6 professional growth strategies to help you get ahead at work
You want to move ahead in your career in 2018. To achieve that, you’ll need to take some purposeful steps to propel your career forward. Promotions generally go to people who seek them out and work for them, so if you just perform your role without reaching for the next rung of the ladder, you could find yourself doing the same job at the end of the year. Don’t let that happen! Instead, use these strategies to advance your career:
1. Further your education
Getting a degree or earning a certification can put you in the running for positions you were previously underqualified for. It also teaches you skills you can put to good use at work. If you learn more and are able to apply your new knowledge, your performance will stand out. Good options include earning a certification through AHLEI or enrolling in hospitality or business classes at a local college.
The more people in the industry you know, the more resources you can turn to for help with your career. Contacts may give you a heads up when there’s an open position that’s right for you or offer you suggestions on how to advance. To grow your network, attend industry events, and try to connect one-on-one through informational interviews and casual meetings. Be on the lookout for more experienced professionals who can serve as mentors.
3. Learn from a mentor
Once you’ve found a mentor, learn as much as you can from that person. Set a goal of speaking with your mentor once a month to review your career progress. Ask your mentor for suggestions of ways you can improve professionally, and follow up to review things you’ve worked on.
4. Participate in an apprenticeship program
If you’re aiming to rise to the rank of manager, an apprenticeship such as the AHLA’s Lodging Manger apprenticeship program can give you experience, teach you the skills you need for your new role, and provide valuable feedback on your performance. Some benefits of apprenticeships is that they’re designed to prepare you for a specific position and that they reflect the needs of employers. Thus, an apprenticeship program directly translates into career advancement.
5. Talk to your manager about advancing your career
A direct approach is often best when you’re trying to move up. Rather than hoping your manager will notice your ambition, sit down for a conversation with him or her and explain that you’re looking to grow at work. Discuss whether there are extra responsibilities you could take on or other options for expanding your role. Once you’ve made it clear that you’re ready for a challenge, you manager may consider you for promotions and other opportunities to advance. And if your manager says that there aren’t likely to be any chances to progress at your job, that’s useful information that tells you to look elsewhere for your next career move.
6. Apply for a new job
If your employer can’t offer you a path to promotion or if you feel you’ve learned all you can from your current workplace, the best way to advance your career may be to look for a new position. Focus on applying for jobs that would be a challenge for you. For example, if you’re currently an assistant office manager, apply to be a front desk manager. Or, look for workplaces that are more fast-paced than your current company or that offer more advanced positions, so you’ll have room to grow.