The Career Ladder: Getting Yourself To The Top – by Jade Waddy

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We’ve all heard of a career ladder, but what steps do we need to take to reach the top? It’s all well and good giving people a ladder to climb, but what use is it without the first couple of rungs? Here are some tips on how to lift yourself off the ground and progress through your career.

Unemployment

This is where we all start and it’s usually the most challenging goal to accomplish. Plucking up the courage to say that you’re ace even with no experience is a daunting task, but confidence is everything. Putting yourself out there is what you need to do, handing out CVs to anywhere and everywhere so that you can secure an income. It’s not ideal, but life isn’t always ideal. You need to put up with some boring jobs to gain the experience to apply and work in others. In the meantime you should consider doing some volunteer work.

Volunteering

This is a great way to gain experience whilst you’re hunting around for jobs. You will be able to show your commitment to job hunting, in addition to proving yourself to be a worthy candidate as you are willing to work for free to gain the experience. It can also help to bulk up your CV so you appear to be an experienced applicant, but ensure you’re always truthful. Never lie on your CV, make sure every date and time of your work experience is correct and relevant.

Apprenticeship

These are one step above volunteering as it is paid work, just not as much as a full-time job. The minimum wage for an apprentice in the UK is £2.68 an hour, but it’s important to remember that you will achieve a qualification at the end of it. However, be warned, some companies will create an apprenticeship scheme with little reward and purely for their own gains. Choose reputable companies that offer more than just basic job knowledge: you’re there to learn specific hands-on skills whilst you work.

Minimum Wage Job

If you’re lucky you might be kept on after an apprenticeship, work experience placement or volunteer work and this will see your progress to a minimum wage job. You may even use your experience to secure a job somewhere else off your own steam. Once you’ve acquired your job you need to make sure that you’re always hitting targets and keeping your employer happy. It’s standard for a company in the UK to have a 13-week period where you can be reviewed, if they feel you’re not right for the job or are not passionate enough they have every right to end your employment with them. So work hard!

Promotion

Once you’ve dazzled your employers you could see yourself being promoted to a supervisor, assistant manager or even a fully-fledged manager role! If this is the case then don’t stop there: if it’s a job you’re happy with and are passionate about then keep working hard and aim for the very top. If it’s not something you’re overly passionate about then perhaps you should consider looking for other employment, but don’t let this affect your current job as you’ll need to show how you’ve handled this senior position effectively. Employers are more likely to take you on if you’re clearly trustworthy and good at your job.

Self-employment

This is more like a platform at the top of a step ladder, it’s not a rung as such as you can decide whether to work for other people or work for yourself: it’s a 50/50 financial leap. If you’re considering starting up your own business then you need to make sure that you’ve got an excellent idea behind you, ask friends and family what they think of it to gain different perspectives. You also need an in-depth business plan as it will provide you with a safety net before you invest money into your business. Your plan can let you know how viable your idea is and how you can make your money. If you struggle financially then you can invest in a small business loan, they’re not as scary as they sound.

So there you have it, the career ladder. Viewing your career development in this way will help to inspire and motivate you: never give up as we’re all able to do exactly what we want in life. If you’re still not sure then you can always talk to career advisors, they’re extremely helpful and can point you in the right direction.

AUTHOR BIO: Jade Waddy is an experienced writer with an NOCN Level 3 in journalism. She writes on all manner of subjects but specialises in careers and business, working on behalf of Merchant Money.

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