How to Advance Your Career: The Complete Guide
Career advancement. It’s so much more than just about earning more money. It’s about finding fulfilment. It’s about forging a future and a legacy for yourself. Not everyone will be in a job or field that they feel passionate about, but that just means you need to keep pushing forward. Finding that place in the world where you feel valued, trusted, and passionate is not easy, but it is where we find true purpose in our lives. Done right, this place will also pay well and value you and your opinion most of the time.
This is where you need to fight to get to. For some, it might mean working towards the highest position in their company. For others, it might mean working horizontally to get to the field they care about most. Regardless of where your goals lie, these four main methods will help you achieve your dream.
How to Advance Your Career by Building an Audience
Having the rapt attention of an audience is powerful. It doesn’t matter whether this audience is unseen, only noticeable in the number of views and shares your website receives, or whether you speak in front of a physical audience at an event. By working to build up an audience of your own, you enjoy two main benefits:
- You become a leading figure in your field, someone trusted and knowledgeable.
- You have a base audience that you can branch out to, start your own business, become a consultant, etc.
Building such an audience takes time, and there is nothing stopping you from starting this at any time. You could be working for a company, could be taking on an online MBA, or starting your own business. It’s best to start building this professional reputation and audience as soon as possible. This gives you time to naturally grow your online presence and to build the right connections.
Start today, and become a leader in your field before you know it:
- Start a Website or Blog
A great way to start is to keep a website or blog. There are even specialist sites that allow you to do this. ResearchGate, for example, is experimenting with personal websites, allowing those who work in education or, in theory, to publish key work to a large audience.
Tip: You don’t have to just write. If you have the skills, it is actually better to create informative videos or podcasts. Writing is and always will be important, but you can bring in a bigger audience by opting for a multi-media approach.
- Guest Post
You won’t just want to write for yourself. Guest post and submit articles to as many publications as possible. This includes established news outlets. You will be surprised at where you can be published with a well-thought-out piece. Not only that, but you will be paid for these contributions, making you not just a published, but a paid author.
Work with others in your field to create white papers, host talks, and more. There are so many things you can do when you collaborate with others. Not only will you both work to bolster your presence and efforts, but it’s also a great networking opportunity.
Networking is key when it comes to building an audience, and there will be opportunities in every step in this guide. Just remember to keep in touch with those that you meet, especially on a social site like LinkedIn, and to continue developing your relationship as time goes on. Little actions count. Commenting and talking often online will go a lot further than trying to make one great elevator pitch.
- Attend Events
Online events, conferences, workshops, talks – all of these are excellent opportunities to grow your audience. For one, writing about these events and what they discuss makes you a key source of information to those in your field. You’ll be learning yourself as well.
Most importantly, however, is that networking. Attend all the socials, and work to keep in touch with people. Being friends online is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of your network, even if you don’t have enough time to make a lasting impact.
- Sign Up for Opportunities
There will be times where you can sign up to talk at a conference. There will be open calls for submissions from publications. These opportunities are frequent if you know where to look, and always try to take advantage of them when you find them. This is how you will grow your audience and your reputation.
How to Advance Your Career with an Online MBA
A Master of Business Administration is a very powerful tool to have in your arsenal. You won’t be earning this degree right after your BA or BSc, however. Instead, you will only be accepted into top online MBA programs after you have work experience. They are designed specifically to help those in mid-management reach higher levels of leadership. By taking your online MBA at the right time, you can learn and perfect the skills you will need and how true initiative will help push your career forward, no matter what path you are forging for yourself.
1. What to Look for in an Online MBA
The quality of your MBA is critical. You need to properly prepare yourself for upper management positions or to start your own business (depending on your goals). With those two key things in mind, it becomes obvious that taking time off from work to pursue your MBA is not worthwhile.
Made for Working Professionals
Thankfully you can take an online MBA. These online degrees are designed to be taken digitally, and more than that, know their audience. Typically you should be able to find a great online MBA that allows you to take just one course at a time and log-in and work on your degree at your leisure.
You will also want to have a mentor during this degree, as that is the best way to customize your degree specifically to your business and goals. Without this mentor, you won’t have the ability to ask for specific advice and work through real-world problems.
Finally, just make sure that the degree or institution is accredited. An AACSB Business Education Alliance member is one that can provide you with a quality degree and the education that you need to succeed in your goals.
2. Choosing the Right Specialization
You will be able to specialize your online MBA. In most cases, you will have the choice to specialize in one of these four topics:
- Data Analytics
- Healthcare Management
It is important to note, however, that the specialization you choose may not be the most obvious. If you naturally excel in management, then you will likely be fine with the core management courses and not need to specialize further. Where you might find more value is in data analysis if that is where your weakness lies.
Figure out which specialization will really help round you out as a leader. There is nothing wrong with specializing in your strength, but your online MBA is where you learn. If you find yourself familiar with the management or marketing curriculum, then your time may be better spent specializing in another area.
How to Advance Your Career in Office
Advancing your career on your current career path requires a delicate balance and a critical eye. Hard work will not, unfortunately, always translate to career advancement or to raises. You need to be strategic in your efforts, and part of that strategy may very well mean finding new career opportunities.
There are many tips and tricks that can help you see the advancement you want, and these are just the start:
1. Shadow Horizontally if You Aren’t Passionate About Your Work
In the beginning, the best way to advance your career is to actually work horizontally. This should be done from the get-go. You got your foot in the door, yes, but unless you are already ecstatic about the department you work for and are doing your passion, there should be nothing stopping you from branching out. Most large companies allow their employees to shadow and to explore different career paths. Smaller companies, however, make it easier. Small businesses frequently have their employees take on more responsibilities, so you can try out different types of work and, if it fits, transition seamlessly into that new role.
2. Volunteer, Ask, and Make Opportunities
Opportunities will arise, but you have to do more than just say yes when they strike. You need to ask for opportunities, and more than that, you need to be vocal with your suggestions and push to get put on those projects. Making your own opportunities shows vision and dedication. It proves that you can be a leader.
3. Know Your Worth and Demand Fair Compensation
If you feel like you aren’t being paid enough to do your job, then you aren’t being paid enough to do your job. You have two options, but typically you should aim to ask for a promotion or pay rise first. It will help you grow more naturally within your company and give them the chance to show you how much you mean to them.
If this doesn’t work, and you feel like you have stagnated in your role, then the only option to go up is to get out.
4. Know When to Leave to Grow
Not every business will let you grow. Higher up positions may all be filled. They may not have the money to pay you a raise. They may just not want to reward you in these ways. In any of these examples, it is more than reasonable to start to look for better positions outside of the company. When you get hired into a new role, however, remember to negotiate for higher pay. This is the best time to do just that.
How to Start Your Own Business
The final way to advance your career is by starting a business of your own. This doesn’t have to be with employees. You could take your work freelance or work as a consultant very successfully. That being said, it is hard to start a successful business. You need to do your research, plan and prepare. An MBA is one of the best tools you can have under your belt at the moment, as everything you have learned will prepare you to run a successful business of your own. Even with an MBA, however, you will still want to follow these steps:
This stage is one of the most important. You need to understand the industry, your customers, and your competition. It is also a good idea to make sure that you understand and adhere to any and all laws that affect your business, so you start off on the right foot.
2. Create the Framework
There are two ways you will need to build the framework of your business. The first is by creating a solid business model. Ideally, create multiple means to earn money, as well as a concrete plan on how you intend to grow and opportunities you can leverage.
The second way is by building the physical framework of your business. You will need data management software, financing software, and more. Ideally, make sure these tools can integrate, so they can communicate together.
3. Build Up Hype and Launch
Building up hype can be done in several ways. Marketing, social media marketing, and PR strategies are excellent online tools. To get people into a physical store, hold a launch party, and contact all local news media in that area to see if they will cover it. You’d be surprised at how readily these travel sites will publish launch news.
Advancing your career will mean a lot of different things. But by focusing on what you love and finding ways to get paid well, you cannot go wrong with your future. Use the tips in this guide, and be creative with your strategy, and you’ll smash through goals one after another.