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Is Career Advancement a Relative Term?
By Michael D. Falkow, PMP
For some, it means climbing the organizational ladder until there is nowhere else to climb or you reach the highest rung relative to your area of expertise. For others, it means moving up the salary scale even if it means hop-scotching from one organization to another. In either case, there are a number of expertise and sector-independent approaches that can be highly effective career advancement strategies.
First, understanding what drives the value of the organization where you work is essential. Once you know and master this, you become more valuable to the organization. The more your value, the greater your chances for moving up the proverbial ladder of success. If your organization doesn’t recognize it, then certainly your competition’s organization will. Along those lines, never underestimate the power of networking. When people outside your organization know you have value inside your organization, it generates a higher value on you. The key is being noticed…in a positive way of course, and not by your Facebook posts. Instead, writing articles for trade journals, being active in local chapters of various industry reputable organizations like the Project Management Institute if project management is something you are interested in, and giving presentations at local schools and colleges that have classes in topics where you might have a specialty.
Second, enhance your effectiveness as a leader and motivator. Organizations that produce widgets do better when they produce more widgets at a lower cost. Being a strong and effective leader and motivator will likely amplify the organization’s ability to produce. This takes practice and requires the desire to learn effective leadership techniques. Never stop learning…by investing in yourself, you will always reap the reward of future dividends. Your organizational net worth increases when you become more effective at leading others.
Third, and perhaps the most important career advancement strategy, is to know what you truly enjoy. If you are the type of person that loves solving problems, focus your energies on solving your organization’s problems. Volunteer to head up a group that’s focused on taking care of a specific business issue. Not only will you get noticed by the top management, you will learn a great deal along the way, which also amplifies your organizational net worth. Remember, do what you love, and love what you do. These strategies will almost certainly be rewarded as you move up throughout your career.