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Level Up: How to Get Ahead Without Changing Companies
Yes, you can grow where you're planted.
Job hopping is de rigueur right now. More than a third of working adults in the U.S. said they changed jobs in the past two years, according to a recent PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll. Even as the economy has cooled, and layoffs have rocked the tech sector, workers still have an unprecedented power to determine their fate: There were over 10 million open jobs in October, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But what if you work for one of the good ones? Many companies expanded paid leave, child care subsidies and remote work options during the pandemic. Our recent survey with Care.com found that a whopping 83% of employees caring for children say their company's level of support is “strong.” If you work for one of these exemplary employers, why would you ever want to leave?
Many career coaches would say: because it’s the only way to get ahead.
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One of the most persistent ideas about the modern job market is that internal raises and promotions are rare. If you actually want to grow in your career, you have to find opportunities elsewhere. Gone are the days when hiring managers preferred candidates with a steady employment history, so don’t be afraid to seek greener pastures.
But this line of thinking is mostly a myth.
In fact, one study that examined the career histories of 14,000 executives found that inside moves actually produced a considerably higher percentage and faster pace of promotions. That was especially true for CEOs, who worked, on average, for just three employers during their careers. A quarter of the 1,001 CEOs analyzed spent their entire career with the same firm.
“One likely reason that internal candidates do better is that companies know more about them; promoting an insider poses less risk than hiring somebody from the outside, no matter how extensive the CV or how detailed the reference,” suggested the study’s author, Monika Hamori, a professor of human resource management at IE Business School-IE University in Madrid.
For parents, the prospect of job hopping is especially fraught. There’s no guarantee your next manager will give you the grace to work from home when your kids are sick, even if the company policy allows it.
Thankfully, staying put doesn’t have to mean stagnating. There are plenty of ways to grow where you’re planted, if you’d prefer to put down roots with your current employer. We asked the experts at Indeed to share their best tips, below.
3 Ways to Get Promoted at Your Current Company
Are you craving a new professional challenge? Maybe you feel like you’ve done all you can in your current role and are beginning to look for new opportunities at other companies. However, experts agree that the minimum tenure you should spend with a company is two years—giving you enough time to learn new skills and build your experience, but also show you value career growth. If your company is full of growth opportunities, staying put may be your best bet. But promotions don’t happen with the snap of a finger. Here are some of the best strategies to get ahead at your current company:
Ask for feedback. A good place to start is by asking your manager to give you feedback on how you can get a promotion. It will signal to your supervisor that you are beginning to take action and are serious about moving up within the company. Come prepared with a list of your achievements, skills and examples of how you’ve helped the company or your team. (Numbers and specific examples will strengthen your case.) Be clear about your desire to grow and ask specific questions like, “What steps can I take to get promoted to X position?” While you may not receive the offer for a promotion at that moment, your manager will know that this is something you’re seeking.
Add to your skillset. In addition to working on your leadership skills, it can help to work on upskilling in areas that are relevant to your career path. Identify gaps in your skillset by comparing your current skills with those of the role you want. Taking classes and gaining certifications are great ways to gain new knowledge. Don’t be afraid to look for opportunities to learn something new within your workplace, by asking coworkers to be included in projects outside of your scope or requesting to be included in learning and development opportunities.
Pay attention to people who have been promoted at your company. Situational awareness is key in securing a promotion. Is there a certain pattern in the way that they work that receives positive feedback from higher ups? Depending on your company or team’s culture, there may be certain personality traits, habits and achievements that are common among folks who have been promoted. For example, your company may be more likely to reward employees who attend work parties and social events. In this case, you might benefit from making it a point to participate in these events. Some companies might want employees to have strong cross-functional relationships, meaning you work well with and foster relationships with folks in other departments. Find the pattern, and emulate your successful predecessors.
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