When you first went to work for your company, it was pretty cool.
Your friends and family were excited about your new job. You were excited. You were meeting new people, learning new things, making a difference and probably making more money than you ever had before.
Let’s face it, though. Your job just isn’t that exciting anymore. Routine has set in, and you’re probably starting to wonder how to make the jump to the next level in your career.
For you, maybe that means a big promotion. Maybe it means moving to a new role in a different department. Heck, maybe it means working for a new company in a different industry.
But none of those things are going to happen by themselves. There are big opportunities out there, but are you ready to take full advantage of them? Are you truly prepared for the next big step in your career?
How to seize your next opportunity
No matter how badly you want that new job or a big promotion, desire alone won’t deliver it.
Here are four key factors to evaluate as you prepare to grab your next big opportunity.
1) Your work environment
The best career opportunities are likely to be in companies and industries that are growing or have the potential for rapid growth. Ask yourself: Is your company the next Facebook, or is it more like the Yellow Pages? If it’s the latter, you may need to look somewhere else for new prospects.
2) Your track record
Do an honest, objective assessment of your work track record. Consider these factors:
- Have you embraced opportunities to take on new challenges and let your skills shine?
- What projects or initiatives have you supported and participated in?
- Do you go beyond the call of duty when the pressure is on?
- Is there someone — a boss, former manager or senior executive — who will vouch for you on these key qualities?
If you don’t have good answers to all of these questions, you may need to seek out new opportunities at your current company or make a fresh start at a company that allows you to use your skills to stand out. How will you do that?
3) Your network
Who you know can be just as important as what you know. A strong professional network can alert you to new opportunities, provide you with insider guidance and advice, and help get you past gatekeepers and reach the real decision makers. You should always be cultivating your network – even when you think you don’t need it – so it’s there when you do.
4) Your skills and knowledge
You’ve got to have in-demand skills or knowledge that differentiates you from other job candidates. Having specific technical skills in areas such as finance, negotiations and budgeting will improve your job prospects. Are you an expert in a particular area of business — logistics or accounting, for example — that you could use to help you step into that next big job role? Ask yourself, “Do I really have what it’s going to take to move to the next level?”
If you don’t have in-demand skills and knowledge, it might be time to consider pursuing special certifications or even a master’s degree in a relevant area, such as accounting. While a master’s degree is a big commitment, it can have a huge impact on your career.
Higher education will expand your professional network and can help you make the jump to a new company, a new industry or even a new career field.
How-to guide: Climbing the corporate ladder
Being able to make big jumps at certain times in your career is an important part of climbing the corporate ladder. People who end up in top jobs at companies don’t get there by accident. Download our free how-to guide, “Climbing the corporate ladder”.
What’s your next career move?
The online Master of Accounting (MAC) degree from the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School can give your career the boost it needs.
- Flexibility: Evening courses and a pace you set
- Reputation: World-class faculty and a top-ranked program
- Support: A career services team dedicated to the needs of working professionals