Home

How to Advance Your Career

Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents
    Scroll to Top

    Career advancement is a worthwhile endeavor. One that takes plenty of dedication, self-reflection, and hard work. That said, knowing how to advance your career isn’t always a straightforward process. Maybe you’re looking for a new job or working towards a promotion. Maybe you’re thinking about changing careers and going back to school. Or maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed and simply don’t know where to start! Whatever the case may be, the key to having a successful career is to actively reflect on your goals for the future. After all, everyone has a different understanding of the word “success.”

    In this article, we will discuss how to advance your career by considering the importance of short-term career goals, long-term career goals, and professional development opportunities. We’ll also review the many benefits of professional networking. So if you’re wondering what steps you should be taking next in order to advance your career, you’ve come to the right place!

    Complimentary Initial Consultation

    Fill out this form to book your complimentary initial consultation.

    What does a successful career look like to you?

    Meaningful career advancement requires honesty and self-reflection. In other words, what works for your colleague might not work for you. Therefore, in order to make worthwhile changes, you’ll need to consider your personal and professional goals carefully. 

    Advancing in your career and deciding on a career path can feel overwhelming. To help you get started, reflect on the questions below:

    • What are you passionate about?
    • What are your three greatest strengths? Weaknesses?
    • If you could change two things about your current job, what would they be and why?
    • What have you liked/disliked about past jobs?
    • Do you prefer working alone or as a part of a team?
    • Do you enjoy taking on leadership roles?
    • What does your ideal schedule look like?
    • Do you like where you’re living? Do you like to travel?
    • Do you make enough money to sustain your ideal lifestyle?

    Remember, this list is by no means exhaustive. Rather, it’s meant to be a helpful place to start. Then after some brainstorming, you can start making decisions and plans for the future.

    Establishing long and short-term goals

    Long-term goals often feel overwhelming. This is why you should get into the habit of breaking large goals into smaller, more manageable goals. For example, if one of your long-term career goals is to start your own business, a smaller, more manageable short-term goal may be to attend a seminar for entrepreneurs or to start drafting your business plan.

    In addition to setting goals for yourself, you’ll need to come up with a timeline and a schedule. This will help you remain organized and stay accountable. Remember, advancing in your career requires more than just an impressive elevator pitch. So while it’s important to know How To Answer “What Are Your Career Goals?” In an interview, there is much more to consider!

    Establishing long and short-term goals

    Long-term goals often feel overwhelming. This is why you should get into the habit of breaking large goals into smaller, more manageable goals. For example, if one of your long-term career goals is to start your own business, a smaller, more manageable short-term goal may be to attend a seminar for entrepreneurs or to start drafting your business plan.

    In addition to setting goals for yourself, you’ll need to come up with a timeline and a schedule. This will help you remain organized and stay accountable. Remember, advancing in your career requires more than just an impressive elevator pitch. So while it’s important to know How To Answer “What Are Your Career Goals?” In an interview, there is much more to consider!

    What is a SMART goal?

    The best long-term and short-term career goals are thoughtful and clearly defined. Ideally, each goal should be framed as a “SMART goal.” But what is a SMART goal exactly?

    SMART stands for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. So, now that we know what “SMART” stands for, let’s take a closer look at why these attributes are important.

    Specific: Short-term and long-term career goals should be as specific as possible. This will help increase your focus. For example, buying a filing cabinet and labeling folders is a much stronger goal than simply “be more organized.”

    Measurable: Effective goals should be measurable. For example, applying for four jobs per week is a much better goal than simply “start applying to jobs.” Being able to measure your progress helps keep you more accountable.

    Achievable: The best goals are realistic. For example, “receiving a Pulitzer Prize” is a great aspiration, but for most people, it simply is not realistic.

    Relevant: Your career goals should be relevant to your profession and experience level. For example, if you’re an artist and your primary medium is ceramics, signing up for an expensive glass-blowing class may not be the most relevant or effective goal.

    Time-Bound: Open-ended goals tend to get deprioritized. This is why having time-bound goals is so important. For example, designing a new website within the next three weeks is a much stronger goal than simply “making a new website.”

    The importance of networking

    One of the best ways to advance your career is to widen your professional network by attending business networking events. There are lots of benefits of professional networking, including:

    • A sense of community
    • Access to funding opportunities
    • Advice and recommendations
    • Increased visibility
    • Job leads
    • Mentorship opportunities
    • Opportunities to collaborate
    networking

    The key to getting the most out of professional networking opportunities is to learn how to speak confidently about your career and goals and to be curious about other people’s experiences. You’ll also want to be sure that your LinkedIn Profile and resume are up-to-date and that you have business cards on hand. For more information on networking, check out our article, Networking Strategies: A Step-by-Step Guide to Success

    Seeking feedback from others

    One of the best ways to learn how to progress in your career is to seek feedback from others. Not only will this help you identify areas where you can improve, but it will also foster good will among your colleagues. Ask your coworkers and supervisors for suggestions on how to improve your performance. If you’re a manager, ask your employees for constructive feedback. In general, the more people you ask, the more thorough you can be in your assessment of how best to improve. 

    Engaging in professional development

    career advancement Industries are constantly evolving and it’s important to keep up in order to stay relevant. This is why engaging in professional development opportunities is crucial to having a successful career. There are lots of professional development opportunities out there — from conferences and seminars to workshops and reading lists. 

    Start researching what opportunities are available to you in the coming months. Then put everything in your calendar with reminders to register for classes and events ahead of time. It’s also worth noting that attending work-related events is a great way to network. And remember, networking is one of the most effective ways to advance your career!

    Engaging in professional development

    Industries are constantly evolving and it’s important to keep up in order to stay relevant. This is why engaging in professional development opportunities is crucial to having a successful career. There are lots of professional development opportunities out there — from conferences and seminars to workshops and reading lists. 

    Start researching what opportunities are available to you in the coming months. Then put everything in your calendar with reminders to register for classes and events ahead of time. It’s also worth noting that attending work-related events is a great way to network. And remember, networking is one of the most effective ways to advance your career! career advancement

    20 skills to advance your career

    Advancing in your career takes hard work and dedication! Depending on your industry and your specific career goals, you may want to consider adding some of the following skills to your resume:

    • Accounting and Bookkeeping
    • Administrative Support
    • Budgeting
    • Computer Coding
    • Cyber Security
    • Data Analysis
    • Digital Marketing
    • Editing and Proofreading
    • Foreign Language
    • Grant Writing
    • Graphic Design
    • Photoshop and Indesign
    • Public Relations
    • Public Speaking
    • Recruiting
    • SEO Writing
    • Social Media Management
    • Technical Writing
    • Video and Audio Production
    • Web Development

    Increasing your skill set is always a worthwhile endeavor, especially in such a competitive job market. In addition to attending workshops, trainings, and seminars, you may want to look into free certifications to improve your resume. This may be especially helpful if you’re looking to learn more about various software programs, such as Python, Google Analytics, or Quickbooks. 

    20 skills to advance your career

    Advancing in your career takes hard work and dedication! Depending on your industry and your specific career goals, you may want to consider adding some of the following skills to your resume:

    • Accounting and Bookkeeping
    • Administrative Support
    • Budgeting
    • Computer Coding
    • Cyber Security
    • Data Analysis
    • Digital Marketing
    • Editing and Proofreading
    • Foreign Language
    • Grant Writing
    • Graphic Design
    • Photoshop and Indesign
    • Public Relations
    • Public Speaking
    • Recruiting
    • SEO Writing
    • Social Media Management
    • Technical Writing
    • Video and Audio Production
    • Web Development

    Increasing your skill set is always a worthwhile endeavor, especially in such a competitive job market. In addition to attending workshops, trainings, and seminars, you may want to look into free certifications to improve your resume. This may be especially helpful if you’re looking to learn more about various software programs, such as Python, Google Analytics, or Quickbooks. 

    Key takeaways and moving forward

    Career advancement is seldom a straightforward process. After all, defining your career goals takes honesty, self-reflection, and practical work experience. If you’re a young professional, you may want to learn more about Best Entry-Level Jobs with Useful Work Experience. Not only will this help you gain meaningful work experience, but it’ll also help you discover more about your strengths, weaknesses, and work preferences before you commit to more long-term goals. If you’re a seasoned professional, you may be interested in reading our post, How To Change Careers? 10 Career Switching Tips That Help

    For more information on how to advance your career, consider reaching out to one of our career counselors. In the meantime, check out some more of our blog posts, such as: Why Are Soft Skills Important in the Workplace? and 5 Resume Templates to Get You Hired.

    Contact a Prepory college admissions coach and start your college admissions journey.

    Our college admissions experts are here to guide you from where you are to where you should be. Through our comprehensive curriculum, individualized coaching, and online workshops, you are set for success as soon as you connect with us.

    During our initial consultation, we will: 

    • Assess your student’s applicant profile and higher education goals 
    • Provide detailed information about our services and programming
    • Share tips on how to navigate the U.S. college admissions process 

    Let's get started!


    Subscribe to our blog!