Working Your Way Up the Ladder

Starting your career will have its ups and downs.  You are still learning the business world, learning how to juggle home life and work, and a myriad of other things.  On top of all that you want to be able to work your way up as you go.  This can be easier said than done.

Show Me the Money

You may want to scream that to your boss the way Cuba Gooding Jr. does to Tom Cruise in Jerry McGuire, but it doesn’t work like that in the real world…well maybe if you are in the NFL.  Business owners are concerned about their investments, and their employees are a major investment.  Showing them you are worth extra money is something that will take time and effort on your part.

When you feel it may be time for an advancement, prepare yourself before going into a meeting with your supervisor.  Write down why you feel you should get a raise or a promotion — have you made more money for the company?  Can you prove it was your efforts in doing so?  Have you taken on responsibilities that go beyond the call of duty?

Sometimes you just need to point out the obvious, because it may not be so obvious to your supervisor who has a million tasks on their plate as well.  Being prepared will show your supervisor your accomplishments, and prove you are a dedicated part of the team worthy of that promotion.

Be Active

Actively participating in meetings, company outings and in the office can really pay off.  If you work in a larger company you need to make yourself known.  When it comes times for a promotion, would your supervisor know who you are?  Speaking up and starting conversations in the office break room can be beneficial.  Having great ideas in meetings will also keep your name at the top of your boss’s mind.

Before company or department meetings, make sure you go over the agenda thoroughly and come up with viable ideas.  You don’t want to be overly aggressive and be the only one talking, but actively participating in the conversation is a great start.

“The secret is to create unexpected money for your company before you ask for a piece of it back,” said Larry Myler, CEO of More or Less Inc. to MSNBC.  “Remember it’s always a good idea to sing your own praises. Contrary to popular belief, your boss doesn’t know what you’re doing every minute of the day.”

Make Your Own Position

If you think there is something more you can bring to the table, then tell your boss about it.  Being able to think outside the box and being creative enough to evolve your current position into a new one could be beneficial.  It shows you have initiative, that you are thinking about what is best for the company and that you are dedicated.  If the budget allows, your hard work should pay off.  Remember you need to prove you are worth the investment.

Network, Network, Network

You could be stuck in a situation where your company doesn’t have room for advancement or a budget for it.  If this is the case, networking can do wonders.  You always need to be making a name for yourself, as well as for the company you are working for.  There isn’t anything wrong with promoting your skills to other people in your industry.

If you set yourself as an expert in your field, employers will take notice.  If you are just starting out in your career, you may have to sacrifice pay if the job you are doing is teaching you great skills for the future.  If you can hone your skills at one job, and they don’t have the room, money or insight to pay you what you are worth, then looking elsewhere could be a viable option.  And you can start your search with those great contacts you made at a networking event.

Before you decide to look for another job, make sure there are jobs to be had.  With, “the unemployment rate at a high 9.5 percent, there still aren’t that many jobs out there. As of May there were about 4.7 jobseekers for every job opening,” according to the Economic Policy Institute.  The economy may be looking better, but many businesses are still shy to hire.

As long as you think ahead, and are always finding ways to improve yourself at work you should be keeping the door open for advancement.  You need to show you are committed to the company, and are able to produce results.  But at the same time, you need to not come off looking like a show off.  Treat everyday like it will be a day you could get a promotion and you will be on the right track.

Shannon Suetos is an expert writer on video surveillance based in San Diego, California.  She writes extensively for an online resource that provides expert advice on purchasing and outsourcing decisions for small business owners and entrepreneurs such as surveillance systems at Resource Nation.