If you want to get promoted, you need your employer to recognise your contribution. Taking on new tasks and learning new skills can help with this. Sometimes you may need to change employers to develop your career.
You will stand a better chance of overcoming barriers to promotion by:
deciding what you’re aiming for
taking responsibility for developing your skills
looking for opportunities to expand your role by doing something that your employer wants or needs
talking with your colleagues about what they're working on and asking questions about things you're interested in
mapping out your strengths and the weaknesses you can work on
finding a company or sector with more opportunities to develop
Decide what you're aiming for
Look at roles in your organisation and on job websites to find the type of job you want to have. Look at the required skills and experience. Think about what skills you already have and which ones you need to develop.
People might wrongly assume that you're happy with your current job. Challenge this in a positive way by showing that you're keen to explore new ideas. Think about the experience you've gained and what you can do. Ask yourself:
what do you like about your current job?
what are your strengths?
what are you doing well?
what skills do you want to develop?
Take on new duties
Talk to a manager you trust about what kind of new duties and projects you might be able to take on. These should help the business and help you to develop the skills you need. Agree to take on work that you feel comfortable doing. Be realistic about how much extra work you can do.
Ask for training
Ask about learning and development in your organisation. If your employer cannot pay for you to learn new skills, can they give you time for independent study? You could also ask about working in another team or shadowing someone doing a different job. This will help you to understand what a different role is like.
Move into a new role
It might be easier to take on new duties in a smaller organisation, but it might be easier to move between roles in a larger organisation. For example, moving on from being a receptionist by becoming a secretary or executive assistant.
Talk to your colleagues about your work
Getting to know people at work is a good way of finding and creating opportunities. You should:
You can also get training on courses and conferences. Some are free and are also a good way of building your professional network.
Find a mentor
A mentor can help you to think about things differently and to plan. Big organisations might have their own 'buddy' system. Ask your HR department.
Make a list of people you respect who work in your field. If they are doing or have done your dream job, all the better. Once you have this list, try approaching them. Many will be happy to help and may be flattered to be asked for their advice. Start by looking on LinkedIn or Twitter. Personal recommendations are also good.
Begin by asking if you can have a short meeting to get some advice. If they’re willing to continue, you can discuss an ongoing arrangement.
Listen to your mentor, but you do not have to do everything that they say. It's fine to leave your mentor if you've learned all that you can from them or it's not working.
Ask to shadow your mentor if you want to. Use it as an opportunity to get to know new people.