4 Tips for Taking on the Next Step in Your Professional Career

Reaching the top level of any career path can take a blend of acquired skills including patience and commitment. 

You might find that you need to go back to school, or that you need to take a certification course to move up the job ladder. Maybe you have all the skills that you need but have not gotten connected with the right opportunity yet. 

No matter what your unique job reality is, you will have to do some planning aheadOpens in a new tab. if you want to make the jump from one rung on the ladder to the next. Making sure that you are ready when you apply for a new job is of utmost importance, especially if the job that you want to get is in a competitive hiring space. 

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If you are interested in learning some tips and tricks to help you to take the next step in your career, read on!

Tips for Taking on the Next Step in Your Professional Career

1. Define “Next”

Defining what comes next for you can be the biggest part of your entire decision-making process. Sometimes the next step directly above your job is not necessarily the next page in your story. 

If you don’t want to become the manager on your team, consider what you would like to do instead. Maybe you want to make a lateral move into a position that has more responsibility. Maybe you are only invested in holding a certain job title for a set amount of time so that you can meet requirements for another job.

Sometimes moving upwards is not the only way that you can grow as an employee. You should always consider if a move away from your current company might also turn into a step up. There are many ways to advance in your career, and not all of them mean moving up to become the manager of your team.

Whatever next means to you, this is the variable you will need to know before you start applying for new jobs. There is nothing worse than landing a job that sounds great on paper, only to realize that it is a poor fit for you or your long-term employment goals. Be wary of moving “up” just because it’s the first avenue of promotion that you see around you.

2. Keep it Private

One of the biggest challenges that can get in the way of landing your dream job, is letting others know that you have applied for it. In many businesses, the word can get around quickly that you are looking for a new job, causing trouble before you even get to the interview. If your current boss or another coworker does not approve of your desire to change jobs, you might find that things get very difficult for you in the short term while you are still with your old team.

The bigger issue with talking about your possible new job is that there is always the risk that someone who does not support you or your goals may try to get in the way and prevent you from getting hired on.          

Keep in mind, people who do not have your best interests at heart should never know about the possible change in your job title until it is announced to the company as a whole.

3. Flesh Out Education and Experience

If you think that you can get a job, but worry that you will not be able to outcompete others with more work history, education, or experience, you can solve these concerns by increasing your resume and skills. A resume writing serviceOpens in a new tab. can help you expertly highlight these valuable attributes.

If you need a certification to apply for a job, figure out how to obtain that for future success. If you need to get the right kind of experience on your resume, make sure to seek out opportunities that will allow you to discuss these job functions and responsibilities in an interview. 

Lastly, if you are worried that your work history is not sufficient, you may have to wait until you have the time built up with your company to applyOpens in a new tab. and win the job that you want. The amount of time that you are willing to wait can vary depending on your ability to wait out a situation as well as how likely it is that your dream job will become available. If you do not want to become stagnant, you may need to decide if experience alone is going to be enough to get you the job that you really want.

Even though it might mean taking a step back, sometimes a lateral move to a different type of job can yield better immediate results. This is particularly true if you are moving to a team with more senior job roles that you might be able to fill.

4. Practice for Your Interview

To prepare for your interview, borrow a friend for help or use a mirror to watch yourself as you answer practice questions. This will ensure that you feel confident and versed in the topics that you believe will be discussed in the interview. Most interviewers will ask a blend of personal questions and job-specific queries, making it fairly easy to prepare a set of answers that will best fit your needs for the interview. 

You never want to sound scripted when you interview. Giving prompt and complete answers to questions is preferred, making you look more prepared and confident. Practice speaking without fillers such as “um” or “like” to remain professional in your interview. 

You may also want to look at yourself in a mirror and rule out the chance that any facial expressions you make could be taken the wrong way by your interviewer. Opens in a new tab.You might be surprised at the expressions that your face makes when you are nervous!

Feeling preparedOpens in a new tab. can make the interview process a breeze, plus you will be much more likely to land a job if you are comfortable and confident on your interview day. 

The Next Step in Your Professional Career is Closer Than you Think

Define what job you are looking for and what you need to do to get it. Making a plan of action and practicing your interviewing skills are more than enough to get you on the right track. Landing a job is usually more about your comfort with the process than it is about your skills or resume.

With the right preparation and planning, getting the right job to carry you to the next step in your professional career will be a piece of cake!

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