If you want to move up the ladder, the first step may not be asking for the new role just yet. Many of the employees at AdRoll attribute their success with moving up in their company to one simple detail: mastering their core role.
Before you can take the next step, you need to do your current job with confidence, showing your managers that you’re ready. “To position yourself for a career move, first you have to really excel in your core role and then focus on how you can add value to your clients and colleagues in the context of the next role you’re aiming to step into,” says Togbor Wentum.
If you’re ready to step up in your core role, but aren’t sure where to start, take some ideas from the employees at AdRoll.
Find Creative Ways to Add Value
If you already do a great job in your current role, you may need to get creative with how you show your managers that you’re ready for a new role. This is the approach Wentum took in both transitions he’s made within AdRoll.
When he wanted to move from sales to be a dynamic creative product specialist, he developed a product series for the SDR (sales development representative) team, including slides, emails and documentation. He then took it one step further by presenting to the team on a biweekly basis to teach them how to use the products in the series.
“I was giving all of myself to the team and the company, essentially showing that I delve into work wholeheartedly and that my behavior was not going to change when I moved into a new role,” says Wentum.
If you’re not sure how you can do this yourself, start by figuring out where you want to go. Wentum wanted to move into engineering next. He knew he needed to get closer to that team to see what challenges he could provide solutions for. He explains, “At the time, it seemed like solutions engineering, in particular, was understaffed, so I started thinking about how I could add value. The solutions engineering team was understaffed across the company so I would hang out there when I had time. I’d find out what they were working on and ask to help with projects if they were really busy.”
When considering how you can creatively add value, think about your teammates, managers, the company as a whole. Ask yourself: Where can my skills and knowledge be most helpful in my current role? When you answer that question, then you can execute.
Find a Mentor
As you grow and learn in your career, the support and guidance in the form of a mentor can be crucial. For Larissa Licha, mentorship was key to her success in moving from SDR to Black Ops (performance). During her first year at AdRoll, the CTO was a mentor to her and later, after moving into her account manager role, the CRO became a mentor as well.
Licha explains, “He (CRO) reached out to me six months after I became an account manager and told me to apply for this role. I would never have considered it since I was only six months into my role and didn’t think I was qualified. He insisted I apply for the role, and I joined a new team when it was forming, so I got to help shape it completely.”
This guidance, support and encouragement helps you master your current role and move into a new role because it gives you a chance to develop new skills. Licha says, “Having mentorship in the company gives me leverage to do things that are not my core competencies, and motivate me to challenge myself, got me to a role that I never thought I would be exposed to.”
If you want to move up within your company, you have to think bigger in how you approach your current role the challenges it brings, according to Emma Gilroy. This starts with knowing what you should be doing in your current role and then making sure you’re doing it well:
“I think it’s about having a clear understanding of what’s expected of you in your role and, assuming the expectations are reasonable, being really obvious about what you’re responsible for and excelling in that,” says Gilroy.
This may be hard to do in the busy environment of a growing office. Gilroy finds it can be easy to get “distracted, taking on too much work and not giving yourself the time to master your day-to-day work, which can lead to a lack of confidence.”
To get and stay on track, Gilroy suggests working with your manager, staying aware of your surroundings, and focusing on making a true impact. The best way to make an impact: show your value and abilities by thinking about the bigger picture in terms of both the business and the overall challenge or opportunity you’re being presented with.
Gilroy explains, “I think people can fall into the trap of only looking at problems from a very narrow scope, in terms of their specific situation, team, department, or region, but if you can look beyond and have a broader understanding of some of the business challenges, it can give you access to the next level, the next step up.”
Get Ready to Move Up
If you want to take the next step within your current company, you may need to get creative. It’s not just about asking for the new role, but proving that you’ll excel in that position. This might mean you need to take a step back and master your current role, with the help of a mentor or using creative solutions. If you’re ready to make the next big move for your career, keep the experience and advice of these AdRoll employees in mind.