What are the best practices for career growth?

June 16, 2015, 6:31 PM UTC
Photograph by Xavier Bonghi — Getty Images

Answer by Ian McAllister on Quora.

Some movement makes sense. Occasionally I see resumes where candidates have been with one company for 10+ years. If they’ve steadily risen over time then that’s a plus. If they’ve been in the same role for 4-plus years then I ask myself why. Being a job hopper is worse. If you’ve been at four different companies in the past four years I’m unlikely to make an investment in you hoping you’ll break the streak at my company.
Here are a couple general best practices for career growth:

  1. Bloom where you’re planted – Kick ass at your current job. That’s the best path to career growth within your company, and the best way to demonstrate results if moving to another. Don’t just work to eliminate your weaknesses, make sure you have special talents that others don’t, and that your company couldn’t easily hire for.
  2. Strive – If you can manage to kick enough ass at your current job then you can try to carve out some time to take on additional, more senior responsibilities, or find other ways you can demonstrate greater leverage and value for your company. If two employees are equal today, the one that strives will have higher long-term career potential. Make sure you are striving, and that your management knows you’re striving.
  3. Network – Get to know key people within your company and in your industry. Don’t randomly reach out and ask them to get coffee with you. Figure out what you have to offer others and then use it.
  4. Make calculated career changes – If you know where you want to be in your career in 5 years then you stand a better chance of getting there. Plot a course from here to there. The appropriate course will include gaining new skills, achieving certain career milestones, and may include changing roles or companies. You may have to take several intermediate steps to get from here to there. For example, I did client-server consulting in the late nineties, moved into startup development in 2000, then into architecture/dev management, then into product/program management, then into general management and I’m now adding more business development activities. Each move was calculated.

This question originally appeared on Quora: What are the best practices for career growth?

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