7 Tips to Help Millennials Climb the Corporate Ladder

Millennials May Want to Consider a Career with Their Current Employer

Millennial employees discuss career success with their current employer.
••• Todor Tsvetkov/E+/Getty Images

Although job hopping appears to be the new normal for Millennials, one of the most efficient and secure ways to climb the corporate ladder is to do it within your current company. This might sound insane to the 91% of Millennials who plan to stay in a job for fewer than three years, but it can pay off. Big time.

Many people start their careers with dreams of rising to the top, but they don’t take the time to map out a real trajectory and invest in the opportunities right in front of them. Working my way up at eaHELP, from first employee to president, has taught me that you have to seize opportunities and get your hands dirty. In particular:

Keep Your Eyes Open for Opportunities

Opportunities knock, but not for long. Especially in a startup, like eaHELP was when I came on board, opportunities to rise and shine abound, but they don’t knock forever. To get noticed, you have to position yourself as someone who wants to grow within the company.

Communicating your goals to management will allow you to be an obvious choice when an opportunity comes up. At this point, I’ve worked in every position within eaHELP. This has given me ample experience and also made me a better leader, able to relate to each employee’s job - all because I jumped in and gained experience whenever I could.

Be a Learner and Don’t Pigeonhole Yourself

Truly good leaders are constantly learning. They’re the first to tell you that they don’t know everything. In fact, the more I learn the more I realize the less I know. This realization works to your advantage because when you don’t think you know everything you’re open to learning. That’s when real growth can really take place.

When I first joined eaHELP I read everything I could about the industry, even though my role was simply as a virtual assistant. The fact that I set my sights high and never limited myself to a given current title enabled me to learn more and achieve greater impact through my work. As a result, I was prepared when higher level positions opened up because I had expanded my skills and set myself up for growth.

Let Your Work Speak for Itself

When it comes to growing within your company, you should never sell yourself. Rather, your work—and your character—should say everything. At eaHELP, I had a desire to go above and beyond simply because I wanted to do great work.

This kind of commitment is what ultimately gets you noticed. For leaders looking to promote employees, identifying standouts is easier than you think because the most eligible candidates do everything with excellence. This excellence extends from work to professional conduct to everyday behavior.

Understand That No Task is Below You

“That’s not my job” has never been in my vocabulary. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my career, it’s that a can-do attitude is essential to furthering my career. As a manager, for example, if I saw that someone was overloaded or could use an extra hand with a task, I’d dig in and offer to help.

I’m still doing this today as the company president. This approach helped me to be a part of the team, not just an overseer so that I could be an ally to my employees and encourage cohesion. As an employee, it was essential for leaders to see me going beyond the scope of my own position in order to recognize me as a collaborator who wanted to grow my role.

Pay Attention to Numbers

I don’t naturally love to dive into statistics or quantifiable results, but over time I’ve learned that numbers are important—metrics matter. They can indicate what’s working just as they can help to alert you to an impending hiccup or even full-on disaster.

Data can shed unique light on a trend. If a specific number keeps dropping, for example, you can nip the problem in the bud, allowing you to get on top of issues before they start. In so doing, you can steer clear of potential pitfalls and keep your teams going in the right direction.

Communicate Clearly

My personal communication style has always been direct and to the point. From the get-go, the eaHELP team decided we were going to speak the truth no matter what; the kind truth, but the truth all the same.

It’s crucial to be considerate when communicating with others, but that doesn’t mean you have to skirt around subjects or not say what you really mean. Growing in a company requires clear communication - with your boss, your team, and your co-workers. My straightforward communication has played a crucial role in building successful relationships because no one has to guess what I need, expect or want.

That makes it easier for everyone else to deliver and do the best job they can. Clear communication sets the entire organization up for success.

Play Well With Others

At the end of the day, the reason I was promoted to president of eaHELP lies in my belief and sincere investment in teamwork. Company leaders saw that I could provide unity within the organization because of my ability to break down barriers and connect people.

It’s these connections - with my peers, colleagues, and those I managed - that ultimately made the deciding difference. I never wanted to be a disconnected leader, unfamiliar with the reality of my team and fellow employees. As a result, I understand what people in each position within the organization need in order to succeed, and I can be a facilitator to meet those needs.

It may be tempting to look outside of your own organization to find another path to success. But before you jump ship, evaluate the opportunities that you have to grow within your own organization.

If you work with a company that will help you expand your skill sets and supports you in reaching your career goals, let your current investment work to your advantage. You might find that you’ve arrived at your destination without having to travel very far.

More about Millennials