How to Climb the Corporate Ladder with Remote Work
Are you wondering how to progress in your career while working from home? You might feel like out of sight, out of mind means you won’t have the same opportunities as those who work in person with their leaders.
But your career doesn’t need to be stuck in a rut simply because you work remotely. You do, however, need to be more intentional in your efforts. Where you might get there simply by showing up and working hard in a traditional office setting, you’ll get better results progressing remotely if you create a solid plan and vocalize your intentions.
Creating Remote Career Growth
Whether you’re looking for momentum toward a certain job title within your company or becoming marketable to change careers to your dream job, the steps to get there require the same focus.
Visualize Your Goal
Admittedly, this can be tough. We often don’t have clear insight into the exact place we want to be five, 10, or 15 years from now. And life has been known to throw a few curveballs our way. So, take this exercise as a general compass that you need to complete regardless of your remote status. You can’t move forward efficiently if you don’t know where you’re going.
Brainstorm essential aspects of the kind of life you’d like to live and how your work might support that. Maybe it’s attaining a specific title or level of responsibility. Perhaps you’d like to launch a freelance career or gain entry into a different department.
Whatever your career goals are, define the steps you need to take to reach them and then start working backward. Suppose your goal is to become the VP of Marketing. What are the interim roles and responsibilities that you need to have to be successful? Once you create a list of steps you need to take to achieve your goal, focus on checking those off one at a time.
Network Along the Way
Build your professional network by seeking out projects that overlap with other departments. Becoming as well-rounded as possible will help you stand out to leadership. It’s also beneficial as coworkers’ careers climb. Becoming known as someone diligent, friendly, and hardworking can only help you down the road.
Facilitate this remotely by attending optional company meetings. Does your company have a virtual watercooler or coffee chat? If not, consider offering to create one. How about employee engagement and state-of-the-company updates? Ensure that you not only attend these meetings but prepare engaging, well-researched questions to ask during them.
Boost Your Value
Take note of your team’s and company’s top priorities. Ask your boss what you can do to help move those initiatives forward. Make yourself available for conversations and new ideas, and encourage others to reach out to you for help. You’ll become an asset in the process and you will gain knowledge about both your role and the field at large.
Add value by adding new certifications or working on personal development. And ensure that you’re talking about those during reviews and one-on-one meetings with your leader. Once you’re an employee, the company won’t always stumble across credentials that you’re adding. Let leadership know what you’re doing to become a more significant asset.
Although it may seem scary to ask others for candid feedback on your performance and work/management style, examining yourself from various angles gives you greater insight into your strengths. It also highlights exactly where you can focus on improvement.
Tying into the tip above, ask for feedback about more than your performance. Be open about the next step in your career goals and any development you’re working on to get there. Seek guidance on becoming the best fit for the next step in the ladder.
Mind Your Personal Brand
Be conscious of how you’re perceived, both inside and outside of work. If you’re seen as irresponsible or a risky choice, that will dramatically limit your opportunities—especially if your leaders aren’t interacting with you daily to counteract that perception. Be mindful that your networking, portfolio sites, and LinkedIn profile all tell the same story about your goals.
It’s also wise to seek opportunities to cultivate your brand to a broader audience. Think of it as developing your thought leadership capabilities. This isn’t about grandstanding, it’s about offering your insights and sharing with other professionals, whether this is accomplished by speaking on panels in industry conferences, networking events, mentoring others, or getting published in a relevant blog or news article.
Find a Mentor
It can be helpful to seek out a mentor who can guide and help you further develop yourself. This person could be a more senior employee in your company or someone from another organization whose work you admire or whose role you’d like to learn more about.
Mentors are like personal advisors for your professional journey. With a mentor, you can better understand your goals and reasons for having them. Mentors are invaluable in supporting you on a path to achieving those goals.
Remote Ladders Are Still Climbable
As you create your goals and take a lay of the land, you’ll see that progressing in your remote career isn’t that much different than in a traditional office. You need to grow your value, build your personal brand, seek feedback, and vocalize your career plan. In some ways, working remotely can benefit your career growth, as you have to be very intentional and proactive rather than simply waiting for it to happen.
Regardless of how many turns your career path takes, having a plan will help you get started toward your next goal.
For more tips on addressing the unique challenges of remote work, check out our other articles on working remotely.
By Kimberli Lowe-MacAuley | Categories: Build a Remote Team
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