5 Great Tips to Advance Your Career

What does career advancement mean to you? Career advancement can mean different things to different people. For some, it means becoming a top executive while some want to learn new skills and become an expert in their field. Regardless of how you define your career advancement, the following 5 tips can help you make the most out of your career advancement and help you achieve the desired results.

1. Define Your Career Goal

The important first step is to define your ultimate career goal by asking yourself these questions: “which position do you see yourself moving up to?” or “how far do you want to go in your career?” If you can answer these questions, you will be able to plan your next steps and decide on what to do to achieve that goal. The recommended technique to help you set your career goal is called the SMART Goal which refers to Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound. For instance, if you want to become a Manager, you can do so by:

S (specific): I’m going to become a manager.

M (measurable progress): I’m going to learn the necessary skills to become a manager and take on an additional project to demonstrate my readiness to shoulder more responsibility.

A (achievable): I’ve produced significant results for the past 3 years, and I know that my company is looking for a manager in my department at the end of this year.

R (relevant): I want to keep challenging myself and learning new things.

T (time-bound): I will learn the necessary skills within 4 months and take on an additional project within the next 2 weeks. After that, I will submit my application for the manager position.

2. Know Your Strengths

It’s important to be able to identify your strengths or what you are good at in order to  enhance on those skill set. Building on strengths will save you time as you are building on something that you already have a foundation in and are good at. Once you have successfully built on your strengths, you will be able to perform better and feel more confident at your job, which can help pave way for your career advancement. You can start by making a list of your strengths. If you’re unsure of what they are, try asking yourself these questions: “what do people compliment me on?” or “what are my achievements?” For your achievements, it can just be getting work done on time, helping others with their work, getting projects approved, and so on. From there, you will be able to identify your strengths easier such as being able to manage time effectively, being empathetic and supportive to others, being a hard worker, and so on. You can also ask those who work with you or know you well to help you list out your strengths. Oftentimes, other people can see your strengths easier than yourself. Once you have identified your strengths, look for ways to improve on those strengths such as taking on responsibilities where your strengths can be utilized.

3. Level Up Your Knowledge and Skills

The world is moving fast and things are constantly changing. Technology is also being used everywhere, so it’s important for you to be able to upskill and reskill in order to not fall behind. You should continue to build on your strengths while also expanding your knowledge and skills to become a more well-rounded person. In order to advance further in your career, it’s inevitable that you have to face many more problems and get to do things that you’re unfamiliar with, which is why you need to always be prepared. There will also be times when you have to think outside the box and come up with new ideas because you can’t keep doing the same thing and expect a different result as Einstein said. There are many ways for you to expand your knowledge and skills, which you can do so by volunteering for tasks that are outside of your comfort zone, taking online courses, joining certain clubs that can help you improve certain skills such as English, public speaking, and so on.

4. Learn to Promote Yourself & Build Your Network

People skills is the key to your career advancement. Being able to promote yourself with confidence and show all the great qualities that you have will get people to notice and respect you professionally, and think of you when they want to promote someone. Rather than just exchanging contact information, you should try to build relationships with them, which you can do so by:

– Listen attentively

 Always prepare good questions

Pay attention to people’s names and other important facts about them

– Keep in touch

Also, try to surround yourself with people who have more experience than you and  learn from them as much as you can. Take note of what they did to be where they are today in their career and try to apply what you think would be beneficial for your career advancement. This will also motivate you to keep pushing yourself in order to become successful like these people.

5. Find A Good Mentor

To achieve goals or success, making mistakes and overcoming challenges are almost always part of the process. Finding a good mentor can help you minimize these while also accelerating your knowledge in the area that you would like to advance your career in. A mentor is someone who has extensive experience and has already done what you hope to achieve, so they will be able to share their knowledge with you, give you good advice about the best approach to achieve your career goal, guide you, and motivate you. You can find a mentor in your current workplace or meet them while networking. When deciding on a mentor, you should make sure that the person has the results that you want. Therefore, it’s important to get to know the person first before you make a decision and see if your chemistry matches with him or her or not. Don’t be shy about asking the person to be your mentor if you feel that he or she is right for you. After all, it’s about your career advancement and more often than not, the person will feel honored that you ask him or her to be your mentor.

Aside from being good at your job, it’s also important to have a career goal in order to keep yourself motivated. When you’re faced with problems and challenges at work, you can think of the goal that you hope to achieve in your career, which can help motivate you to keep going, and along the way, you will also get to learn different new things, which will make you become a better version of yourself.



About the Writer

Duanmanus Waraphaskul
Mental Health Consultant
M.A. Psychology in Education, Teachers College, Columbia University