Ambitious aviation professionals will have their eye on promotion opportunities from day one in a new job. However, these days whether you are a pilot, aircraft engineer, controller or member of ground crew, promotions are not a given. Changes in the structure of companies, and lack of opportunities due to recession have taken away that guarantee. It’s more likely today for aviation employees to be managing their own career paths and that means creating your own opportunities to progress. Progression in this career will probably require jobs across several different companies.
Here are eight ways to put your career progression into action:
Ask for a mentor at work
Mentors can also be great sources for information and career guidance. Having a wise, experienced colleague on your side can really help propel your aviation career in the right direction. In fact a US study recently found that in four out of five promotions, those promoted had a mentoring relationship with someone higher in the company who helped by advocating their skills and abilities.
You might get some internal help with this as some large companies have formal mentoring programmes. However if your company does not, there are still ways you can build relationships with people in higher positions in the company. It’s certainly worth building a close, friendly bond with your line manager or other influential people you work with.
Make sure your hard work gets noticed
If no-one knows how great you are, you simply won’t get ahead. So it’s important to actively promote yourself and become a known entity within your department and even beyond. Think about what you have brought to the company and how you can regularly update your boss on achievements. While promotions are not necessarily based on your past performance, you can certainly make a much better case for a promotion by showing detailed information about your past and ongoing successes, tracked over time.
Build valuable knowledge and skills
It goes without saying that one of the best ways to land a promotion is to become a genuine expert in a particular field. You might need to learn new skills so think about taking further qualifications and become proficient at tasks that are critical to the organisation. It might be worth attending conferences so that you are more knowledgeable about the industry, or your engineering specialism. Experts also suggest that employees who want to get ahead should not only keep current with industry news and events, but to also pay attention to trends and events outside their specialism.
Extend your network
The more people who know you, and appreciate your strengths and abilities, know your value to the organisation, and recognize your ambitions, the more likely your name will be discussed when opportunities arise. You can use social media here, though be careful not to look as though you are job-hunting beyond your employer.
A key benefit of internal networking is that you will learn much more about the company if you network with people in other areas of the business.
Broaden your responsibilities
What can you do to demonstrate how keen you are in your job, and committed to the company? Volunteering to help out other departments or teams or simply asking for more responsibilities certainly increases your value within the organisation. Asking for more work shows your interest and desire to help your department and company to succeed.
Act like a manager before you are one
Earn a reputation for being dependable, professional, and cooperative. If you look like manager material you are more likely to be considered for management posts that come up. If it helps, volunteer to do presentations that are unpopular, speak at events or take on extra projects. So try and dress professionally, take the initiative whenever you can. Don’t get yourself a reputation as a clock watcher of someone who always complains. It will help to have a positive outlook and a ‘can do’ attitude even when times in the office are challenging.
Try in particular to be a problem-solver. If a difficult situation arises – say a difficult customer – be sure to come up with at least one solution before seeking your boss’s blessing for dealing with the situation. Problem-solvers are more likely than complainers to land a promotion.
Work hard as a team player
Because so much of work is now accomplished through teams – either departmental or cross-functional – it becomes even more important to share successes with your team and to avoid pointing your finger when there are failures. By proving yourself as a pivotal team player you will build your reputation and increase your value to the organisation.
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