Being stuck in a career rut can be demoralising but it needn’t be a self-fulfilling prophecy. By thinking ahead and applying a well-crafted strategy, it is possible to get promoted and move up the ladder.
Develop yourself: It’s important to document your continuous professional development (CPD) not only because it may be a requirement of your current position but because it also provides a useful log of the skills you are utilising and acquiring every day. It’s also useful to have a record to remind you of the projects that you have been involved in and the outcomes so when you apply for an internal role you can demonstrate the transferrable skills that you have.
Become a voice: You may not be a natural PR talent but you need to sell yourself internally. Being out and proud about your achievements gets your name and skills noted. Volunteering to sit on internal boards or make a presentation on a topic that matters to you and your organisation is another way of making the right connections and being heard. You may also consider writing a paper either for internal communications or for external ones on a specialism you have within the environment sector. Again, don’t always wait to be asked, offering may get your foot in the door and give you that important opportunity that you can leverage.
Carpe diem: seize the day! Note the opportunities that exist in your organisation and take them. It may be to take a secondment, work on a specialist project, speak at an event, attend a training event, contribute to a paper or take on someone’s work when they are on leave. Evaluating what you can learn from extending and stretching yourself is an important part of building up your skills repertoire and gathering that all important experience which makes you a credible candidate for the next internal vacancy.
Deploy emotional intelligence: Interpersonal skills can be the differentiator between two candidates and increasingly employers are looking for those that have reputable personal skills. Being likeable really does count as does being the consummate professional who employs charm, manners and courtesy. Even when discussions are challenging it’s important to be consistent in your approach. Extolling a reputation as someone that can be trusted, fair and discreet is crucial if you are to form valuable networks and extend your connections.
Be aware of your digital footprint: We all have a personal life but be careful of the trail you may leave online either in your social media posts or your comments and replies to others. Recruiters often look up candidates on their Facebook or Instagram page, so you need to feel comfortable with the public persona you are presenting. Equally you can use social media for presenting your views on environmental matters on bespoke websites and forums, via LinkedIn or Twitter – again if used wisely and professionally they can be a valuable e-meeting place where you can establish your name and credentials.
Understand strategy: Take time to learn about the challenges your employer is facing and where the business is headed. Evaluate the ways in which you are contributing, and the threats and opportunities that lie ahead. Progressing within your organisation involves understanding the fabric of the place, its values, culture and mission. Demonstrating this will show that you are committed, aligned with the cause and serious about your career and role that you play.
Share your ambitions: It’s no good harbouring career desires if you aren’t prepared to either act upon them or speak out when appropriate. The annual appraisal meeting is a good time to tell your manager that you want to get ahead and be considered for promotion. Sharing your CPD log is a good way to showcase how far you have come since you last discussed your role with your line manager. Make sure that your ambitions are documented and that there is a plan that you can all work towards to ensure that steps are made to get there. Revisiting your goals and agreeing increments for when you can next review and update them with your boss is a really important way of showing that you are serious and determined about realising your aspirations.