Are you where you wanted to be in your career at this point? Do you have a plan to get where you want to be? People who climb the ladder and continually grow professionally tend to be the people who leverage their career. It requires a commitment to educate yourself about new ideas and trends, an openness to explore new opportunities, and the willingness to change your employer or job. The benefits can be better pay, professional growth opportunities and greater job satisfaction.

Do Your Homework

If you are not already current with the literature base in your industry, then start doing some homework. Read about industry trends and developments and technologies/processes. Whether or not you are looking to move up it is important to be able to talk intelligently about your business/industry. Rebecca Rapple writes in her article What Got You Here Won’t Get You That Promotion, “Occasionally, you may already have all of the skills or knowledge to excel in a new role already, but nine times out of 10, you’ll have to do your homework. Go on informational interviews, take an online course and borrow books from the library. Get your learning on!” You cannot differentiate from other job seekers if you are not informed about the current trends and events.

Selling Your Expertise? You Need to Know Your Competition.

Learn about your competition and think about how you stack up.  Are you on the cutting edge or are you doing things the way they have always been done? Ask why! You can set yourself apart by having knowledge of industry trends, where they are heading, and how to steer in the right direction. The Marketing Donut puts it this way in Ten ways to keep ahead of the competition, “Know the competition. Find out who your competitors are, what they are offering and what their unique selling point (USP) is. This will identify the areas you need to compete in, as well as giving you a platform for differentiating yourself.” You don’t have to be in marketing or customer focused work for this advice to be applicable, every job has a customer.

Know What You Want

Do you want to manage people or projects? Do you want an employer with better benefits? Do you want to do work in a different industry? Figure out what move you want to make and why and let those answers inform the path forward. Perhaps you are in an industry that has a clear path up the ladder, or maybe you have a well-rounded resume full of transitional skills that can bridge a gap between industries. To be truly satisfied in your work you have to know what you want before you reach for it. Once you know where you want to go make a plan to get there, figure out the first step in obtaining your ideal job. Laura Garnett advises you to find your talent and then find your purpose in her article 5 Steps That Will Uncover Your Dream Job, for Inc., “The key to this exercise is understanding yourself and being able to connect your talent and purpose to your career objectives. If you can’t find a way to link them, then it may be time to consider switching gears. But I’ve seen firsthand how easy it can be, with a little critical thinking, to link these factors — and boost your motivation and fulfillment in the process.”

It may be a long process to get where you want to go, but this year could the beginning of getting the career you have always wanted.


– Susan Mitchell