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How do you progress your career?

March 16, 2021
Gareth Whyatt
How do you progress your career?

We recently ran a poll on our LinkedIn to gauge what is important to the modern workforce. To be honest, due to the pay cuts and redundancies experienced over the last 12 months we thought it would centre around one thing – MONEY.  

That’s right, we thought cold, hard cash was going to be the be-all and end-all of today’s employees. We hold our hands up – we were wrong. By quite some margin in fact: 

  • 42% said that they look for employers that offer flexible working 
  • 35% reported that clear and consistent career progression was important 
  • 19% look for a competitive salary 
  • 4% want benefits like profit share and healthcare 


It seems that enforced remote working has made many realise that this offers a more attractive work/life balance. These results also indicate that this balance, and new way of working, may have led to individuals realising that they want more from their career, and career progression is particularly important.  

It also tells us that these benefits are overtaking the importance of competitive salaries and other financial rewards.  


What is career progression? 

 It’s really quite simple. Career progression or development refers to an individual furthering their career prospects and climbing the ladder through being promoted or actively seeking out roles that offer the next step in their career. 

Progressing in your career can instil a sense of purpose, value and achievement, improving confidence, capabilities and self-assurance which in turn, helps individuals in decision-making in their new roles 

Career progression should be taken seriously by employers too. By offering clear progression paths, employee turnover rate drops, leading to cost savings when it comes to recruitment, while also increasing the motivation and productivity of the workforce.  

But how can you progress your career? Our expert team of recruitment consultants share their experience. 


How to progress your career. 

 According to The Sterling Choice 

We asked the team to answer, ‘What is the best piece of advice you would give to candidates looking for the next position to progress their career?’, here is what they said: 


Why do you want to move to progress your career? 


It’s important that individuals make sure they understand the reasons they feel they need to move to progress their careers. From my experience, some candidates feel that the only way they can progress is by moving jobs – rather than looking at the bigger picture or having conversations internally.” Nick  

Many assume that in order to climb the ladder and take the next step, they must look outside of the business or organisation they are currently in. It’s important to identify the reasons that you want to progress your career – 

  • Do you want a higher salary? 
  • Are you ready for more responsibility? 
  • Is there any area that you want to specialise in? 
  • Do you want perks such as remote working, travel and other benefits that comes with senior positions? 
  • Do you feel your current position or employer is limiting your potential? 

Once you have acknowledged what it is that is that is fuelling your decision to progress, it’s worth discussing the options that are available to you with your current employer, you may be pleasantly surprised at what can be achieved.  


Want to learn more about how we can help you to further your career? Get in touch with the team today: Progress my career 


 Does your personal life support career changes right now? 

Make sure it is the right time in your personal life to embark on furthering your career.” Hannah 

While many people try their hardest to keep their personal and professional lives separate, they inevitably bleed into each other. Like it or not, personal issues and circumstances can impact, and hinder, your efforts to progress your career. Research has found that 47% of employees admit that their personal lives can affect their performance at work.  

If you are experiencing trauma or disruption in your personal life, you may find yourself feeling out of character. Issues such as problems focusing, anxiety, stress or finding it difficult to manage your emotions may work against you when trying to reach the next step in your career.  

To successfully achieve progression, your personal circumstances should be smooth, leading to you feeling content, and ready to focus on the next challenge. 


Proactivity and willingness speak volumes. 

Research the qualifications that will aid your growth, always volunteer to be part of additional projects and constantly go above and beyond. Dan 

Going the extra mile can be a fast-track to success. If you are thinking ahead and being strategic, or following a plan, when it comes to career progression – there are a number of tactics you can implement to demonstrate your willing and committed traits, while also gearing you up to secure progression.  

Taking steps such as: 

  • Seeking out a mentor. 
  • Volunteer to be a part of special projects.
  • Don’t be a 9-5 person – if it requires extra effort, put it in!
  • Asking for feedback consistently and using it constructively.
  • Setting some goals and knowing the steps required to achieve them. 
  • Become an industry expert through research and education. 
  • Honing your personal brand. Take your knowledge and expertise and make it known. 
  • Make connections through networking groups, professional platforms liked LinkedIn and even social networking platforms like Twitter. 


 Communicate your ambition from the get-go. 

Be clear with your ambition with the client, be open to any sector and shift. When applying for these roles make sure you learn everything you can about the employer. Matt 

Whether you are speaking to recruiters or employers make it known that you have ambitions and are motivated to progress your career in the coming months and years. There is of course, the right way to do this – being sincere, authentic and energetic, rather than aggressive. You should also have learnt al you can about the company at hand and be confident they can facilitate your ambition.  

At interview, communicate your ambitions, and time frame if you have one. Why you want to achieve this, how you think this company can support this, what steps have you taken to be successful in your ambition already (using example such as the above)? 


Honour your achievements. 

Put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes & think about what would make you stand out. For example, being able to speak through achievements. Gianni 

To quote the age-old adage – actions speak louder than words. If you look at the hiring process from a hiring manager or recruiter’s perspective, words only have so much impact. However, if you can speak through steps you have taken, obstacles you have overcome and your achievements – as well as mistakes you have made – as detail what you have learnt or changed as a result, you will be remembered as a motivated and accountable individual. 


What is accountability and why is it so important? Read our blog: Accountability & value-based interview questions. 


Consider a side-step, as well as a step-up. 

It is great when people have set plans for their careers, however, allow some flexibility – sometimes a horizontal move can really bolster your overall skills and experience and can be just as good a move as an upwards step. Elisha 

Horizontal career moves can pay-off in the long-term, leading to further progression. By opting to step across, rather than up, you can often find that you are being presented with an opportunity to broaden and deepen your technical and specific skills and competencies. This will make you a stand-out candidate when you make a vertical move. 


We understand that wanting to progress your career, but not knowing where to start can be overwhelming. Our team of recruitment experts have a wealth of experience when it comes to the world of careers, and are on hand to discuss your experience, skills and ambitions. Contact a member of the team today and take the next step in your career.  





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About The Author

Gareth Whyatt

After 12 years’ experience within the industry predominantly focusing on Operations and Supply Chain, founding The Sterling Choice has provided me with the opportunity to take a step back and focus on my passion for developing people and teams! As the self-proclaimed Head of Training I love seeing people develop and grow through the recruitment ranks and ultimately achieving both their personal and business goals.

For me The Sterling Choice is all about fun, results and collective success

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Our in-house team is highly experienced in placing professionals into the Food, FMCG and Engineering sectors. We work with leading organisations across the globe.
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