Career Savvy spoke with Matthew Marley of established Distance Learning Provider, ICS Learn, to get some top tips on progressing your career.
The ideal career path is a nicely paved, thoroughly sign-posted hillside with a clear route to the top. It’s not murky. It’s not difficult to navigate. And it’s most certainly not flat. If you’re feeling stuck in a rut at work, and you suspect your career might be stalling, take note of our top practical tips for career progression:
1. Earn a qualification
One of the best ways to advance in your career is to earn a professional qualification. For example, if you wanted a career in accountancy you may want to look at AAT Courses as this would provide you with an internationally recognised qualification.
This proves to employers that you have the skills needed for the role and that you understand best practices within the industry. It also shows your commitment to your profession, which is perhaps the most valuable asset of all.
As a distance learning provider, we witness first-hand just how big an impact qualifications have on career progression. Who says they wouldn’t have the role they do now if it wasn’t for their professional qualification. Many are promoted shortly after receiving their award.
2. Gain more experience
Becoming a CEO, or even a line manager doesn’t happen overnight. In addition to qualifications, employers also want you to have experience that backs up your skills. Although job descriptions often overstate the exact amount, most roles do require a certain level of work experience. There’s really no way around it.
If you still don’t have the experience needed to bag your dream job, what you can do is focus on making the most of your current role. Ask your HR department for extra on-the-job training, more responsibility, and even whether they might help towards the cost of a distance learning course. It never hurts to ask!
3. Choose a specialism
The best way to secure your future within a company is to become irreplaceable. Be the one person who everyone goes to for ‘that task’ they find too confusing, difficult or time-consuming. In other words: specialise. Pick a sub-field within your field and become an expert in it.
Specialising puts you in higher demand, which places you in a better position when it comes to negotiating new roles and higher salaries. For example, there are a lot of HR Advisors in the world, but not as many who specialise in employment law. Although you don’t want to pigeonhole yourself into too niche a role, it helps to add specialist skills to your broader base knowledge.
4. Reshape your current role
One of the traits bosses admire most is creativity. It’s often the reason they got to where they are, so they’re especially attuned to spotting it in their employees. If you’re not 100 per cent happy with your current role, change it! Be creative and make the role your own.
Whilst ensuring your primary duties are covered, add extra responsibilities to your workload. Pinpoint a recurring problem in the office and spearhead an innovative, lasting solution. Tackling a project outside your job description is impressive, and it might just call for a promotion.
5. Move to another company
If you’ve put the time in, gained the necessary qualifications and still can’t progress in your company, it’s time to move on. Whether it’s a lack of available roles or simply a flawed development structure, a company that isn’t offering you any career progression doesn’t deserve to keep you.
Search for jobs in your area and start applying. Don’t be afraid to go for roles that seem just slightly beyond you. It’s a natural defense mechanism to discount one’s own abilities, and you might not realise just how valuable you are.