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Stretch yourself

Published on Sunday, 21 Sep 2014

If you're feeling stuck in a rut at work or think that your career is not progressing at the pace you would like it to, it's time to ask your employer about the opportunities available within the business to "stretch" or develop your skills through hands-on involvement in projects or tasks.

Most companies now realise that developing their staff is not just an employee benefit, but a critical aspect of their business that can help improve workforce retention and build a high-performance culture. So don't be afraid to ask and have an open conversation about how your role could be adapted to stretch your skills.

It's always best to be proactive if you wish to advance your career. You could volunteer to help with new projects, or for committees or task forces. Offer to help your boss and colleagues whenever time permits. You'll be known as a team player and an individual who colleagues want to work with.

If your company offers opportunities for professional-development classes, take advantage of as many as you can. If your skills need updating or advancing, take continuing-education or college classes. This way, your technical skills will be at the highest level.

Networking is becoming increasingly important through social media. However, attending company parties and gatherings is equally important. The more connected and engaged you are with your colleagues, the more they will know about you and the more you will stand out when it comes time to consider you for promotion.

As promotion is based on merit rather than time served, the next time an opportunity arises to develop your skills, be proactive and rise to the challenge.

Charisine Wright is a managing director of Hays in Asia.

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