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If you’ve managed to land a position in your dream career, you might think that it’s smooth sailing from this point on. However, few get anything handed to them on a silver plate and if you want to continue developing yourself and reach new heights, this is just the beginning. Climbing the corporate ladder is only possible with conscious effort. If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few things that will help you take you forward in your career.

Set yourself goals. The first and most important step in climbing the corporate ladder will be setting yourself some specific goals. You cannot expect to work productively towards your goals if they are not clearly defined in front of you. SMART goals, on the other hand, will allow you to come up with the concrete steps you need to take, as well as keep track of your progress. This way, it will be easier to see if your efforts are paying off or you need to change your approach. So, create a clear plan that will guide you when things get hectic.

Take the initiative. Being actively involved in your work and taking the initiative is important for several reasons. Staying passive in your position and expecting a promotion solely based on your performance will not work. You also need to showcase an attitude that tells your managers that you not only can do it but also want to do it. For a start, showing interest in your possible career path is important. Seeking out your employer to come up with a feasible plan as well as a discussing your personal goals with them will show them that you are enjoying your job, are motivated, and can drive the company forward.

Seek feedback. It’s important to know how well you are doing in your current position. Sometimes, it’s difficult to estimate our own strengths and weaknesses, which is why it is important that you listen to feedback. But beyond making sure that you scrutinize your yearly reviews, you should make sure to seek feedback yourself from your higher-ups regularly. Don’t take it personally – being objective and prioritizing working on or around your weaknesses will speed up your development, not to mention the positive message it will send to those in charge of you.

Keep learning. If you are to climb the corporate ladder, you need to be actively involved in your industry. Keeping up with industry news and new developments will not only place you on the cutting edge, but it will also position you as someone who is interested and eager to learn, which is something that mangers like to see. You should learn as much as you can about the higher positions you are aiming for and focus on developing those skills that are necessary for them. Enrolling in industry-related courses that will expand your skill set, furthering your education and taking every chance you can to participate in seminars and conferences are great ways to become an industry expert perfect for that higher position when the time for promotion comes.

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Personal development. Those who are constantly on the grind often face the dangers of burnout. Focusing solely on your career development at the price of your work-life balance and personal life is not feasible in the long term. Only those who are masters of their mind can gain full control over their professional as well as personal lives. Whether you feel like your mindset is limiting your current potential or you simply want to improve your performance, focusing on personal development will only take you forward.Personal development can make you more confident, more resilient, more motivated, more fulfilled and ultimately, see your goals clearer. So, don’t neglect this aspect of self-improvement. Use any resource you can get your hands on, or seek out a performance coach who will help you reach new heights.

Communicate and network. Ultimately, we cannot do anything alone, so learning how to work with others effectively is paramount. First of all, clear communication is of the utmost importance. Learn how to communicate effectively and without beating around the bush. Secondly, be a good team player. Just because you’re focused on your own career journey, it doesn’t mean you cannot spare some time to mentor your colleagues who need it. Improving your work relationships will not only allow you all to work more productively, but it will also be the first step to a good network. And we all know just how important networking is in climbing the corporate ladder.

Career-driven individuals will rarely settle for a fixed position with no outlook to promotion, but the path upwards is not as clear-cut as it might seem. Stay focused on your goals, keep working on yourself both professionally and personally, show interest and initiative at all times, be eager to learn and to work well with others, and you will certainly position yourself as someone who is cut-out to be promoted.