Advancing in Your Career

People often look forward to the day they earn a promotion at their company or are able to advance their career somehow. Sometimes, though, finding the right path to a promotion or a good career change isn’t always easy. Fortunately, careers in hospitality offer plenty of opportunities for growth.

Earning a Promotion

“Promotions are not a given,” Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D., the founder of Quintessential Careers, wrote. In today’s work world, you’ll have to put forth some effort and prove that you deserve the advancements you want.

Strive to get results in your work. Your chances of earning a promotion are greater if you have some evidence to support your request for a one. Keep a record of what you do that helps the company and shows your commitment to the organization. This is not a time to be overly modest, Hansen continued. Keep in contact periodically with the people who have the authority to move you up the company ladder. Try to bond with your employer.

Speak to Someone Who Can Help

If your supervisor or your boss doesn’t know you want a promotion, there’s not a huge chance the advancement will just come naturally. Make time to chat with your boss about your career plans. If he or she knows of upcoming opportunities, or if advancement options are already available, people above you in the company could start helping you to make your move. Your employer can also help offer a more objective opinion of what tasks you may or may not be ready to assume within the company.

Get Training

Be honest with yourself. If you’ve got your eye on a job in your company that requires skills you don’t have, now is not the time to ask for a promotion. Consider taking some classes online or enrolling in courses at a local college or university. Do you need to earn a professional certification? Could you benefit from learning some leadership skills? Assess what is required for the job you want and take the steps you need to get there. It’s possible, again, that your employer may be able to help you work on your career goals but you need to take primary responsibility for your career path.

Be Honest

Sure, a pay raise would be nice but are you sure you are ready and willing to accept additional responsibility within your company? Do you fully understand what comes with the job into which you’d like to work your way some day? For example, would the increased responsibility pull you away from your family more and are you willing to accept that consequence?

Remember that it sometimes takes several career moves to reach your ultimate goal. If upward mobility isn’t currently possible where you work, a lateral move may be necessary to put you in a position for growth later, Hansen explained. Pace yourself and stay focused on the bigger picture. “You’re unlikely to jump multiple rungs on the corporate ladder in a single move,” Robert Half International, a specialized staffing firm, wrote for MSN Careers. “So keep your eye on the position you want to assume eventually and focus on the steps, even if they seem small, that will allow you to get there.”

Your Professional Network

No matter where you are in your career, a professional network is always important. Networking is a “process of connecting with people in your profession to develop positive relationships,” Harvard’s GSD Career Services explained. The contacts you meet are people to whom you can turn for tips about job openings and changing trends within your industry and who can help with your job search at any point in your career.

But who should you include in your network? Consider these tips for building a network in hospitality careers.

People You Already Know

Advancing in Your Career

The contacts you already have, whether you are a seasoned professional or a new college graduate, can make a great start for your professional network. If you are a young graduate particularly, you might think your network is limited. Start with family and friends you know and even past employers and colleagues if you think someone could help you start finding the job you want. If your school or academic program has a contact center for alumni, try there too. Be sure to let people know you are looking for work and what you’re hoping to find. Ask if they know anyone who could put you in touch with employment possibilities.

A Mentor

Mentors are people you admire for the success they have achieved and because you have similar aspirations. Learn from their successes and their mistakes, Forbes.com suggested, and carefully consider the advice they offer. A mentor’s relationship with you will likely be longstanding.

An Industry Insider

Forbes.com described an industry insider as “someone in your chosen field who has expert-level information or access to it. This person will keep you informed of what’s happening now and what the next big thing is.” When you have good ideas about your work, it’s a wise move to run through them with this contact.

A Realist and a Visionary

Different people are good to include in your personal circle for the influence they can have on your viewpoints. Visionaries are people who will help you to think big and to map out a plan for yourself. They are good at helping you change your thinking and life direction. A realist is a “person who will help you keep it real,” Forbes.com said. They will challenge you to actively pursue your dreams, rather than just wish for them.

Online Tools

Remember the power of the Internet as you continue to construct your professional network. Tools such as LinkedIn and even Facebook can be useful resources for getting in touch with other members of your industry and building valuable contacts. Both websites boast millions of users. While LinkedIn arguably has a more professional focus than Facebook, Boris Epstein, the CEO and Founder of BINC, a professional search firm, noted in a Mashable post that Facebook’s user numbers are considerably higher. The opportunity for finding good contacts is there if you learn to keep your personal online life separate from your professional life.

Final Thoughts

“Don’t ask for a job,” Harvard’s GSD Careers page explained. “Instead, seek advice.” People will be more likely to help you if you ask for their thoughts on securing work; they will guide you to someone they know who could help if they think you are a good fit for a position.

Keep up your professional networking even if you aren’t looking for work. Not every job is advertised, so you could find a great opportunity when you least expect it.

Last Updated: 05/23/2014

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