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5 Ways to enhance your career without a promotion

People in their 20s are usually the most career-driven of any age group, especially us millennials. We’ve already been through one recession while we were growing up, we’re currently going through another and if it’s taught us anything, it’s that we’re tough little cookies!

We’re ready to fight for what we want and what we deserve. And right now we want a promotion! And while they’re at it, if they can throw in a pay rise as well, that would be fab.

Unfortunately, though we can all accept that we’re living in uncertain times due to economic ups and downs, people are losing their jobs and being made redundant all around us. So the last thing on companies’ minds is pay rises and promotions, a lot of us need to take a step back and be grateful we’re still in a stable job and career.

However, that does mess with our life plan of success for many of us. So while we’re waiting for the world to settle down a bit, that doesn’t mean we can stop striving for our career progression.

So here are 5 tips to help enhance your career without a promotion:

1. More experience

In any career or job that anyone is in, there are always different sub-sections of that job. If you’re in marketing, you’re usually in one specific niche of marketing, say Paid Media which means you’re not expanding your knowledge or gaining experience in several other sub-sections, such as Email Marketing, Content Creation, and Affiliates.

The same can be said in almost any other job. So be sure to take the time to expand your experience, if you can ask to help out with other departments, take on extra work, or freelance so you can test out your skills. Do it for free! As much as you might see it now as unpaid labour, you’ll be a much more vital part of anybody’s team as you’ll have more skills and experience in various different roles than anybody else. Making you more vital to the company and therefore worth the promotion/pay rise.

2. Make the most of training

A lot of companies offer training programmes or access to training courses. You’ve probably received an email and in the midst of your busy workday just deleted it straight away or let it slip through the net. Well, go back and re-visit that email, email HR or speak to your manager to see what free training courses they offer, find out if your company pay for LinkedIn Learning.

Collect all the certificates, qualifications and ‘badges of honour’ that you can. It shows yet again that you’re developing outside of your role, and that you’re invested in growing both for yourself and to help the business. If your company don’t offer any courses, there are loads of free ones online, a lot can be found on Alison.

3. Write it down

Create a document, whether it’s simply a Word document for yourself or a full-blown portfolio. Create a space where you can write down every single thing that you do, that you’ve achieved and that you’ve helped with since being in your company/role.

Once you actually take some time to think and write it all down, no matter how small or silly you think it might be, you’ll realise just how much you bring to the table. Update it every other week, if you helped a colleague outside of your department with a task, took a course or are doing free work in your spare time. Write it all down and in detail, as it’s so easy to forget how much you do and have achieved. It’s like when someone asks what you do in your job and you reply ‘Oh just X, Y and Z, nothing much’. When actually you’re not including the time you handled that project, helped out the other department with presenting to a client, or stayed late to pass that course.

All of this is important and having all of this collated on one document, will make it so much easier to put your case together as to why you deserve a promotion when the time comes.

4. Network

Get to know people throughout the business, not just in your specific team. The more people you know in the business, the more people you impress with your hard work and great attitude and the easier it will become to get that promotion.

Imagine that board room filled with the people making the decision on who to hire for that new role, if 3/5 of those people have come into contact with you before, you’ve helped their team with a project, you’ve asked to shadow one of their colleagues and you’ve been eager to help out where you can… Then they already know you’re a hard worker, you’re trustful and they get on with you. Then you are much more likely to get the promotion than someone that has just simply done what they’ve needed to do.

5. Accept it takes time

As much as we’re career-driven, hungry, ambitious millennials, we need to remember that promotions and pay rises take time. They don’t happen every six months as they do in that episode on Suits, nor do they reflect your worth.

Taking time to appreciate that you’re in a stable job, that you’re working hard, and that people are realising and appreciating what you bring to the team. That’s more than enough for now. It’s going to take a little longer for most of us to take that step up, but your time is coming!

Have faith, work hard and be patient!