Thinking About Career Advancement? Here’s What You Should Know.

If you want to take your career to the next level, listen up.  There’s no time better than the present to work deliberately and maximize your results. Even if you deem yourself worthy of that next big promotion, it will take more than mere desire to get it. In fact, you will need to be strategic and put your best foot forward.

If you are serious about career advancement, here’s are three things you need to know.

1. Expertise matters.  Think you are ready to climb that great labrynth known as the corporate ladder? If so, are you equipped with the knowledge, skills and experience to perform well at the top? Passion alone is insufficient. So, evaluate your current skill set–now. Don’t wait until the opportunity is ripe. It may be too late.

Also determine whether your current skills will sustain you as you climb higher. If not, invest in professional development and bridge the gap. However, if your employer has a training budget, you may not have to come out of pocket. Either way, however, you will need to do it.

The bottom line is that your next position will very likely require more skills and experience than you currently have. Don’t be discouraged by it, though. The more robust your skill set, the more value you can add to whatever duties you perform. Differentiate yourself from the sea of competition by beefing up your expertise.

2. Someone is always watching. Your reputation speaks volumes before you ever you open your mouth. Whether you realize it, you are creating an indelible track record from the moment you begin working for an employer. That track record includes a history of your curricular and extra-curricular behavior and performance.

Expect upper management to be well-acquainted with your work ethic, substantive performance and how well you mesh with workplace culture. Even with stellar credentials, a reputation that precedes you may be what prevents you from getting promoted.

3. Expressing interest and demonstrating your potential for success weigh in your favor. It’s true. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. So, don’t be shy about making your interest known to those in a position to escalate it. Showing genuine enthusiasm gets the attention of those who can make recommendations on your behalf. It also signals key stakeholder that there is a potential candidate in their midst. When an opportunity arise, you definitely want to be on their radar.

In addition to speaking up, look for opportunities to readily demonstrate your knack for doing the job well. Your manager might be surprised by your command of a foreign language and consider promoting to an international division. Similarly, your specialized knowledge in engineering could help the VP to restructure an archaic process and more potential consulting work might be in order. Don’t underestimate your ability to deliver value.

If you’re serious about moving up the food chain, you’ve certainly got your work cut out for you. However, as you make your way through the labrynth, remember: your expertise matters; someone is always watching and speaking up and delivering value will always weight in your favor.

To your success!


Karima Mariama-Arthur

Karima Mariama-Arthur is founder and CEO of WordSmithRapport (, a boutique consulting firm located in Washington, D.C. which specializes in professional development. She consults individuals and organizations on the dynamics of complex communication and high-performance leadership competence.

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Walker's Legacy is a growing global women in business collective founded to establish networks of empowerment and access for women of color in business.