I have worked for AT&T for 29 years. I was one of the youngest women promoted to the executive level position as a director at the age of 30 which was 20 years ago. I look back at the things that brought me to that advancement fairly quickly and I would attribute it to building relationships with the right people, asking for mentoring from leaders, raising my hand for special projects and task forces which leads to some great networking, and seeking out the high value/high profile projects where I can showcase my talents. Dont be afraid to ask for what you want whether or not you think you are qualified. Typically a person who gets a new role is never perfectly suited for it so even if you would consider yourself like 30% qualified, go after it anyway. That is how you learn and open up opportunities. If you dont get the job, thank the interviewer and ask what you can do to prepare yourself better for the next time. Keep taking classes and learning opportunities to flush out areas you are interested in getting to that you may not have actual work experience in, but often it would help to have education or training. Most jobs offer training you can take on your own, do this. It will build your resume with continued learning to supplement job experience. When you attend meetings, speak up, shake hands firmly, and look people in the eye. Always be kind but firm and never take for granted any relationship you make. Often the administrative staff will have the best access to executives so never under estimate the power of making friends at all levels. Always treat people with respect and trust.
Kimberly recommends the following next steps:
I saw on average a move in career every 2-3 years. I advanced to the level I am at today over a 10 year period to " Senior / Principal" level. Things I would encourage you to do would always be learning and looking for ways improve your skills thru classes. Along with networking with other professionals who will push you to be the best version of you in what ever career your chose.
I am working as MTS 3 at VMWare. I have 4.5 years of work-ex. 2.5 years before my masters and 2 years post masters. I would say that masters helped me get to my current position faster.
Rumela recommends the following next steps:
Progressions took 1.5-2 years (steps within position with a raise). Promotions took 5 years (new position with additional responsibility and more significant raise). I also agree that getting my master's degree helped accelerate my promotions. But, there was not a direct linkage based on getting the degree.
Brian recommends the following next steps:
Even if you choose a lateral position, any good manager will want to see that you have two solid evaluations prior to consideration. It's important to know, there is nothing wrong or bad when choosing a lateral position. I once managed 150 employees. Sounds exciting? I left that position for what some may say is a step down so that I could be an individual contributor. I did it because it allowed me more flexibility to take care of my elderly father and because I would be more highly compensated. Make choices that will make YOU HAPPY NOT to look good. A happy employee works harder and does more than one that isn't. Also, put your family first. There will always be a place for you within your company if you are doing a good job.
I will tell you that relationships have always been the key to any of my advancements, meaning you need to build relationships with people that are above, below and at your level. Having the degrees are helpful but in my case the relationship I developed with individuals were far more important than the degree when it came time for a promotion.
I would also encourage to find a mentor (or maybe two). These are people that can help guide you along the way and provide very specific feedback around your professional growth and advancement.
And don't overlook development of the soft skills. The first two promotions I received were because of my ability to write and construct interesting presentations.