How to Work Your Way Out of a Dead End Job and Get a Promotion

Do you feel like you’re stuck in a dead end job with no way out? Are you looking for a way to get on the fast track to success? In the past it only took hard work and dedication to land your dream job. Today, companies take for granted that all employees are going to work hard so if you want to score a promotion you are going to have to work smarter not harder. While you won’t transition from the mailroom to the boardroom overnight, there are definitely strategies that you can employ to advance your career and find success over the long haul.

Photo by sunshinecity via Flickr

First, take some time to consider some of the reasons why you’re still at that dead end job you hate? Then, you need to take action. Here are 7 helpful hints to help you land your dream job or promotion:

7 Tips to Help You Land Your Dream Job or Promotion

1. Transfer to a different department

A change of scenery may do you good if you have been working in the same position in the same department for a few years. Sometimes the road to promotion can be blocked by senior level employees who are already entrenched in their positions. If you see a job opening in another department, apply for it. For example, say that you’re working in the A/P department and there’s an opening for an accounting assistant in the controller’s department. The job duties are very similar and you could get your foot in the door to becoming a full-fledged accountant.

2. Volunteer for the tasks that no one wants

Does your employer need someone to work an extra hour or two? Are there papers that need to be filed or contracts that need to be processed on a Saturday? Some employees do the bare minimum and hate to do any extra work that is specifically outside the scope of their job duties. One of the best ways to show how valuable you are to a company is to perform the duties that other employees try to get out of. An industrious employee that goes the extra mile is often promoted.

3. Create a new way of doing things

Lower-level employees to mid-level managers can all find a way to improve a company process. For example, you may notice that a company process is too slow or bogged down by bureaucratic red tape. Type up your suggestion and submit it to top-level management. By doing so, you are demonstrating your problem-solving skills and making your name known to company management. You are also showing impressive initiative. Companies love people that are proactive and can solve problems. By helping the company become more efficient, you are showing them just how indispensable you are to them.

4. Be open to learning

Too many employees fail to take advantage of company-sponsored events and conferences to improve themselves and their skills. Attend all training conferences that increase your knowledge base about your job function and seek to learn new skills whenever possible. For example, if you work with computer databases, you can learn a new computer program like Microsoft Access or mySQL.

Take advantage of continuing education classes. If your job will pay for you to go back and get your bachelor’s or master’s degree, do it! The more that you know, the bigger asset you are to the company. Obviously you’ll be at an advantage if you have one of the highest paying college degrees or majors, but there are also quite a few high-paying jobs that don’t require a degree at all. Nevertheless, always seek to learn more whether it’s through formal education or not.

5. Take the lead on a team project

It doesn’t matter what your job is, you can volunteer to take the lead on a project. It could be closing an account or organizing a workplace function. Chances are good that your boss is swamped and would be more than happy to have the extra help. This is your time to shine. Being a team leader shows that you can effectively communicate with and motivate other employees. It also demonstrates that you have the necessary project management skills to accomplish tasks without supervision. Promotions go to proven leaders with a track record of accomplishing tasks on their own.

6. Act as if you already have your new job

If you want to land a new job then it’s important that you act the part. Be sure to project the right image. Your attitude, actions, and appearance play a large part in how people perceive you. Dress for the job that you want, not the one that you currently have. Make sure that you always speak professionally and carry yourself in a manner befitting the job that you want.

7. Always be productive

Promotions don’t normally come overnight unless you are the boss’s son or daughter. Stay motivated and stay productive. Nothing can ruin your chances at promotion more than your boss stopping by to see you wasting valuable company time holding personal conversations or playing Solitaire. Visiting social networking sites like Facebook, Myspace, or Twitter during work hours can also do serious damage to your career advancement.

Check out the four skills that employers are looking for in any job market. Do you possess these skills to take your career to the next level?

What are some other ways to improve your career outlook and work your way out of a dead end job? Any success stories? Be sure to share in the comments section below!

About the Author

By , on Jun 25, 2010
Mark Riddix
Mark Riddix is the founder and president of New Horizons Financial Management, an independent investment advisory firm that provides personalized investing and asset management consulting. Mark is a regular contributor to Seeking Alpha and has written financial columns for Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area newspapers. Mark publishes his own financial blog, BuylikeBuffett.com and has written the ebook How To Make $2,000 A Month Online.

Leave Your Comment (6 Comments)

  1. Work life teaches you many things; I feel the right attitude to work matters a lot. Do not make any one at your work feel that you do not like the job, otherwise you might end up creating a negative impression about you. This can be a hindrance to your promotion.

  2. kt says:

    But there are tasks that nobody wants for a very good reason. God forbid that you chose to persevere through the torturous task, do it to perfection, the boss gets to know that you did it so good and decides to permanently delegate the task to you :) I read in a financial investments book about some stockbrokers that used to do tasks that they hated so badly that the boss had to transfer them to other departments! It worked most times because the brokers were hand picked and the bosses did not want to lose the talent to another firm. I am not so sure that that would work so well with the rest of us

  3. Financial bondage says:

    For the real risk takers, just quitting is an option. Of course, being debt free and having an emergency fund makes this option much easier to do.

  4. Donny says:

    I think it is important to always over deliver on your work at the job

  5. Phil says:

    Good advice. If I may add: job shadowing for other positions will help you meet people in other departments and see what other job areas are appealing.

  6. Or just jump to another firm and reset. It’s the easiest way to a promo!

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