The Basics

Moving Up the Ladder

You have landed into a position. Now your energy can change to getting as much from your experience with this company and determining how to grow your career.

Step One

First, learn as much as you can about the main products and services of the company and who the customers are. The more you know about the product and services and the customer, the easier it will be for you to determine what is most important to the company. If the products are consumer products, try them out yourself if you can. Talk to others in your network who use them. Do research online in terms of what customers are saying about the product. Read the latest annual reports to get an idea of what products/services are on the horizon.

As you learn about the products and services, begin to pay attention to the company culture. Culture is the essence of how the company operates. It includes distinct behaviors that are rewarded through career advancement. You can begin to understand culture by:

  • Paying attention to those who are advancing quickly in the organization – look at what they did and how they did it.
  • Looking at how employees interact with each other. Formal and Informal. Even how they dress.
  • Reading through annual reports to get clues to the company values that are often mentioned and referenced.

Step Two

Second, it is important to be successful in your current position. In fact, try to go above and beyond your objectives. The things to remember and act on are:

  • Develop trust. Your manager must feel certain that you do what you say you are going to do. Your answers are accurate and comprehensive. Never overcommit and under achieve.
  • Do the important things first.
  • Exceed Expectations. Work product is of outstanding quality. Achieve results in areas outside of your immediate responsibility that is tangential but important. Maintain and provide documentation of your results aligned to your manager’s goals and objectives.
  • Take responsibility for your mistakes and provide immediate resolutions for preventing recurrence. Assist others overcome their mistakes.
  • Use professional language – appear more “adult” than your peers.

Step Three

Third, learn as much as possible and take advantage of training and education opportunities offered within your company and outside. To make a positive impression on your manager, think about what his/her needs. What they are having the most difficulty in getting done? Be proactive and ask if there is anything in particular he/she needs help with.