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Insights: How to Advance Past an Entry-level Job

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Ask the Expert! Through WISE Insights,Connect with knowledgeable experts to receive honest and thoughtful answers to your career-related questions, or read about challenges your peers are facing.

Question

Submitted by: WISE NYC Metro member | 15+ years professional experience

Throughout my career, I have heard the old cliches that "you have to get your foot in the door," and "you've got to be willing to start from the bottom and work your way up." I've been there, I've done that and I still find myself stuck at the entry level. It doesn't mean that I can't do more, it means that there was already someone else in that position, and therefore, there was no room for me to advance in title and salary. How do I get out of the shadow of the job title and highlight that I really am qualified for a higher position?

Answer

It sounds like you need a strategy. As you’ve discovered, just being there is not enough; people are promoted based on the value they create. If you’re seen as valuable enough, a job will be created for you, so I wouldn’t worry about whether there is enough “room.” Instead, figure out where you want to be two to three moves from now and focus on increasing the skills needed to get you there.

Get clear on what you offer. What exactly do you bring to the party and how does it benefit the organization? What else can you do in your current job to increase the value you’re offering? Talk to your manager about the types of projects that are in your sweet spot so that s/he can be on the lookout for you. Volunteer if the project will help you make your case to management.

Increase your visibility, both internally at your organization, and externally in the industry. Make sure you are associated with the value you’re bringing. External validation helps make it easier for your manager to promote you. So start commenting on industry blogs, volunteering, offering to participate in panels, write Op-Eds, and get known in your arena.

Attitude counts.
Remember, it’s your responsibility to manage your career. You are not “stuck in entry level," you’ve just not discovered how to move beyond it. Focus on increasing the value others associate with you in order to increase your skills and expand your opportunities.

 

Amanda Mitchell

About Amanda Mitchell

Amanda Mitchell, Corporate Navigator at Our Corporate Life, helps people just like you find what they love to do so they can have more of it in their work life. You'll be happier, your employer will be happier and ultimately corporate suffering will be reduced.

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