Don’t Look Down! 5 Steps to Help Climb the Career Ladder

Career LadderWhen we land a job, many of us are extremely grateful just to be employed. However, we also harbor, and nurture, a dream to someday move up within the organization.

Opportunities just don’t fall out of the sky, though. And getting the sun, moon and the stars in just the right alignment requires some serious hustle.

Before you picture yourself in the corner office, take some time to think about these five tips to help you get that promotion:

1) Get to Know Your Boss

We book business with who we know and like… the same thing goes for marketing yourself. Make yourself likable, and spend time making your boss’ job easier. Proactively keep them regularly updated versus waiting until they request a status report from you. Set up regular meetings to keep them up-to-speed with opportunities or liabilities that you see.

By acting as someone on “their side,” you can gain their respect and maintain your integrity instead of buttering them up with empty platitudes.

2) Keep a Running File of Your Accomplishments

Then communicate them. We all know when we are doing a good job at the office, but other than leaving us with that warm fuzzy feeling inside, these don’t do you any good in the office unless you share them. You don’t have to be a braggart; this could be as simple as forwarding a kudos you received from a client to your boss with a short note: “Thought you might like to see this… was a tough client to win but glad we won them over because it was worth $____ in business to the company!”

The boss suddenly has external feedback about the great job you are doing and also measurable quantification of your results. That, in most supervisors’ minds, means that you absolutely rock.

3) If the Opportunity Arises, Propose a Job

Being on the inside, sometimes you can spot a staffing need before your boss (who is concerned with bigger picture issues). Sometimes the opportunity is a result of being understaffed – or simply because your superior can’t see the simple need right in front of them. Be sure to do your due diligence so you can present the idea as a profit-center and not as a cost (which is immediately where the supervisor will go). The more detailed you can be and have estimated outcomes, the more receptive they will be. This could even be your opportunity to design your dream job!

Being proactive and formulating your proposal to be a problem-solution fix is a great way to move up.

4) Step up. And Up. And Up. ( No, This Is Not a StairMaster…)

Fact of life: the go-getters are the ones who move up. Remember the saying, “The early bird gets the worm?” It still holds true. Be early to work, dependable, and get projects done on time or early while not compromising on quality. But beyond that, you need to always be the one who raises their hand to take on a special project or tough task when you can tackle it competently.

You’ll earn esteem with your peers and the people that count… including the boss who is likely looking for that go-getter to take a program or project to the next level.

5) Be Generous

We all dislike the people who take credit for the work of others. We also hate the people who immediately resort to finger-pointing and blame-shifting when things go bad. Being generous can truly make you stand out as a role model. Nothing shoots you down in the workplace faster than dumping on others.

Instead, share credit where it is due and be accountable for your failures when they happen.

One more thought…

When going for next rung on the ladder, maintain your integrity at all times – this means being polished professionally (both in how you look and act)… and always by doing the right thing. Honesty  is a workplace trait that any employer would value.

Keep these five tips in mind – and you’ll emerge as the most likely candidate to step up!


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Pathfinder Writing and Career Services!


Dawn_AuthorAbout the Author: Dawn Rasmussen, CMP, is the president of Pathfinder Writing and Career Services, where she provides results-oriented résumé, cover letter, and job search coaching services. She is the official “Get the Job” columnist for One+ Magazine distributed to over 26,000 meeting professionals worldwide, and, a job resource site for creative and marketing professionals. Dawn is also a recognized career expert on – a top 10 world-ranked career advice blog – and a regular contributor to’s weekly meeting #tchat on Twitter. Follow Dawn on Twitter!




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