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3 Steps To Trend Your Career In The Right Direction

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By: Kenneth L. Johnson

Many professionals who have navigated through the recent recession and years of lack luster job growth are completely fed up with their current positions but have been unsuccessful in their attempts to secure a position that seems like the logical next step in their career path. Some of this is due to expanding position descriptions and the flattening of corporate organizational charts. With national job growth continuing to show minimal gains it is highly likely that this scene will play out continuously over and over across the corporate landscape.

These are the times when employees at all levels need to be strategic in their approach to climbing the corporate ladder. It is likely that a “career detour” may be the navigational equivalent to climbing the before mentioned ladder. Many professionals are taking lateral positions with their current employers or similar organizations that offer an opportunity to ascend or acquire the skills necessary to place them in a more strategically advantageous position to achieve their career goals and remain on a path of progression. If you feel like your current situation is not presenting the advancement you desire, please consider these 3 Steps toward lateral career advancement.

1. Map out a plan: Make sure that you have the skill-set necessary to navigate the employment landscape without losing any ground. If you need to strengthen up in a particular area that is instrumental to your success…address that first.

2. Be clear about what “climbing the ladder” means and requires: If you are a Senior Executive and the next lateral or vertical position in your sight line involves a geographic move or extensive travel and you’re not willing to make that commitment, a lateral career change may not be for you. Do your research.

3. Identify an Internal Advocate or Mentor: There is no better way to understand corporate structure and hierarchy. You must identify and leverage any relationships that you have with colleagues that can provide valuable insight on internal and external trends. This is basically your way of conducting market research with your own career in mind. The information gained from esteemed colleagues is invaluable don’t disregard its importance.