How to climb the career ladder

Smiling young African American businesswoman working on a laptop at her desk in a bright modern office with colleagues in the background

Article by Melitta Campbell, Communications Consultant and Business Coach

The start of a new year is often a time when people reflect, re-assess and set new goals and to achieve in the year to come.

For some this may involve a career change while others make the decision that this is the year, they are going to get that long awaited promotion or pay rise. 

Climbing the career ladder takes dedication and a real desire to reach the next level and keep going. There is rarely one clear and consistent path to the top but there are some useful strategies to ensure climbing the ladder is successful.

Here are my top tips, taken from 25-years of building my own corporate career and coaching women in success, on how women can successfully climb the career ladder and achieve their goals this year:

1) Speak up

As an introvert, speaking up wasn’t something that came naturally to me. I joined a Toastmaster Club to help me build my confidence when it came to presenting my ideas. I soon found myself not only speaking up more in key meetings, but also being listened to. This built my credibility and reputation and I started to be offered regular promotions.

Knowing how to share my ideas clearly and engage others not only made a big difference in my career, but it has also helped me to build my confidence in other areas of my life and work too.

Climbing the career ladder will always require that you are known, liked and respected by others, so mastering your personal communications is a must for anyone with ambition.

2) Learn how to network

Having a strong set of networking tools and strategies, along with growing confidence, can help people to thrive in any situation. As mentioned, I’m an introvert, so the idea of networking initially terrified me. But, as my career started to take off, I realised that I had to get comfortable networking, especially when my career took me abroad.

I read every book I could find on networking and asked my peers for advice. But none of the advice I read or received addressed the inner fear I experienced. So, I decided to create my own rules of engagement. I broke down and embraced my quiet strengths and created what I called my VICTORY formula. This allowed me to confidently venture into the ‘networksphere’ and create genuine connections while being 100% myself. 

My VICTORY formula, set out rules of engagement, and enabled me to embrace my natural abilities as an introvert, grow in confidence and shine while networking. This formula has been key to me developing a supportive network and supported my business growth and success. I shared full details in my book: A Shy Girl’s Guide to Networking, but here is an outline of my formula, feel free to make it your own too:

V is for vision – understand what you really want to achieve in your business, the bigger and brighter your vision, the easier it will be to talk passionately and get over your fear of networking.

I is for intention – decide what you want most and where your energy should focus, because ‘where attention goes, energy flows.’

C is for courage – undertaking any new venture takes courage but stepping out of your comfort zone and being brave will build your confidence.

T is for True – become your best self by understanding your core values – what do you really stand for and care about? This will help you network and meet people as your authentic confident self.

O is for Obstacles – create a backup plan for when things don’t go to plan and learn skills like conversation starters and rehearse strategies to manage tricky situations such as not knowing anyone in a room.

R is for Rules – Don’t worry about making mistakes, seek out opportunities that scare you and celebrate all your successes.

Y is for Yes! You’ve Got this! Having the vision, intention, tools, and strategies in place will give you the courage and confidence to turn networking into an enjoyable and successful experience.

3) Do less

When it comes to achieving more, our first instinct can be to do more. But this only leaves you with less time and focus to get things done to the standard to which your colleagues and clients expect, leaving you with less energy and more stress. The key, therefore, is to focus on doing less but doing it really well.

However, if there is one thing I would recommend people do more, it’s letting people know you’ve done a good job. This doesn’t mean you need to brag, no one likes that, but be sure that you highlight your results, and the results you’ve helped others gain. This will really help build credibility.

4)  Trust your instincts

Over the years, many of us have learned to distrust our instincts. However, I realised that those times when things went particularly well for me, or particularly badly, it was when I had, or hadn’t trusted my instincts. 

It’s important to remember, that no one else has your vision for your business or career, and so they will never be quite so in-tune with its needs as you will be. And your instincts aren’t random. That gut feeling you have is based on a lifetime of knowledge and experiences, so it’s worth listening to.

5)  Find a mentor or coach

Working with a mentor or coach can help you reach a lot further in your career and faster. They will help you to see the strengths and opportunities you may be missing, and support and encourage your personal and career growth. 

A coach may not have experience of your work or industry but will have powerful tools and frameworks to help you create clear, motivating goals for your life and career and achieve them. They will guide you in tapping into your inner wisdom and knowledge and consistently build your confidence. The lessons, insights and growth you gain from a good coach will stay with you for a lifetime.

A mentor, by contrast, will usually be someone senior to you who has already trodden the path you aspire to. They will be invaluable in sharing their wisdom and experience with you, as well as connecting you to the people that can support your journey.

Overall, it’s important to remember as you build your career, that you have more power and control than you may realise. Don’t leave your future in the hands of your boss or the HR department, but take proactive steps to keep moving forwards, and remember that success doesn’t come from our moments of brilliance, as much as our small consistent steps along the way. Enjoy the journey!

About the Author

Melitta CampbellMelitta Campbell is an award-winning business coach and certified mindset coach who is passionate about helping women confidently build and grow a profitable business and that has an impact they feel proud of.

Her expertise comes from 25+ years of experience in communication, marketing, and leadership, including more than a decade of running her own businesses. This allows her to coach her clients on the inner-game of success as much as the practicalities of starting and running a thriving business.

Melitta is also the best-selling author of A Shy Girl’s guide to Networking, international speaker, and host of the Driven Female Entrepreneur podcast.

Originally from Swansea in the UK, she now supports her global client base from her home in Switzerland, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.

A Shy Girl’s Guide to Networking | Melitta Campbell

If you’ve ever wondered how some people network so effortlessly, while you feel awkward and out of place, this book is for you.

Written from a shy girl’s perspective, in this book Melitta Campbell shares the exact steps introverts can take to master the three phases of networking, both online and in person, to build powerful and lasting relationships.

As an introvert herself, getting out into the ‘networksphere’ was always a battle for Melitta until she created her innovative VICTORY Formula. This laid out her own rules of engagement, enabling her to embrace her natural abilities as an introvert, grow in confidence and shine while networking. In learning this formula for yourself, you’ll be able to enjoy the same results.

Melitta’s network has opened exciting new doors and enabled her to grow beyond what she felt possible, leading her to conclude that, ‘networking is the ultimate shortcut to everything you desire in business, and in life’.

If you are ready to achieve the next level of success in your business, A Shy Girl’s Guide to Networking will help you get there.

A Shy Girl's Guide to Networking | Melitta Campbell

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