Is it possible to stay in entry-level jobs forever? Yes. Today I wanted to pull back the curtain on the unglamourous parts of career growth and talk about what happens when you ignore it.
It might seem like the success of some people is just a result of hard work, but the truth is, it is intentional. Career growth, personal growth, and career success, in general, takes a lot of work, and no one is going to make you do it if you don’t want to.
Last Saturday, I was at an event called “Career Day” hosted by The Financial Diet and one of the attendees mentioned in the chat that they had been in entry-level jobs for 20 years, and the reality is, that’s not so surprising. There are some people that will never get promoted because no one will care about your career more than you do.
And there is no one there checking your homework. No one tells you when to quit a job, when to ask for a promotion, when to network, etc. These are all things you can actively choose to do or not and career growth isn’t like growth in school. There is no linear path, e.g. you take a certain course, get a certain mark, and move on to a certain level. You can stay at the same level your entire career without getting promoted.
So today I wanted to really talk about the 7 reasons why you might never get promoted and how to avoid these mistakes. Let’s get started!
1) You learn skills, but never learn to master a set of in-demand skills
The job market is saturated. As a millennial, we have gone through not one, but TWO economic recessions with the 2008 financial crisis and then the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. Standing out from the crowd has been more important than ever and studies show that where you start off in your career has a huge impact on the trajectory of your career path for the rest of your life.
To have a successful career, you need skills, but the thing is, anyone can learn a skill these days. With the 24/7 resource that is the internet, anyone can learn any skill either for free through YouTube videos, blogs, or through course sites like LinkedIn Learning, Skillshare, or edX. The ability to learn a skill is ubiquitous so you can’t rely on being the only person with a certain skill anymore, you have to be able to master it.
Skill development is great! But in a world where you can learn practically ANY skill online (and with COVID it’s probably most skills now), anyone can develop a skill. However, it may not be an in-demand skill. I, like many people, have many different skills because I am multi-passionate, but not all of them are in-demand. Not all of them will pay well. I’m good at cooking. I’m good at filing. And I’m good at data analysis. I like using all these skills, but that doesn’t mean they will all pay the same amount because they don’t have the same pay in the market based on demand.
One of the most important career lessons you need to learn if you want to be successful and get promoted is you have to master an in-demand skill and it doesn’t define who you are. You are allowed to be multi-passionate, those skills and interests can be allocated to different areas of your life.
2. Not learning how to market yourself
Even the smartest, most talented, most qualified person in a job interview, might not get the job if you don’t know how to market yourself. Trust me, I have been there. As much as I want to tell you “just working hard” and “believing in yourself” will be sufficient, advancing in your career takes marketing skills. It’s important how to learn how to sell yourself, create a personal brand, and confidently communicate your skills and talent on your resume, in the job interview and when you are networking.
My coaching program really focuses on this aspect of my career because every client I’ve worked with is talented, smart, and hardworking, but it has been their marketing and confidence that holds them back. Sign up here!
3. Not choosing a career based on your mission or purpose and getting complacent
Industries change, passions change, and it’s okay for your career to change. However, your career should be based on a mission, a purpose, a goal, not necessarily what you’re “good at” or a “passion.” The reason for this is because…
i) You may not like what you are naturally good at. I’m very organized and am good at administrative tasks, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy being an administrative assistant.
ii) Passions can change and you can be multi-passionate. Chances are, you are defined by more than one thing, and your passions can change as you learn more about different interests. There may be industries that you didn’t know about 10 years ago and you can also outgrow your passions.
Instead of chasing a career title or “passion”, you need to create a career mission that motivates you to achieve. It’s very easy to get complacent in your career and that’s why people don’t get promoted because the career isn’t really serving any purpose in their life. It’s important to remember that when you truly want to grow in your career, you have to choose a mission/purpose that will keep you fueled for a long time. A truly successful career is one that spans a lifetime, and that’s why it’s important to keep learning in your career.
4. Not hiring a career coach to help save time and money
To follow up on points #2 and #3, trying to figure out what skill you want to market and what your career mission is can be time-consuming. And most people spend a lot of time and money in different industries, obtaining different degrees, and *hoping* that they will be able to figure it all out and career success will come one day. But the reality is, it’s okay to ask for help.
For the longest time, I didn’t know why people needed coaches until I started hitting ceilings in my career. I’ve always been praised in my career….but I struggled for a long time with breaking out of assistant/entry-level roles. That’s when I learned how valuable coaching can be – it allowed me to get clear on what I wanted and how to pursue it. The one thing that coaching really helped with was saving time by not staying in dead-end jobs and really accelerating my career path which I will forever be grateful for.
5. Not Networking
Networking used to be an advantage in the job search, it’s now because vital to career success. People are not limited to only connecting with people in our geographical area anymore and almost 80% of the jobs out there are not even being advertised. So by choosing not to network with your industry, you are missing out on a ton of jobs. As the workforce also shifts to work from home a lot more, networking can become more difficult which causes a lot of people to give up.
6. Not Asking Directly Asking Promotion Or For Help
It’s not easy to ask for help. As a high-achieving career perfectionist, it’s easy to want to be able to do everything on your own, but the truth is, everyone gets help in their career. One of the biggest reasons people get stuck in their careers is because they feel like they should be able to do it on their own. Hiring a coach, finding a mentor, asking for help, are all things everyone needs to have a successful career.
The other part of this is not directly asking for a promotion. I know as a career coach and from personal experience that asking for promotion can feel awkward, but it’s important to be vocal about your career goals and keep your employer accountable to them. They might now know you want to grow into a certain role if you don’t tell them!
The reason some people never get promoted is that they can never ask for it.
7. Fear of Failure
And lastly, 80% of the people will never go for their dream career and get promoted is because they are afraid to fail. When people get to a certain level of their career, they get comfortable and don’t want to move forward for fear of failure and to stay somewhere comfortable and safe.
It’s important to know that when it comes to getting promoted and advancing in your career, you need to understand that if you don’t take control of your career, it will do the steering for you. If you need help advancing your career and really creating the career confidence program that will push you forward, be sure to apply to my 1:1 coaching program!