails to bring new customers. These are the examples of areas where you can create solutions to business problems.
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✓ Ask for additional responsibilities
As soon as you’ve identified the areas that need improvement, go ahead and talk to your boss. Don’t wait until they give you an extra responsibility – take the initiative and ask for it. Make sure to prepare for this talk in advance so that your ideas sound constructive and reasonable. Most managers are interested to have the efficiency improved or setbacks resolved, so you’re likely to get an approval to work on that project. If another department works on the project that could help improve your skills, go and volunteer on it.
If you haven’t identified what could be improved in a company, consider talking to your supervisor about the ways you could improve your skill set and asking for more tasks that could help build on those skills.
✓ Make self-education a priority
If the company doesn’t offer corporate courses or free training, you’ll have to take care of gaining the necessary skills on your own. Obviously, to grow professionally and move up in ranks you’ll need to improve both hard and soft skills. To understand what exactly to work on, ask for feedback from your peers, supervisor or a mentor. Getting an advanced degree isn’t a must – today, most skills can be acquired through online or offline courses. Check out the courses offered by Coursera or Udemy. Probably, it’s the fastest way to develop the necessary skills.
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✓ Find a mentor
A mentor is a guide who can help you grow much faster than if you had to figure out the path by yourself. They can recommend you which skills to develop, which projects to take on and how to meet the expectations of management. If the company offers a mentoring program, don’t hesitate to participate. If it doesn’t, find an external mentor. Choose someone who has already achieved what you are aiming at. The mentor has experienced the same challenges and issues in the past, so their advice will be unavailable for your career.
✓ Stay positive
If you expected to receive a ready solution in the form of a clear career path you could follow, you might be daunted by the necessity to pave the way by yourself. However, look at this challenge from the positive side. You’ll learn to notice the areas for improvement, develop a proactive approach to resolving problems and your career, and find out what are your biggest professional interests.
What if these methods don’t work?
In most cases, these methods are enough for getting more responsibility. If you significantly grow in skills and responsibility, the company can create a position to give you a promotion. However, there might be setbacks. Let’s say that the boss doesn’t offer you neither a pay raise nor a promotion even after you’ve learned a lot of skills and improved the process efficiency. If you’ve learned and worked hard and gained new competencies, it’s better to continue the career with a new organization.
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