From the time you join the workforce, you should differentiate between a job and a career. The former is work you do without any specific end goal in sight. The latter is work you do in which there is evident professional growth. To state the obvious, you must aim for a career. That is if you want to have a fulfilling stint in the labor force, with accomplishments you can be proud of and a retirement fund that will afford you a comfortable life.

A career can only be called as such if a promotion is always in the offing. Climbing the corporate ladder is part and parcel of a career. Without it, you probably have no more than a job.

There are strategies you can practice to boost your promotability. Here are some of them.

Have your knowledge and skills professionally appraised

Formal training or education is not the be-all and end-all of landing your dream career. There is an alternative route you can take, and that’s via trade recognition and appraisal. Basically, that is where your skills set, knowledge set, and professional competencies acquired through informal learning are measured by experts. The result is either you are recognized to be on par with those who received formal training, or you need additional years of education to catch up.

Should you end up with a favorable assessment, your resume will get its much-needed boost. You can show your supervisors that you are eligible for a promotion even if you lack formal training.

Work like you’ve already been promoted

professional sitting in her work area

You do not get promoted because your bosses see potential in you. You get promoted because your potential is already on display. So show off at work all the things you can do. If you see yourself staying in the current organization you’re in for the long haul, begin focusing on your end goal. Which corner office do you want for yourself, and what’s your ideal time frame for claiming that space?

Outperform your colleagues. Show those in charge that you mean business.

Be an excellent leader

You do not have to be a manager to display your leadership skills. Even if you are not officially in charge of people, you can still prove to your bosses that you have what it takes to lead. ;

For example, if you are a part of a project, you can go out of your way to help teammates in responsibilities where they struggle. Be generous with the knowledge you have, especially those that will be of help to the team and contribute to the project’s success. If your managers are worth their salt, they will notice.

Be a proactive follower

The best leaders are also competent followers. After all, unless you are the company’s CEO, you still need to report to a superior responsible for trickling down policies and expectations set at the top of the corporate hierarchy.

Managers do not like working with employees who suffer from insubordination. That’s a character flaw that will derail your career’s progress.

So know how to listen to instructions from your managers. Do what is expected of you. Go beyond your immediate duties and manifest your earnestness in continually improving your performance based on your supervisors’ guidance.

Talk with your supervisor

This can be tricky. However, certain situations ask for this strategy to be done. For example, if you have been working exceptionally well but you never get any hints from your immediate supervisor regarding any chance for a promotion, perhaps a discussion about your career is in order. And you can initiate that discussion.

However, make sure that you approach the process with readiness. Be prepared with a list of your accomplishments. Gather your quarterly performance appraisals from the last couple of years or so. Your goal is to get your manager to see you as a valuable asset to the organization, worthy of a promotion.

If you are stuck in a dead-end job, it’s time you reassess your professional choices. It is never too late to turn things around and pursue a rewarding career. You can even opt to change professions should that be the best-case scenario for you. So long as you figure out where you want to see yourself in a decade or two, you will be off to a good start.

Just make sure you do not burn bridges even when transitioning from one employer to another, or a retired career to the next. You will never know when those professional connections you have made will come in handy.

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