6 executives share their best career progression advice

You’re ambitious, talented and possess top technical and soft skills. But that’s not enough to progress your career. While it seems almost everyone has an opinion on how to best work your way to the top, it’s those who have succeeded in doing so who are perhaps best qualified to give advice.

That’s why we asked six executives for their best career progression advice. Here we share their insights, based on their own personal experiences.

Find a sponsor

There was clear agreement between these executives that you need to find a sponsor. Siobhan K O’Toole, Founder, Scale Up Expert and Career Mentor said, “You need to find someone who’s going to give you air coverage, someone who’s actually going to talk about your achievements and roll them up to the higher level.”

Mahesh Muralidhar, Head of People Operations at Airtasker, agreed, adding that you must be open. “Trust that people want to help you,” he said. “The people around you are usually more successful if you’re successful.”

Know the share price

Siobhan also mentioned that it’s important not to silo yourself. “Success is in the intersection of capability,” she says. “You can’t just be a specialist in one area”. So develop your commercial acumen, get to know the broader business, including its objectives and the role other departments play in achieving those objectives, and understand what impacts the organisation’s share price.

Build key relationships internally and externally

Swati Singh, General Manager Technology at Mirvac, adds that the right relationships help you progress. “In today’s environment you’re not just working with people within your organisation,” she says. Swati advises you to build relationships with your team, key stakeholders outside your own department and externally within the wider business sector.

Be a good mentee

Mahesh says a mentee must know exactly what they’re looking for in a mentor, since the latter provides their time and guidance. “A mentee should be clear about the questions they want answered and understand what exactly they’re looking to get from a mentor. It’s not just a broad relationship. Be clear about the support you’re looking for.”

Treat others with respect

Evan Bateup, Chief People Officer at Vista Group, says the people you work with have a huge influence on your career progression too. “Treat people with respect, from the receptionist to the CEO.” He also advises you to always be yourself so that you represent your true personal brand.

Plan your progression

Of course, you can’t get to where you want to be without a considered plan in place. Aurelie Le Gall, Business Director at Hays says, “Focus on one task at a time and set yourself some objectives with a specific timeline so you get it done.” Erin McLoughlin, Head of HR & Training at Hays, expands further by suggesting you ask your manager or mentor what you can do to develop. “Be really open and consider what you can do to put practical steps in place to take action.”

Do you have any career progression advice you could add to the above?