Six Ways to Escape Career Limbo
By Michelle Kruse
When you’ve been with a company for a number of years, it’s easy to feel stuck in career limbo. Whether you’re working in a position that is no longer fulfilling or taking home a paycheck that suddenly seems insufficient, you may think the solution is to start looking for work elsewhere. It never hurts to reassess your options, and here are six ways to keep moving up the ladder.
1) Organize your thoughts. Set a day aside to very deliberately reflect on your career path. What do you like about working at your current company? What would you like to change? What do you dislike about your current position, and what would you rather be doing? Where do you see yourself one, five and 10 years down the road? It’s important to have a clear understanding of your own goals before moving forward with your plan.
2) Position yourself as a leader. This could be as simple as speaking up more often in brainstorming sessions or as challenging as volunteering to head up a major project. Show your higher-ups that you’re ready and willing to take on more responsibility, and be sure to give the best performance that you’re capable of.
3) Educate yourself. If the new position you’re seeking requires any skills that you don’t currently possess, do your best to attain them on your own. Perhaps knowing how to use a particular type of software will make you a more attractive candidate, or taking an advanced course in your field. If your industry is moving in a new direction, stay up-to-date on any important news or advancements. Reading about your area of interest can give you the knowledge and vocabulary you need to impress people who matter.
4) Get active outside the office. Show your boss that your skills are valued by other people. Speaking as an expert at an event or contributing an article to a trade publication signals that you’re invested in your field and have something to offer the larger community.
5) Speak up. Bosses aren’t mind-readers. If you’re ready for more responsibility at your job, tell them directly. Set up a meeting with your manager and calmly and confidently express your desire to move up in the company, offering very specific reasons for your request. Talk about what you have accomplished so far for the company, and what you hope to contribute in the future.
6) Know when it’s time to move on. When you feel you’ve done everything you can to position yourself as a prime candidate for promotion in your job, but you’re still overlooked, look elsewhere. Whether you’re truly being undervalued or your company simply doesn’t have the wherewithal to give you a promotion, value yourself enough to know when it’s time to move on.
Michelle Kruse, who recruits and hires resume writers for ResumeEdge, is an expert on the job search process.