Climbing the Corporate Ladder

Climbing the Corporate Ladder

As I mentioned last week, I’ve recently met with many people who either were looking for job search advice or tips on climbing the corporate ladder. Since we shared job search advice last week, let’s now discuss climbing the corporate ladder.

Ironically, the first email I read this morning was from Angela Copeland, a friend and career coach who writes a weekly newsletter called “Copeland’s Corner” (subscribe via and you'll get a free copy of her e-book, "Breaking The Rules & Getting The Job"). Her topic was “Speak up and ask for what you want!” Highlighting the power of taking initiative and learning how to share your own story, Copeland was on point with this second paragraph: “Ever wonder how everyone else keeps getting promotions? Opportunities don't fall from the sky. The reason your colleagues get promoted is because they've decided to be their own advocate. They're not waiting on someone else to tell them they can do something. They're doing it.”

Copeland is right! Climbing the corporate ladder and earning promotions are results of initiative and taking action – doing good inside and outside your workplace, during and after work hours. I look at corporate initiative as one of two things: 1) Raising your hand to take on a challenging project or a task your boss does not enjoy, or 2) Doing something that makes your boss or company look good, either internally or externally in the community. For it to count, these cannot be things normally associated with your job description. These are new opportunities for you to add value, showcase your leadership and drive, stand out, and exceed expectations!

Taking on challenging tasks can be as simple as asking your boss for a chance to help or noticing a problem and taking action. Doing something that makes your company look good can be accomplished through community service, like volunteering or serving on a board. Every company loves seeing their employees give back; and customers likewise enjoy seeing companies engaged. This is one reason why community service is so important to your professional brand, as well as your upward career mobility.

Taking action isn’t enough, though. As Copeland says, you have to “speak up!” Share the good you’re doing in the community on social media and around the workplace. Encourage others to join in. Keep your boss updated. After all, the more you take off their plate and the better you make the company look, the more you control your own destiny!  

Memphis Partners

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