Recently, I wrote about the importance of keeping your resumé up to date and current with trends. This is all relevant as I am currently preparing content specific to advancement in employment. I would say another important aspect to advancement in employment is knowing your current market value. Is your current organization valuing you at an accurate level? Not every position has the same mobility or ability for advancement, and nor does everyone have the need to move up.
Before you begin this process, you should think about whether you are happy with your current role in your business or organization. Do you believe that you bring a greater value to your organization than your current role? Would you be willing to move to another organization? Would you be willing to move geographically? There are a lot of factors that relate to this matter. You don’t have to be willing to move organizations, but there is always a chance that you will find something that is hard to decline. If you have a family, would your family be willing to uproot for the new opportunity?
If you are in a more general field, there may be many positions that suit your qualifications in your area. If you are in a very specialized field or position, you might have to move outside of your region to advance. For example, I work in a very specific area of my field. My career path would most likely include a move due to my specialization. Over the past years, I have been contacted by numerous organizations specific to my current and past skill set. All of these positions would have involved a move. For my wife and me to decide to move, it would take a very special position that brings us closer to our goals. Oh wait, I am totally bringing action planning into this. Yes, I have objectives with time periods set in plan toward my overall goals.
When determining the option of moving geographic locations, you might consider these factors:
- What areas, cities, or geographical regions would you be willing to live in?
- The next consideration would deal with research on the organization. Is the organization stable?
- Does the organization suit your values?
- Would the new position offer a better quality of life?
- Would the cost of moving and possible salary change reflect an increase in salary and / or position?
- Consider the cost of living in areas; this is a very important factor. Cost of living can vary by large amounts. If you live in a low cost area and move to a high cost area, there would be a necessity to make more money to maintain a similar life style.
- Any financial considerations, like housing.
- Would you be uprooting your family?
- Many people might value their current support network, and giving that up may be a big loss.
- Transportation could be a large factor, the availability and cost of transportation in an area.
Another factor to consider would be, your willingness to take a pay cut for an advancement in level. This may seem a bit strange, but I have done this. I moved from New Jersey where I made more, even with the cost of living difference, and I took a position that brought me to a much higher position. I was willing to take that sacrifice for a step toward my goals for the future. Not everyone has that ability, but it is another option for consideration. At this point in my career, I wouldn’t be willing to sacrifice salary for an increase in position.
Back to the main point of this post, determining your market value takes some research and time. This means you will be working on this in the evening, weekends, lunch breaks, or during time off. You can research current positions that are open, apply or not apply. Some positions will not offer the pay range from the start, and that would mean actually inquiring or applying for a position. That is why you must be prepared for the possibility of moving positions for the right opportunity. You never know what is out there until you start exploring. Again, you don’t have to take the position, but you should always be willing to listen. Most employment specialists will tell you it is important to keep your resumé up to date and practice your interviewing skills. Interviewing is something that needs to be practiced.
You don’t want to burn any bridges by doing this too often; all of this should be done at a point where you feel it is the right time. I would also ask close trusted friends for their outside perspective. Sometimes, it is hard to truly judge our own situation, or we are not seeing it accurately.
Once that you believe you have a general idea of your current or possible market value, you have to generate your justification or sales pitch on why you should be advanced. At some organizations they are more willing to promote someone, even without an open position. At other organizations, it might not be as possible, and it would require waiting for the appropriate opening. During my career, I have been open with supervisors and management about my goals for the future. I want them to see me as a person who has aspirations for more than my current role. If there is no vision for your advancement, than you have a problem. I can tell you that, I pay very close attention to this. I make sure to ask about the possibility of advancement in the future. Again, not everyone is looking for that, and not every employer is looking for that in an employee. I will tell you that some employer just want a person who fits into a position like a piece of a puzzle. Not every position will offer the ability for upward mobility, and that may be a consideration for you.
In some cases an employer may misrepresent the opportunity for advancement as well, and that is when asking persons who work there about their opinions. There are times when this appropriate and others when it is not. This would fall under doing your research. It is a lot easier when you have a contact who works for the organization.
The CareerConnect Blog offers a lot of other posts that provide employment advice, but you can also check out the November issue of AccessWorld for a recap on my favorite employment related blog posts. Also, CareerConnect is packed with all kinds of employment advice. Don’t under estimate your market value!