Career

Essential Steps to Climbing the Corporate Ladder

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Introduction

Corporate ladders can be a struggle to climb if you’re not well-versed in the skill areas that you need to rise to the next level. If your dream is to have a corner office or an executive title someday, you’ll need to take a lot of things into consideration as you approach the corporate ladder. 

Even though this sounds like a massive goal, fear not. We have asked some of our favorite corporate business people about their experience in climbing ladders in the corporate world. If approached with these things in mind, you can start climbing one step (or rung) at a time.

Set Goals

This might sound like a waste of time if you know what your dream position is already, but you need more than one goal in this process. It’s going to be a long journey from your current position to your dream job, so having smaller goals and milestones that you can reach along the way will help you stay motivated and see the progress that’s being made.

“It sounds cheesy, but a dreamboard or a mind map that outlines your goals can help in achieving your goals within a corporate world,” says Melanie Bedwell, E-commerce Manager at OLIPOP. “It prevents discouragement when that final destination feels so far away.”


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“Sometimes we get so hung up on the final goal that we forget that the stuff in between on the ladder is just as important,” says George Fraguio, Vice President of Bridge Lending of Vaster. “You’re going to learn and grow in so many ways between point A and B. Take your time and set other goals that you can reach that will help you build your credibility as you climb the corporate ladder.”

Network

It’s no secret that networking is one of the most important things in the business world. This is going to be a big part of climbing the corporate ladder. Network with people inside and outside of your organization and let them see what you can do. The more people that see how well you can perform, the higher chances you have of being promoted up the ladder.

“If someone above you in the corporate ladder has a choice between two applicants; one with glowing feedback from network connections and another with very little connections, it’s going to be a pretty short decision process,” says Dan Potter, Head of Digital at CRAFTD London. “Every job application or promotion is a competition. You have to make sure every aspect of your experience and skills can be backed up by your networking connections.”

“Learn how to network well and you’ll rise with much less difficulty,” says John Berry, CEO and Managing Partner of Berry Law. “Attend those optional dinners and events. Go to conferences. Use networking platforms. The more people you can meet and make an impression on, the better your chances are to climb the corporate ladder.”

Work a Level Above Your Position

If you want to be promoted or to apply for a position elsewhere that would be a level above your current position, start acting like you’ve already been given those responsibilities. Go above and beyond what’s required and show your capabilities to your coworkers and employers.

“The saying ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ isn’t actually terrible advice when you’re trying to climb the corporate ladder,” says Umer Usman, Head of Growth of AvantStay. “In fact, acting with professionalism and showing the responsibility of the type of person that would be hired in positions above your own will set you apart from the crowd. The key here is consistency.”

“Be an example and rise above the competition for promotions by showing all of your skills,” says Shaunak Amin, CEO and Co-Founder of SnackMagic. “Professionalism, leadership, and critical thinking are three of the top skills that executives are going to seek out for their team. Start practicing these skills from your current position and take the initiative for your own future.”

Grow Leadership Skills

As mentioned above, leadership is one of the top skills that is sought out by higher-ups in many corporations. They want people that not only can lead others, but that have excellent self leadership skills as well. So, as we’ve talked about earlier in this article, start working for the position you want. Set leadership goals, take initiative, and show your capabilities.

“Stop shying away from leading group projects or taking charge when nobody wants to step up,” says Cole Steverson, COO of Hybrid2Go. “Managers see that and they are much more likely to recommend you for a promotion if they’ve seen your positive attitude about taking on more responsibilities.”

“There are more opportunities than you realize to grow leadership skills,” says Tyler Read, Founder and Senior Editor of Personal Trainer Pioneer. “If you’re not in a position to lead others, look at growing your self leadership skills. Learn how to be a leader in other capacities as well. Explore what volunteer opportunities exist in your community where leadership is needed and start practicing there. A bonus to this approach is that you’ll meet new people and have additional networking opportunities.”

Look for Growth Opportunities

Just as Read just mentioned, you want to look for additional opportunities to grow. Look for projects outside of your comfort zone or look elsewhere for opportunities for growth. There are so many ways to grow your professional skills that will help you score those promotions and advancements in the corporate world. 

“If you’re looking to climb the corporate ladder, you’re going to need to grow in many areas as you go,” says Alex Chavarry, Managing Member at Cool Links. “Explore classes or courses in professional development, even if they’re online. You can also check out community projects that would allow you to grow in areas you’ve not had the opportunity to in your current position while also improving your city.”

“Taking the initiative to improve your skills in growth opportunities is something that employers notice,” says Fred Gerantabee, Chief Experience Officer at Readers.com. “Explore what it means to grow in your field and examine your current skill set. Set out to find opportunities, on the job or off, to grow in these areas. Your efforts will pay off when you’re able to climb that corporate ladder with your new skills in tow.”

Conclusion

Climbing the corporate ladder can be a daunting task, but hopefully some of these tips and tricks will help. Overall, it sounds like taking initiative to grow in areas that will help you perform at an advanced level from your current position while achieving smaller goals is a fantastic approach to setting yourself up for success in the corporate world.

It may not happen overnight, but practicing these things with consistency should help you build your skills, reputation, resume, and network in a way that will put you in the lead when competing for positions higher up the ladder.


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