ladder of success

Getting ahead means showing initiative, and that involves creating your own opportunities. You can’t wait around for other people to take you by the hand and lead you. While this may seem obvious, career counselor and author Robin Ryan frequently encounters people who ask questions like, “How can I get promoted?” In a post titled “Want a Promotion? 5 Tips to Move Your Career Ahead,” Ryan offers up tremendous advice for ambitious workers everywhere. Read on to see how she suggests making major workplace moves.

1. Start With the Big Picture — If you want to excel in your field, you’ve got to learn everything can about it. Get up to speed on trends and developments, possibly by meeting with a professional organization, and then look at where your company is headed. If there are big projects coming down the pike, you “need to understand these pieces to make a more informed choice on where to point your career,” Ryan writes.

2. Plan Your Next Two Moves — Smart people think one step ahead. Really smart people think two steps ahead. Identify the job titles and descriptions for the next two positions you’d like to hold, and take a good look at whether you have the skills needed to make these jumps. If not, explore training opportunities through your company.

3. Decide Whether It’s a Good Fit — You may have a plan in your head, but before you start chasing that next title, ask yourself whether the position truly utilizes your skills. Beyond that, does the job interest you? Will it make you happy? “Begin with jobs that require extensive use of your talents and will expand them,” Ryan writes. “Pay extra attention to new products, services or areas being developed and the jobs supporting or leading them.”

4. Put Yourself Out There — Getting a promotion hinges on getting noticed, and one great way to do that is to volunteer for projects that push your skills. Show those higher-ups you’re equipped to take on new challenges, and they just might give you the chance.

5. Propose a Fix — As Ryan writes, bosses “love it when you take charge and streamline or improve a process or system.” Find something in the office you can volunteer to work on and display those excellent problem-solving skills of yours.