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How to Advance in Your Career: Process & Expectations

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  • 0:02 Career Advancement
  • 0:52 Setting Goals
  • 4:24 Being Proactive
  • 6:21 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

How do you get a promotion or move to a better job? Watch this lesson for tips and tricks to advance in your career, including how to set goals and be proactive when it comes to career success.

Career Advancement

Joey has been working at his job for about a year, and he loves it, but he also wants to move up in the company. Currently, he writes code for software, but he wants to be a software designer or even head of the department at his company!

Joey is thinking about career advancement, or moving ahead in a chosen career. This is different from just changing jobs. If Joey takes a job as a waiter at a restaurant, he's changed jobs but hasn't advanced his career in technology. On the other hand, changing positions can be a part of career advancement, like moving from writing code to designing the software.

What should Joey do to advance in his career? Let's look closer at two things that are integral for career advancement: setting goals and being proactive.

Setting Goals

At Joey's office, the technology people are divided into a hierarchy: there's the head of the department, who oversees everyone, and below him are the software designers, who figure out what the software is going to look like and how it will work. Then there are the people who write code and make the software designers' visions a reality.

Joey writes code, but he wants to move up in the company. But what should he do? Where should he even begin?

The first thing that Joey needs to do is to set goals for himself. This might seem pretty easy. In fact, it might seem like he's set goals already: after all, he wants to advance in his career, and being a software designer feels like a good place to go.

But there's more to setting goals than just deciding that you want to advance. Joey needs to make sure that his immediate goal is in line with his long-term goal. For example, maybe Joey decides that he wants to be a software designer because that's what people at his company do after they write code for a while. Becoming a designer is Joey's immediate goal.

But Joey also needs a long-term goal. That is, he needs to know where he wants to be in 5, 10, or even 15 years. Let's say that Joey's long-term goal is to be head of the department. Then maybe becoming a software designer is in sync with his long-term goal.

But what if Joey's long-term goal is to be head of sales, not head of software development? Then his immediate goal (becoming a software designer) is not in line with his long-term goal of being head of sales.

Let's say, though, that Joey's immediate and long-term goals are in line with each other. Joey now knows that becoming a software designer is how he should advance his career. What now?

Joey needs to make sure his goals are realistic. If Joey's only a few months out of college and hasn't really gotten very good at his job yet, it's probably not realistic for him to expect to be promoted. Not only that, each company does things in its own timeline. For some companies, being good at your job could lead to a promotion in a year. At others, you might have to wait years to be promoted, no matter how good you are.

To figure out what goals are realistic, Joey should observe what's normal at the company and talk to people who have been there a while. They should be able to tell Joey how long most people write code before they are promoted.

You might think that, at this point, Joey's done with his goal-setting. Not quite. There's one other thing that Joey needs to do. Joey needs to talk to his supervisor and set development goals. These are goals that Joey and his supervisor come up with together to help Joey become better at his current job and closer to what would be expected of him if he was promoted.

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