Break Through a Career Plateau and Climb to the Stars!

Employees often ask me “How can I continue advancing my career after I feel I’ve hit a career plateau?” They also tell me that they like who they work for and the work they do, but feel stagnant. Anyone who asks that question is a go-getter! How does an employee continue moving forward in his or her chosen profession?

Expand your job. A lull in your career may signal you’re ready for new challenges – not necessarily a new job. So broaden the scope of the work you do: Look for projects that highlight your particular strengths – tasks that step beyond your job description, but that you feel qualified doing or learning. The reason is when advancing your career, the skills you’ve demonstrated are often more important than the title you’ve held. Doing higher-level, more complicated work will expand your skill set and earn you kudos and new opportunities in the process.

Seek new education or training. When you feel your career is in a rut, try to find educational opportunities that re-ignite your curiosity about the world – and inspire you to achieve even more. Whether you pursue formal schooling or seek professional training through conferences and seminars, you’re sure to benefit, and so is your career.

Ask for guidance. Perhaps there’s a barrier to advancing that you can’t see. Or maybe there’s an obvious way to move forward – but it’s not immediately evident to you. In either case, when you feel stymied, seek the advice of someone you trust – someone who understands your career aspirations. It could be your supervisor, a mentor, an HR manager or even a career coach.

Speak up. Career stagnation can sometimes be fixed by speaking frankly to your manager about the situation. Make no assumptions! If managers are unaware of your views, then you haven’t given them the opportunity to help you identify new ways to grow and expand your career.

Move on. Of course, if none of the above suggestions work, you may want to consider whether there’s another job that suits you better – one that’s more in line with your future career goals. Write down all the pros and cons to keeping your current position. If the cons outweigh the pros, have the courage of your convictions to begin seeking a new position.

I hope these tips helped you as you assess your career goals.

Joan Burge


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