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How to: work your way up the career ladder

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Front view portrait of four business executives sitting in a line --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

The majority of your career is a massive game of Snakes and Ladders, one in which you’re a sly pawn trying to climb the ladder and avoid sliding down a snake and back to square one. But maintaining enough momentum to keep yourself financially soluble and a rising star can be a tricky balancing act.

Because it all comes down to money in the end. You need it to positively advance your career (education doesn’t come for free after all) but you need to advance your career before you have any.

With this Catch-22 in mind, we’ve considered a few ways that you can progress in your career without having to splash too much cash. Here’s what we came up with.

Distance learning

For most people out of their early 20s, attending university fulltime is a financial impossibility. With tuition fees reaching £9,000 at most universities, saving up for a degree could put you into more debt than it’s worth.

In many cases, studying for a non-vocational degree can feel like spinning a roulette wheel and crossing your fingers. How can you possibly know where you’ll end up once you’ve graduated?

That’s why distance learning degrees are a perfect middle ground, costing you less but still providing you with a fully-accredited, high quality degree. The majority of these degrees are vocational, meaning you can take them into the workplace with you and guarantee that they’ll be valuable.

What’s more, they’re flexible. If you want to study during your lunch hour at work or on the train home, you can. Most importantly, your new qualification is likely to nab you a promotion.

Make connections

Advancing your way up the ladder is, in a cliché as old as time, about who you know not what you know. And making connections can be free if you’re smart about it.

Creating contacts has become simpler with the advent of LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network. With millions of users, many of whom are professionals at the top tier of companies, all you need is a nifty profile and the ability to converse with people online to make some invaluable contacts.

But if you prefer meeting people face-to-face, chances are there are a few networking events in your local area where you can meet superiors and peers.

If you’ve got plans to meet business connections, be sure to dress as though you were attending an interview. These meetings are about conveying the force of your personality as well as your professionalism.

But this is just a grab-bag of tips. If you can think of any other ways to slip up the employment ladder, let us know!


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