Reassess your career path to jumpstart its advancement.
A career can be quite a roller coaster ride. At times you’re flying forward with tons of momentum, and then there are periods of time when you seem stuck on a plateau with nowhere to go. If your career path has seen very little movement up the corporate ladder in recent years, it’s time to reassess your situation.
Here are five reasons why your career has hit a stalemate – and what you can do to get things moving in the right direction again.
You’re too comfortable
When a job becomes routine, it’s difficult to keep yourself motivated. Often times, when motivation declines, so does your professional edge. If you feel like you could do your job in your sleep, it’s time to make some changes. When was the last time you read an article on your industry, or attended a webinar or conference to strengthen your skill set? Volunteer to help out with a project on another team or seek additional responsibilities from your manager. The goal is to challenge yourself again so your skills can shine.
Your brand is damaged
Whether it's an emotional outburst in the office or a drunken mishap at a company event, a workplace blunder can do some serious damage to your personal brand, and sabotage your potential advancement at the organization. To get your brand back on track, make any necessary apologies and move on. It goes without saying that your new goal is to be a model employee at the company. Also, look for ways to add value to the organization outside of your day-to-day activities. For instance, you could volunteer to manage the company’s co-ed sports team or head up the next fundraiser for charity.
You’re a cultural misfit
You can have the best skill set in the world but if you don’t get along with the team, you won’t be successful in the organization. It’s not a coincidence that recruiters and hiring managers spend the majority of the time in an interview determining cultural fit. Consider your core values and your ideal working environment, including communication style, leadership style, and so forth. If you and your current company don’t see eye-to-eye on these topics, then it might be time to make a move to a team that does.
You haven’t spoken up
Remember, managers aren’t mind readers. If your career is stalling, speak up and let your goals be known. Sit down with your manager in a private meeting to discuss your goals and concerns. Reiterate your interest in working and succeeding within the organization before addressing your concern. Together, you may be able to develop a growth plan or take the next steps to repair any damage or fill in any skill gaps that are holding you back.
You don’t know the right people
Networking is an important aspect of every professional’s career advancement, whether they’re looking for that next promotion or wanting to make a transition. If you want to advance your career, you need to meet the right people. Consider approaching a more senior colleague to be your mentor – he or she can help you navigate office politics and build some of the softer skills required to get ahead. Also, join industry-specific professional associations to meet people outside your organization so your network continues to grow.
If you’re unhappy with your current career path, now’s the time to take action. Use the tips above to get your career back on track.
Amanda Augustine is the Job Search Expert for TheLadders. She provides job search and career guidance for professionals looking to make their next career move. Have a question for Amanda? Submit your question here for a chance to have it answered in her weekly column, and be sure to follow her at @JobSearchAmanda on Twitter and “Like” her on Facebook for up-to-the-minute job-search advice.