The possibility of career advancement is an important aspect of employment. For some, the ability to advance can be one of the most important aspects of a career, whether that be for a particular job position, an increase in salary or something else. 

If you are interested in advancing in your career, there are several steps that you can take towards personal advancement. Depending on your situation, those steps may also include changing careers, such as if you would like to switch careers to one that you would personally find more fulfilling. In cases such as these, it’s important to develop transferable skills that may aid you in landing a job in your ideal career choice as well as assist you in succeeding once you have obtained the job you desire. 

Advancing in Your Career

Career advancement refers to personal advancement in position within a chosen career. For example, you may start at an entry-level position and be promoted to a management position. Career advancement offers several potential benefits, including: 

  • An increase in salary. 
  • Potential bonuses. 
  • A greater number of vacation days. 
  • A preferred work schedule. 
  • Additional work-related perks. 

While career advancement offers a lot of benefits, it is also worth knowing that a career can, at times, be demanding depending on the industry you work within, especially when trying to advance. Generally, effort put towards advancement could take years to pay off. 

Once promoted, you may also find that the position you were given is not exactly what you might have expected. With a new, higher position, you may find yourself having to juggle far more tasks, manage other team members and learn new skills. Therefore, it is important to be open-minded, patient, flexible and dedicated if you wish to succeed in new advancement opportunities. 

If you have entered a new career, gained a higher position or you are tasked with a job that you are unfamiliar with, it is important to ask questions as necessary, even if it might feel like it could hurt your career. It is always better to ask questions and even let your boss know when you are feeling overwhelmed, rather than take on new tasks and responsibilities, only to show that you are unable to handle them on a consistent basis. 

How quickly you can advance in a career will likely depend on several factors, including the company that you work for, the industry you are in and your personal skillset. However, you can start working towards advancement right away, even in a newer position. 

Ways to Advance Your Career

While not every career is the same, there are several ways that you can begin working towards career advancement. If you are trying to get noticed for a higher position or you are seeking a raise, consider: 

  • Asking your boss to assign you more challenging tasks. Asking your boss for new and challenging tasks will give you the opportunity to show how you handle new and difficult work assignments. 
  • Assist your coworkers with difficult projects. You can demonstrate your ability to work as part of a team and that you care about the company by assisting your team members with large or difficult projects. 
  • Gain an extra certification related to your career. An additional certification can make your resume and qualifications stand out amongst your peers. 

Changing Your Career Choice

There are several reasons why changing your career choice, or even changing employers within the same industry, could be the right move for your career. Common reasons for a sudden change in career include:

  • Dissatisfaction with a current position, management or employer. 
  • A limit on how far you can advance within your current position. 
  • Lack of work benefits. 
  • Schedule-related issues. 
  • Dissatisfactory pay. 

If you are unhappy in your current position or you want to make a change, it is important to develop a financial plan before committing to a career change, especially if it may take a longer period to obtain the position you are seeking or if a new career comes with a reduction in pay. It is also important to seize opportunities rather than waiting and hesitating to seek out a new career. 

When you are ready to submit your resume to a new employer, it is crucial that you do not shed a negative light on any of your previous employers. 

Where possible, provide your previous employer with at least a two-week notice before leaving a position. By keeping a good relationship with your previous employer and coworkers, you may be able to take advantage of newer opportunities as they arise. If your new career choice does not work out for any reason, having a positive relationship with your previous employer may entice them to give you your old job back, should you want it. 

Transferable Career Skills

You can transition into a new career far easier if you can identify and hone transferable work skills that can be crucial in nearly any industry. 

Communication skills are imperative in most work environments. Not only is it important to be able to effectively speak to your team members and employer, but it is just as vital as being an effective listener. Additional communication skills that can be an incredible asset in the workplace include customer service, the ability to solve workplace conflicts, the ability to negotiate and the ability to act on constructive feedback. 

Specialized skills, such as technical skills, can be valuable when transferring to a new career within the same type of industry. If you will be performing similar work to what you are performing now, these skills will more than likely benefit you in your new career. 

Job Terminations and Layoffs

Losing a job can be detrimental to your financial stability and your overall confidence regardless of the reason for the termination or layoff. Unemployment can be extremely difficult, especially when a layoff or termination was one that you did not see coming. However, if you have recently lost your job, you can also use this time to change your careers, reevaluate the type of job that you find most fulfilling or make crucial life changes that you have always dreamed about making. 

In addition to making the most of your situation, it is important to determine whether or not you qualify for unemployment insurance benefits while searching for a new career. Some qualifications for unemployment benefits can vary by state, but generally include the reason for the loss of employment and the amount of time that you were employed before the termination or layoff. 

When searching for a new career after a layoff or termination, it is important to update your resume and learn more about the best ways to perform job searches, the best way to submit an application to a prospective employer and how to complete an interview in a way that makes you stand out amongst other applicants.