Early career promotion sounds juicy but learn how to digest it first

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Gone are the days when individuals used to wait for a good number of years to seek a promotion and climb up the corporate ladder. Now, youngsters are not reluctant to step up to the plate and do what is necessary to take on greater responsibilities and get their efforts recognised.

Such efforts during the early stages of your career journey can help lay a strong foundation for the years ahead. But young professionals must understand the benefits and challenges associated with an early career promotion and also the strategies to successfully land and manage the additional responsibilities.


Reasons to seek an early career promotion

Promotion happening early in the career doesn’t just lead to immediate recognition but also provides opportunities for skill development, says Sachin Alug, CEO, NLB Services. While such a development proves a candidate’s capabilities and hard work, he says a promotion in the early stages can also significantly boost confidence and allow one to work harder, leading to continued growth. In a nutshell, he says, financial rewards and career advancement follow, along with access to specialised skill development opportunities.

Elaborating on the opportunities one can grab through an early career promotion, Rachna Taranath, Head of Human Resources, MassMutual India, a GCC of MassMutual US, says an elevation in position at work opens the door for networking with leadership and creates space for negotiations. It also gives enhanced visibility into strategic planning. Apart from these, she says, such candidates can also get to explore more learning opportunities and develop their career trajectory with programmes like higher education, leadership programmes.

Skills and qualities employers value when considering an early career promotion

While individuals have to prove their abilities to present themselves as worthy of promotion at every stage of their career, it becomes even more important during the early stages of career development. This is because most freshers would still not have got a good grasp of the nuances in the work and employment landscape. At this point, they have to display a bunch of skills and abilities to sway the employer’s decision in their favour.

Talking about the kind of skills and qualities employers particularly demand while considering a young professional for a promotion, Alug says they often value leadership potential, problem-solving and critical thinking capabilities, communication skills, professionalism, adaptability and commitment to continuous improvement. Individuals who show immense hard work, take initiative to solve problems, adapt to the changing environment and communicate intelligibly get the chance to open the door of early career promotion, he adds.At the same time, Taranath says individuals climbing the career ladder are expected to develop a bird’s eye view of the organisation and the market. They should develop the ability to see the bigger picture, stay ahead of the curve, and look at things from the point of view of business. Staying aware of market trends and skills is just as crucial for being considered for an early jump in your career.

Some potential challenges

Setting yourself up for an early career promotion comes with its own set of challenges. In Alug’s opinion, gaining recognition and visibility, especially in a larger hierarchical structure, can be difficult for some individuals. Plus, workplace biases can hinder an individual’s progress substantially.

Securing a promotion sometimes puts individuals in a situation where they feel under pressure to devote excessive time and effort to the workplace. Maintaining a work-life balance during these times could pose a massive challenge, he says.

Adding to these, Taranath says competition from other contenders, especially those who are more experienced, can act as a huge obstacle while seeking an early career promotion. Having said that, she suggests candidates set themselves apart through their work and put their unique differentiators on display. This will make employers understand that there are qualities besides tenure or time that may be more valuable in a role.

Strategies to successfully position yourself for an early career promotion

Both experts offer numerous strategies that young professionals can employ to present themselves as ideal candidates for a promotion during the initial stages of their career journey. The first step is to analyse your performance to determine your track record of success, they say. This will make it easier to give a detailed picture of your achievements and valuable contributions to the manager or the employer.

Next, they suggest driving your focus towards improving the technical acumen and soft skills to secure a better position by taking real-time ownership of new projects. Taking risks and challenges and voicing your opinions in a respectful and thoughtful manner can help convey that you are ready to take on the challenges of the next level.

Employers highly value individuals who take the initiative to weave new narratives rather than follow the footsteps of others.

Another important piece of advice they have is to build strong relationships with stakeholders within the organisation, including colleagues, mentors and leaders. This can make you also a leader. Lastly, staying true yourself and embracing authenticity at every step of the journey is very important to guarantee success, they add.

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