Career mobility is the ability to climb the corporate ladder and move across job grades, departments, and positions. It’s essential to your financial wellness to have complete ownership of your skills. Being invested in your professional growth ensures you’re career trajectory isn’t limited.
It’s a challenge to separate our work from our self. For many, work is a source of income, but also an identity. So when we feel underappreciated and underpaid, it causes stress. And that stress can lead to workplace performance issues that can impact our paycheck and overall financial wellbeing.
In this guide, you’ll learn the importance of career mobility to achieve your life goals.
Why Career Mobility?
Career mobility isn’t about climbing the corporate ladder. It’s about growing in your profession by focusing your attention and efforts on enhancing your skills, gaining experiences, and expanding your network.
Many people focus on career growth and success to assess their professional well-being. Career mobility is not simply about growth in title or income but ownership of knowledge that is valuable and transferable. The idea behind career mobility is to empower you to make strategic work choices that support your income goals and professional aspirations.
Many are often led to believe that career success relies on title promotions, but often those promotions don’t equate to long-term job satisfaction or financial wellbeing. You may end up with a fancier title along with a tremendous amount of responsibilities that don’t equate to the increase in pay.
Focus on Growth, Not Title
There are workplace opportunities to grow your knowledge and skills that make you a more valuable member of any employer. Most often workers don’t want to learn new skills or gain experiences that don’t fit their current job description. I’ve heard many say, “I’m not paid to do that.” And rightfully so, they may not be paid to do the job of a supervisor, but the experience of doing so may open doors for a future supervisor role within the company or externally.
- Asking for specific responsibilities outside your current job requirement that make you more valuable
- Request to job shadow an employee in a role or position you’d want to have one day
- Find a mentor within the company
- Ask your HR department about the professional development benefits offered. Look into workplace seminars, certification programs, continuing education benefits, and tuition reimbursements.
Focus on Self Development
Find a mentor to help you get to the next level. A mentor is someone who has achieved the goals you envision for yourself. They are usually 5-10 years ahead of you. A mentor isn’t a coach that gives you pep talks or gets the best out of you. A mentor is going to share their knowledge and open doors for you.
Also, consider the following:
- Attend professional development
- Read books, listen to podcasts, and watch videos
Many may often think that career success relies on an upward trajectory but often the raise does not equate to the additional responsibilities and stress.
Skills to do the job effectively in one department can be transferable to another
Can you take your skills to apply to other types of work within your company, within your industry, or an entirely new industry?
Career mobility may mean a job promotion, lateral move into a department, or a position with a different company. It may also mean having the skills or experience to start a business.
When you know you can leave a job you dislike for another job because you have the skills, experience, and network, you’re less stressed about feeling stuck. It gives you options. And those options foster a sense of freedom. You may not be ready to quit a job indefinitely (like with financial independence) but you open the doors for more work options.
Learn more: Surprising Reasons Why You Didn’t Get the Job
Think Career, Not a Job
But before you get to that point or if you’re already there, I encourage you to take a step back to reassess the job situation.
When thinking about your career, it’s important to strategize and plan ahead. I know it can be hard when you feel you’ve already hit a wall. But, by taking a step back you may discover an opportunity.
A colleague once shared how unhappy he was at his job. He no longer cared and chuckled at how he would go in and out of work without anyone noticing. Well, someone noticed and a few months later he was let go.
I’ve held jobs where I no longer cared for the work I was doing. I’ve also been frustrated by the lack of upward mobility or wanted more pay. However, unlike my friend, I chose not to slack at work. Instead, I created a plan to get the job I wanted and the pay I wanted. By doing so, I gained new skills, experiences, and expanded my network with employees in different professions. These were assets I could use to grow within the company or take elsewhere.
- Career Tips to Become More Valuable in Your Profession and to Employers
- How to Ask for a Raise and Get It
I learned how increasing my value by attaining more skills and experiences would make me a valuable employee. If my current employer couldn’t recognize my value, then with my enhanced skills, I certainly could take them to another company.
Steps to Make Yourself Valuable in Your Profession (and Employers)
Follow these steps to make yourself more valuable to your employer and your future career.
1. Change your mindset
The perception of our work environment plays a key role in how we feel and perform at work. When you are unhappy nothing an employer might do will change how you feel. It’s important to improve your mindset for growth.
2. Speak with your manager
This may be hard for many but speaking with your manager about your career aspiration is important. Let your manager know about your plan to grow within the company. Ask them about a career development track or job shadowing opportunities.
3. Update your resume
Don’t wait until you are searching for a new job to update your resume. It’s hard to remember all the accomplishments and skills you’ve attained through the years. The key is to update your resume yearly or as accomplishments happen.
4. Update your LinkedIn profile
Recruiters hunt for top talent online and LinkedIn is a go-to-place. At least once a month, I’m contacted by recruiters about job opportunities. Update your LinkedIn profile every quarter. Make sure your profile reflects your current skills, experience, and accomplishments.
5. Know the job market
Even if you love your job, it’s good to know what new skills are important to remain at the top of your profession. Read trade publications and professional blogs. Join LinkedIn groups related to your profession, career, and industry. This gives you access to up-to-date information and an opportunity to network.
6. Increase your skills
Never stop learning. Always seek to find ways to increase your expertise in your chosen field. Get to know what is happening within your profession. Take advantage of all employer workshops and educational opportunities. Some employers pay for certifications and continuing education programs.