Job Advancement Strategies

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Job Advancement Strategies

Contents:

Overview

Job Advancement Activity Guide

Overcoming Job Advancement Obstacles

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Overview

Some workers who feel content with their job continue working in the same job position for many years until they retire.  They have no desire to move further up the career ladder.  They've found their niche, and they're comfortable.

Perhaps you, on the other hand, wish to advance further up the ladder and achieve a higher goal.  Your motivation to move up the ranks might stem from a desire to have greater responsibility, greater challenge, greater influence, greater prestige, and/or greater income.

If you fall into this category, you might discover additional steps and planning will be needed to reach the next stage in your career, unless you happen to be fortunate and an offer for a promotion simply falls in your lap.  In that lucky case, you might only have the task of deciding whether or not to accept the offer.  But for most people, moving up the career ladder requires thoughtful consideration and planning, and devising an advancement strategy based on a number of key factors.  The strategy that will work best for you will largely depend on your career, your profile, and your company.

The following activity guide is designed to help you assess your opportunities and potential for advancement, and assist you toward developing a working plan tailored to fit your personal needs. 

 The guide will also help you address these important personal questions:

What is my career goal?

Which career direction is best?

What opportunities do I have for advancement?

Am I promotable?

What do I need to do to reach the next career step?

What opportunity is there for advancement at my current company?

Knowing precisely where you want to be on the career ladder and what you need to do to get there will be the focus of this activity.  Are you ready?  Let's start!

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Job Advancement Activity Guide

 

The following activity guide consists of five steps.  In each of the steps, fill in the blanks with short answers.

Activity Guide Contents:

Step 1:   Determine Your Career Plan

Step 2:   Assess the Next Advancement Step

Step 3:   Assess Your Interests

Step 4:   Assess your Promotability

Step 5:   Assess the Company

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Step 1:   Determine Your Career Plan    

1.     What is your long-term career goal?  Where do you eventually want to be on the
        career ladder?

My career goal is:  ___________________________________________

2.     What job title steps at your present company will lead to your career goal?  List
        the job title steps in order.  If there is more than one way to reach your goal, use
        Options 2 and 3 to separately list the steps for each possible way.  

These job title steps will lead to my goal:

Option 1:                          Option 2:                         Option 3:

________________        ________________      _________________
________________        ________________      _________________
________________        ________________      _________________
________________        ________________      _________________
________________        ________________      _________________

3.     What is your present job title?

My present job title is:  ____________________________________

4.     Looking at your present job, what job title step could you advance to next
        that would lead you toward your career goal?

The next job title step that could lead me toward my career goal is:
_____________________________________

         If the answer is "none," what lateral job at your present company would provide
          the advancement step you need?  _________________________________

         What other companies would offer the advancement step and opportunities 
          you need?  __________________________________________________

5.     Of the step sequences and opportunities available, which next job title step will
        best lead you toward your career goal? 

The next job title step that would be best is:  ______________________

Back to Activity Guide Steps

 

Step 2:   Assess the Next Advancement Step

1.     Which next job title step did you choose?

The next job title step I wish to pursue is:  ________________________

2.     What additional training or education will the next job step require?

The next job step will require:  __________________________________

3.     If applicable, where can you receive the training or education needed?

I can receive training or education I need at:  ______________________

4.     What specific skills will the next job step require?  (Examples:  leadership, 
        decision-making, computer skills, multi-tasking, coordinating, supervising, 
        team-building, scheduling, budget planning, working with the public)

The next position step will require these following skills:
________________________          __________________________
________________________          __________________________
________________________          __________________________
________________________          __________________________
________________________          __________________________

5.     Of those skills listed, which skills do you currently possess from actual 
        experience?

I possess these skills from experience:
________________________          __________________________
________________________          __________________________
________________________          __________________________

6.      Which skills would you need to develop? 

I would need to develop these skills:
________________________          __________________________
________________________          __________________________
________________________          __________________________

7.     How would you develop and acquire these skills?  Mentorship (on-the-job
        training)?  Courses?  A degree program?  Self-study?  A training program?
       A volunteer position?  Through community work?  Other avenues?

I would develop these skills by:
________________________          __________________________
________________________          __________________________

8.     What are the essential job functions (job duties) of the advanced position?
        Lifting?  Using a computer?  Using technical equipment?  Greeting the
        public?  Writing reports?  List all job duties of the position.

The essential job functions (duties) of the position would include:
________________________          __________________________
________________________          __________________________
________________________          __________________________
________________________          __________________________
________________________          __________________________

9.     What accommodation, if any, would you need to perform the essential
        job functions (duties) of the advanced position?

I would need the following accommodation(s):
________________________          __________________________
________________________          __________________________

10.  Of those accommodations listed, what accommodation training, if any,
        would you need?

I would need the following training:
________________________          __________________________
________________________          __________________________

11.  Of the accommodations you would need, which accommodations, if any,
       might pose an undue hardship for your employer?

The accommodation(s) that might pose an undue hardship:
________________________          __________________________
________________________          __________________________

12.  If an accommodation might pose an undue hardship, what alternative
       arrangement would be feasible to meet the essential job duty requirements
       of the position?

The following alternative arrangement would be feasible:
___________________________________________________________

Back to Activity Guide Steps

 

 

Step 3:    Assess Your Interests

1.     What aspects of the new advanced position would you enjoy?

I would enjoy these aspects:  __________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________

2.     What aspects of the new advanced position would you least enjoy?

I would least enjoy these aspects:  _____________________________
__________________________________________________________

3.     What aspects of the new position would you find challenging?

I would find these aspects challenging:  _________________________
___________________________________________________________

4.     How would you overcome the challenges listed?

I would overcome the challenges by:  ___________________________
___________________________________________________________

Back to Activity Guide Steps

 

 

Step 4:    Assess Your Promotability 

1.     How visible are you within the company?  In what ways, and by what means, do 
        others have an opportunity to observe your work and performance?  

Others are able to observe my work by my involvement in these 
activities:  
_________________________          __________________________
_________________________          __________________________
_________________________          __________________________
_________________________          __________________________

2.     What do you do to further expand your responsibilities beyond your job
        description?  Beyond your department?

I expand my job responsibilities by:
_________________________          __________________________
_________________________          __________________________
_________________________          __________________________

3.     What accomplishments have you made toward reaching the company's mission?

My accomplishments include:  _________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________

4.     Considering work evaluations you have received, what favorable perceptions do
        supervisors and co-workers have of you as an employee?  Do they view you
        as hard-working?  Capable?  Likable?  Responsible?  Professional?  Cooperative?
        A person who applies good judgment?  A leader?  A good problem-solver?
        A team-builder?  List all favorable perceptions that come to mind.

Favorable perceptions include: ___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________

5.     Of these favorable perceptions listed, which ones would help your promotability
        to the advanced position desired?  

Favorable perceptions that would help my promotability are:
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________

6.     What less favorable perceptions, if any, do supervisors and co-workers have of
        you as an employee?  Do they possibly have stereotypical views about your
        disability?

My supervisors and co-workers might view me less favorably as:
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________

7.      Of these less favorable perceptions listed, which ones might work against your
         chances for promotion?

The less favorable perceptions that could work against my 
promotability would be: 
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________

8.     Of the less favorable perceptions listed, how could those perceptions be improved?
        What could you do to favorably change those perceptions?

I could change less favorable perceptions by:
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________

9.     To help you gauge your promotability and receive possible guidance, how do you
        plan to communicate your interest in being promoted?  Check the plan that you 
        feel would work best.

___  I plan to use the subtle approach by asking questions, such as:

What is the next career step at the company?

What are the career step options for employees in my job position?

What are the qualification requirements for advancing to the next
career position?

What are the chances for someone with my experience and 
background of being able to advance to the next career step?

Over the years, how many people from this department have gotten
promoted?

___  I plan to use the more forward approach by:

Discussing my interests with my supervisor;

Discussing my interests with my co-workers.

___  I plan to use the quiet approach by:

Submitting my resume and application without mentioning my
interest and plan to others;

Waiting to see if the supervisor brings up my name or approaches
me about being a possible candidate for the promotion.
(This wait-and-see approach is very risky!  The supervisor might
have a false impression you aren't interested).

 

Back to Activity Guide Steps
 

 

Step 5:    Assess the Company

1.     What is the size of your company?  Small?  Mid-size?  Large?

My company is:  _______________________________

2.     Approximately how long would it take you to reach your career goal at your
        present company?  How long would it take at a smaller or larger company?

At my present company, it might take this long:  _______________
At a smaller company, it might take this long:      _______________
At a larger company, it might take this long:         _______________

3.     On average, how often does the job title step you desire have openings at
        your company?

Openings are available approximately every:  _________________

4.     When is a job opening expected?

An opening is expected:   __________________________________

5.     If no job opening is expected for a long period of time, what other companies
        might have openings in the near future?

Other companies with possible openings would include:
_________________________          __________________________
_________________________          __________________________

6.     Of these companies listed, which would provide the advancement steps you 
        need to reach your goal?

Advancement steps I need would be possible at these companies:
_________________________          __________________________
_________________________          __________________________

 

That's it!  As you look back at your answers, hopefully you'll have a good idea where you're heading and what you need to do!

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Overcoming Job Advancement Obstacles

Don't let yourself get discouraged if you find job advancement a challenge.  Advancement can be challenging during periods of economic recession, company downsizing, and company restructuring.  Advancement can be challenging when there's keen competition for jobs in the field.  Advancement can be challenging if your employer tends to hire from outside the company.

Advancement can be challenging when workplace issues are involved, such as:

Office politics;

Company politics;

Workplace attitudes;

Personality differences;

Resistance to change;

Myths and stereotypes about disabilities

Advancement can be challenging if your personal presentation at an interview isn't balanced just right.  The presentation might give the impression of your having:

too little self-confidence;

too much self-confidence.

too little self-esteem;

too much self-esteem (arrogance).

too little sensitivity;

too much sensitivity.

too little friendliness;

too much friendliness.

too little formality;

too much formality...and so on. 

 

Even if you are doing an excellent job, many factors can slow your progress forward.  In some cases, time will make a difference.  In other cases, it might require making a change to get where you want to go.

If you sense advancement challenges relate to your disability, try to assess and determine what's causing the challenge.  Be prepared to help educate the employer and work toward raising the employer's awareness and comfort level.  Be prepared to coach.

It's important to keep in mind the employer is not a disability expert, and the employer may lack experience interacting with a person who has your type of disability.  The employer may feel uncomfortable not knowing what is proper or politically (and legally) correct to say or do, for example.  The employer may be baffled and wonder how you could possibly perform required tasks with your disability due to his or her lack of knowledge about accommodation options.  

 

Consider the following:

Does the employer lack experience and knowledge about hiring
and providing accommodations to a person with a disability?  Is it
a new, unfamiliar experience for the employer?  Does the employer
seem at a loss or nervous about what to do?

Positive approach:   Be a coach.  Help educate the employer about accommodations and provide the employer with helpful resources and information.

 

Does the employer seem concerned about accommodation costs?
Would the accommodation pose an undue hardship for the employer?

Positive approach:   Help educate the employer about available tax credits 
and deductions.  If the accommodation would pose an undue hardship, you 
can offer to pay the portion of the accommodation that constitutes an undue 
hardship to the business.  Many employers and employees do not know this.

 

Does the employer seem skeptical or concerned about your ability
to do the essential job duties and functions?

Positive approach:   Inform the employer how you would perform and
accomplish the essential job duties and requirements -- with or without
accommodations.  If applicable, a demonstration may be helpful.

 

Does the employer seem worried or nervous about unknowingly
violating the ADA?

Positive approach:   Show you are a good team player by coaching the
employer.  Be prepared to offer the employer with helpful resources that
provide information and guidance the employer needs on hiring and 
accommodating employees with disabilities.

 

If applicable, does the employer seem uncomfortable from your lack of eye 
contact while conversing?

Positive approach:   Acknowledge to the employer that it may initially feel 
uncomfortable conversing without direct eye contact, but assure the employer
you are paying careful and close attention to every word.  Show the employer
you are listening and engaged in the conversation by occasionally following 
up the employer's comments with a related question or by repeating back 
what the employer said in brief summary form.  You can use phrases like --

"I hear you saying that...."
"Let me repeat the steps I heard you say...."
"If I understand correctly, you said...."
"I agree with what you said about...."

 

These are just a few examples.  Your circumstances might be quite different depending on the nature of your disability and how visible your disability is to the employer.  Much will also depend on whether or not you choose to disclose your disability to the employer, and how much information you choose to share.

Advancement can be challenging for everyone, but every effort you make and every step forward you take is one step closer toward reaching your goal.  Keep motivated, keep trying, and keep going!

 

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