Types of Opportunities to Grow in Your Career

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  • 0:02 Career Advancement
  • 1:32 Internal Advancement
  • 4:22 External Advancement
  • 6:10 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.

Everyone wants to move forward in their careers, but how can you do that? In this lesson, we'll look at the two major types of career advancement, internal and external, and how to make the best of both.

Career Advancement

Carrie is ready for a change. She's been working at the same old job for a while now, and she really wants to move forward in her career. She doesn't want to stay in the same job for the rest of her life!

Carrie wants career advancement, which involves moving forward in your career. This could mean changing jobs or companies, getting a promotion or many other ways of advancing.

Notice that Carrie wants to advance in her career. Though many people think of them as being the same thing, there is a difference between a career and a job. A career is an occupation that goes on for an extended period of time in a person's life. Often, a career lasts for decades.

A job, on the other hand, is paid employment. A job can be part of a career, but it doesn't have to be. Further, a career is usually made up of more than one job. For example, Carrie works in marketing. She started as a marketing intern and then moved into a position as a marketing associate. Eventually, she wants to be a director of marketing or even CEO of a marketing firm.

Each of those jobs (intern, associate, director) is a part of Carrie's career path. She's ready to change jobs, but her career will stay the same. Let's look at two types of career advancement that Carrie can consider: internal advancement and external advancement.

Internal Advancement

So, Carrie likes her current job okay, but she really wants to move forward. She wants to see that she's moving towards her ultimate goal of being director of marketing or a big shot at a marketing firm. Where does she even begin to look for advancement?

If Carrie likes the company that she's at, she might want to first look there. Internal advancement involves advancing in your career within the same company. For example, if Carrie was promoted from marketing associate to marketing manager or assistant director of marketing but she stayed at her current company, that would be an example of internal advancement.

Some companies have lots of opportunities for internal advancement, while others don't. Whether there are opportunities for advancement within Carrie's current company will depend largely on two things: the size of the company and the company culture.

In general, large companies have more opportunities for internal advancement than smaller ones do. This is because there are more jobs in those companies. Think about it like this: if Carrie wants to be a director or vice president and her company only has one director or vice president, then it will be hard for Carrie to get one of those positions. On the other hand, large companies sometimes have many directors and vice presidents, and many positions mean more opportunities for Carrie.

In addition to size, some companies have a culture that values internal advancement, while others prefer to hire someone from outside the company to fill a position instead of promoting from within. So, what, exactly, would internal advancement look like for Carrie? There are two types of internal advancement: promotion and changing departments. Promotions involve staying in the same department and moving up. For example, Carrie moving from marketing associate to marketing manager within the same department is an example of a promotion.

However, sometimes advancement isn't that direct. For example, what if there isn't a position available for Carrie to be promoted to within her department? In that case, Carrie might want to think about changing departments within the company. For example, if Carrie is working on marketing within the finance division of her company, she might consider moving to the marketing department of the education division of her company, if they have an opening.

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