Out of the box ways to take the next step up the career ladder

Women searchingPicture the scene. You’ve enjoyed a satisfying career to date, taking regular promotions and achieving success in your chosen field. But you’re an ambitious individual and want to push as high as you can, rather than settling for what you have. You’ve set your sights on stepping up to the next level, and that means gunning for a senior management position.

There are opportunities available. You know where they are and where to look, and you’re well aware of who to approach within the industry in which you excel. But what do you want your next big career move to be, and how can you get it? Here are some creative suggestions for securing it.

Your career ladder doesn’t need to stay within one industry, so be prepared to broaden your horizons.

Work out what ‘up’ means

When you start thinking about moving up the career ladder you need to work out what ‘up’ means. Does it mean landing the kind of £100k salary which comes with listed jobs from exec-appointments, or are you seeking more responsibility, primarily? Or a more impressive job title? Once you’ve established this you can properly plan your career progression.

Volunteer strategically

Volunteering, seriously? Yes. It’s not that unusual, or rare. In order to get more experience as well as showing your compassionate side, you should take some time to volunteer, especially in sectors you are really passionate about. Not only does this show your dedication to future employers but you may also gain some valuable experience too. We’re not talking about manning a cake stall at the local school summer fete, mind: as this article on Forbes discusses, relevant examples include gaining a place on the board of directors at a charity. This is great for extending your range of contacts, and enhancing your profile.

Switch industries

Your career ladder doesn’t need to stay within one industry, so be prepared to broaden your horizons. Even if you’ve spent 20 years working in the media there’s no reason you can’t move across into retail – the responsibilities of a Managing Director or Chief Executive remain similar regardless of sector. If you feel you can progress quicker or more easily in a new industry then it’s okay to take a step in a different direction. There are plenty of skills that are easily transferable.

Make sure you are networking thoroughly and effectively, and promote yourself strongly. Social media is a wonderful tool for this, but also attending industry-specific events.

Learn while moving laterally

If you do need to take a side step, make sure it’s into a role where you are able to learn. It might be a job that offers training or that will give you a chance to learn new skills. Moving laterally isn’t a bad thing but you need to make sure it still progresses your career in some way, even if it’s not a direct step up the ladder. And what might seem like a sideways step at first glance might not be the case on closer inspection: you could have the same job title but a more lucrative salary, greater responsibility, benefits, bonus scheme, and a larger team to manage.

Network

The world of recruitment has changed significantly over the last decade. The two dimensional see-job-and-apply process isn’t always applicable when it comes to executive positions and while some blue-chip positions will still be advertised, others are less well known. Make sure you are networking thoroughly and effectively, and promote yourself strongly. Social media is a wonderful tool for this, but also attending industry-specific events. Take a presentation at one, or give a talk. Contribute thought-leadership articles in B2B press. Elevate your profile, and the opportunities will open up.

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