Feeling Stuck? Tips for career advancement and professional development

The pursuit of career advancement can be a long and arduous process. You might feel stuck where you are. Maybe a pay rise is out of reach, a new position seems impossible to find, something always seems to get in your way, and usually, due to corporate speak politeness, people are unwilling to give feedback on why. It can be very frustrating.

Actively pursuing professional development can help this. You can gain new skills and experience, gain knowledge and marketability and stand out in a rapidly changing job market, or simply gain more job satisfaction.

If you’re having trouble finding that next move in career advancement, take a look at our tips.

Set Clear Goals

You can’t work towards anything if you’re working towards nothing. It’s easy to slip into comfort of where you are and decide you’ll just jump if the opportunity comes. The opportunity isn’t likely to come if you’re not looking. It’s time to set goals and stick to them.

Clearly define your career aspirations and desired roles. Create a professional development plan with specific, achievable goals. Do you want a new job, or a new position? Better salary where you are or elsewhere? More experience and responsibility? And then how do you reach those goes in-house or elsewhere? Identify the skills, certifications, or experiences needed to reach your targets.

Build Your Skills

Maybe you don’t have the required qualifications to take that next step, then it’s time to go get them. This doesn’t mean you have to go back to university, however that is an option. Take advantage of training programs, courses, and workshops offered by your employer or external providers to see where you can improve your skillset. Seek out opportunities to learn new technologies, software, or methodologies relevant to your field.

And don’t underestimate soft skills. Develop more soft skills such as communication, leadership, and problem-solving to stand out in the job market.

Expand Your Network

And the best way to find new opportunities is to find more friends – networking. Attend industry events, conferences, and meetups to connect with professionals in your field. That way, you can scratch backs that scratch yours. Be sure to put yourself forward as someone who has something they need. Leverage online networking platforms like LinkedIn to build relationships and stay informed and join professional associations or organizations to access resources and networking opportunities.

Seek Mentorship

The first friend you can make might be within your own organisation. Find a mentor who can provide guidance, advice, and support for your career advancement journey. Take notes to learn from their experiences, gain valuable insights, and benefit from their expertise. People who have perhaps been in the position you are now might have insight that you might not have considered.

Take on Challenging Projects

Additionally, you might want to look around your organisation and see where you can be of use. Put yourself forward for stretch assignments or cross-functional projects that will expose you to new skills and perspectives on top of making you look good to higher ups, which can only help your career advancement. Seek opportunities to lead or manage projects, developing your leadership abilities and allow yourself to step out of your comfort zone and embrace challenges that foster growth.

Showcase Your Achievements

Don’t forget to update your CV as you go through your career advancement journey. Update your LinkedIn and any other relevant social media profiles to highlight your skills, accomplishments, and professional development efforts. You might even want to start a portfolio. Depending on the industry you’re in, this can be a website or even a professional social media profile, like the graduates that are turning their Instagram profiles into portfolios. There’s nothing wrong with showcasing your work and achievements.


It is important to take an active role in your professional growth and career advancement in order to not see the years go by and you’re still in the same place. Ask yourself the same cliched question every interviewer asks: Where do you see yourself in five years?

Career advancement a matter of continuous learning and improvement, so get your head around the idea that you will be working hard on top of working hard. However, investing in your professional development is an investment in your future success.

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