5 Ways to Fast Track Your Career

RADEK MICA/AFP/Getty Images

Radek Mica/AFP/Getty Images

Everyone hopes to succeed in their career, and depending on your own goals and motivations, success might mean something different to you than it will to a coworker. However, most people would agree that moving to the top quickly is a great way to feel successful. If you can determine how to fast-track your career, you will most likely have more responsibility, more money, and possibly more people reporting to you in less time.

There are many ways to fast track your career; some of them will help you in the long-run, but some will not. Obviously, lying to get to the top can potentially get you fired, and gossiping or cutting down coworkers is also a poor idea. However, there are many positive ways to fast track your career, and these methods can help you improve your skills and your leadership potential. Here are five ways you can greatly improve your chances of a rising career.

1. Further your education

There are many ways you can easily improve your education. Some careers require a specific degree, but even if your career doesn’t require specific academic training, you can still improve your skills. Earning a degree can increase your qualifications and your paycheck. Still, if you don’t have the time or the funds to go back to school (be sure to check if your company has a reimbursement program), try online classes. Many schools offer free online classes; check out the MOOC List. You can also improve your skills by completing Microsoft Certifications. Having new skills will help you advance quickly.

2. Attend conferences

Attending conferences isn’t just for college professors. There are conferences all over the nation (and the world) that cover many different disciplines. You can attend conferences to learn more about your discipline, and showing interest in your field will impress many bosses. You can use your trip as a resume builder, and some employers will even reimburse you, particularly if you are representing your company. This is also a great way to show your boss that you are able to handle increasing responsibility. If you can present a paper, or a project, this will also help your credibility and your credentials. Showing real interest and pride in your job is a great way to fast track your career.

 3. Network

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Conferences can also be a great opportunity to network. By attending a conference, you can meet other people are in your same field, and potentially, have future contacts to help you with a job search. However, you can find networking opportunities in many places besides at conferences. Courses or certificate programs can be a great way to meet people. Business dinners and events are another good choice. Really, you never know when you might meet a potential important contact. Because of the unpredictability of networking, it’s important to always be on top of your game and be respectful when meeting new people. The next mutual acquaintance that you meet could be someone who can help you obtain your dream job.

According to an article by Inc., Andrew Sobel recommends that once you have contacts, it’s important to determine which ones are the most important to your career. You should be contacting these people regularly.

4. Take initiative

One of the best ways to fast track your career is to take initiative. Attending conferences and taking classes are both ways of showing initiative, but you also have many opportunities to show initiative every day at the office. Help coworkers and your boss with projects readily, and ask for extra work before your boss comes to you. Show interest and excitement about new projects, and share your ideas for how to make a project better (but do it in a respectful manner.) According to AskMen, your boss will often consider initiative when considering your annual review. Showing initiative will also help fast track your career because your hard work can help you develop key references, and even beef up your resume.

 5. Become indispensable

Mid adult businessman writing on clipboard in home office, bald

Source: iStock

One way to practically guarantee that you won’t get fired, and increase your chance of a quick promotion or raise, is to become indispensable to your company and your boss. If you make it so that your company would be lost without you, you will quickly fast track your career, because your company won’t want to lose you. According to Chris Gaborit writing for LinkedIn, you can become indispensable if you are able to see the opportunity that can come with change, by gaining the skills for the job you want ahead of time, by building relationships with important people, getting things done, and being respectful. If you work with clients, make sure you foster those relationships as well, particularly with clients that bring in a lot of money or sales.

It isn’t necessarily easy to fast track your career, but many of the steps that it takes are important steps in building your character and job skills anyway, so you might as well take them.

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