Are you ready for the next career step with your current employer or are you eager to take on more responsibilities in your current position?
Unlike teachers, employers don’t necessarily prompt you to ask questions. When you’re in a job, the easiest way to learn and progress quickly is by taking your own initiative, asking questions and being proactive.
Femke Strijckmans, recently promoted to Senior Consultant at Walters People, shares her five top tips to help you climb the ladder.
1. Ask questions
Asking questions is the simplest and most effective way of learning. Yet, many employees are afraid to ask their managers or colleagues too many questions as they fear it will make them look unintelligent or insecure. But you can’t be an expert right away. Femke: "Questions are the best and quickest way to gain a deeper insight. Your curiosity and enthusiasm will show your employer you’re eager and willing to be more effective at work - qualities which are highly regarded."
2. Take initiative
Volunteer on a new project or lend a hand to a team you’ve never collaborated with before. As long as the additional tasks do not make you get behind on your own work, this is an excellent way to highlight your motivation and attitude.
"When your manager is thinking out loud, making comments such as; 'Wouldn’t it be nice if we had...,' or 'We don’t have a how-to guide on…,' take the initiative to complete some of these tasks yourself. This will raise your profile within the company and earn you the reputation of someone who can be relied on in a variety of situations. This will increase the chance that you are considered when new opportunities arise", explains Femke.
3. Document your work
Many of us are guilty of not documenting our accomplishments. However when taking on more than what is expected, it’s essential to keep records of your achievements. Femke: "You will most likely be surprised with what you’ve achieved and how far you’ve progressed. Documenting your work will assist you when putting your case forward on why you should be climbing that ladder."
4. Keep learning
New skills and qualifications can set you apart from colleagues. They will boost your confidence and creativity and demonstrate to your employer that you are eager to learn. If your company offers opportunities for professional development classes, take advantage of as many as you can. If your skills need refreshing or you need to acquire a new skillset, there are many free courses online you could take.
5. Make the most of your appraisals
Appraisals are the perfect opportunity to ask for constructive feedback, discuss your progression and set future goals and targets. "If your employer doesn’t currently offer appraisals, or if it’s been over 12 months since your last one, don’t hesitate to ask your manager for a one-on-one meeting, advises Femke."
Before your meeting, make a list of targets you’ve met, projects you’ve worked on and positive feedback you’ve received for your work. If there are areas you think you still need to work on, it’s okay to mention these too. This will show your employer that you want to strengthen your skills and are open to guidance.
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