Moving Up The Ladder Without Missing A Rung

Other articles in this series focus on the fine art of searching for the job you want and negotiating an offer that will make you proud.

Now let’s take a look at things you can do, once you are well and truly employed, to help you increase your visibility, grow into other positions, and protect your career.

First and foremost, of course, is to be the company’s best employee. While across-the-board excellent performance is not a 100 percent guarantee that you won’t get caught in a major downsizing, certainly a company will think long and hard about releasing its top process engineer or biochemist or applications scientist.

Of course, what makes the top engineer will depend on the particular corporate culture. You’ll have to observe how everyone else performs, then figure out how you can perform better, smarter, and more efficiently – without alienating those around you.

Welcome every opportunity

To that end, take advantage of every opportunity (company paid or not) to improve your knowledge and skill set. Certainly, if the company offers tuition reimbursement (total or partial) for an advanced college degree, jump at the chance even if it means putting your social life on hold.

In the same vein, take advantage of every seminar, symposium, and other continuing education opportunity. (And every once in a while, broaden your interests by learning about something fun that is NOT job related. There’s an advantage to being well-rounded.)

Do the jobs that no one else wants to do, at least occasionally. There’s no future in becoming the department doormat, but your staying late (without grousing) to finish an especially urgent report or experiment will surely be noticed.

Go the extra mile

Go the extra mile to give good service to clients, both internal and external. The scientist who is gracious to the ingredient tech who has worked extra hard on a project is appreciated . . . as is the rep who really listens to his client’s concerns.

Dressing for success is not a new concept, but it certainly bears repeating. It’s not that you must spend your whole salary on “work clothes.” But appearances do count, and there’s no excuse for not wearing clean, well-pressed suits and dresses on the job, or for wearing sling-back sandals on a snowy day.

Keep you domestic problems out of the office, as much as humanly possible. Of course, if there’s a major illness that calls you away frequently, the company must be apprised of the situation. But keep fights with your spouse or children at home.

Take stock of your paperwork on a regular basis, and keep your workspace clean and tidy. It’s important to maintain a professional image at all times; floundering in a sea of classic bond is not professional.

Be ethical and honest

In the rare instance of a dispute with a coworker or superior, you must behave in strict accordance with company policy. If it is necessary to register a formal complaint, keep a low profile. Do you really want to be the subject of everyone’s e-opinion?

Avoid any hint of impropriety with company money. Keep meticulous expense account records, and don’t order surf and turf unless you’re entertaining customers.

A great way to meet people at every level in your company, at the same time you’re increasing your visibility, is through sports, especially on company-sponsored teams but also through community activities such as coaching Little League. If you’re not an athlete, maybe the team could use a scorekeeper or a cheerleader.

Whether you’re a candidate or a client, we’d love to hear from you!