get ahead at work

You want to know how to get ahead at work, how to win that promotion over your equally talented and hungry peers, but you don’t know the magic answer. Turns out, there is no magic answer. It takes a lot of hard work, a lot of time and effort, hitting your billable targets, and an aptitude for juggling work alongside the tasks that are solely for your career progression. If you want to win that promotion over your peers so that you can get ahead at work, here are the most common ways that the most successful lawyers do it. 

13 recommendations to get ahead at work (straight from the lawyer’s mouth)

Tip #1: Know your goals and plan your strategy

If you don’t plan your route to get to where you want to be, you won’t get there. Always keep your goals in front of mind so that every day you make efforts and decisions that will help you achieve them.

Tip #2: Learn to work smarter not harder

To get ahead at work is not about being the first and last in the office every day, it’s about learning to work as effectively and efficiently as you can. Find what works for you and start working productively

Tip #3: Actively try to gain horizontal experience

Many lawyers think of the experience and skills that they need to climb the career ladder when they think of how to get ahead at work. What many don’t realise is that experience outside of your normal day job, such as a client secondment or working on a cross-firm project or initiative. 

Tip #4: Always ask for feedback but act on it too

Get into the habit of asking for feedback so that you can better understand your strengths and weaknesses. The way to win the promotion is to then use this feedback to build on your weaknesses and leverage your strengths

Tip #5: Learn to change and adapt quickly

Winning a promotion can come down to something as simple as you being known for how cool and calm you are when it comes to adapting to dynamic and stressful situations. It’s a skill worth developing to get ahead.

Take a look at our self-study course How to put together a Development Plan to achieve your Goals

Tip #6: Learn the skills you need now AND the ones you’ll need in the future

There are certain skills that you’ll need to be able to perform well in the job that you want to be promoted to, but the skills you need further down the line are the ones that will guarantee you getting ahead. Read up on industry news and trends and exhibit the skills that will wow upper management.  

Tip #7: Foster a consulting mindset

Always think about how you can provide value. By doing this, you can confidently ask to help on projects, apply for jobs or inquire about a mentor and actually get the result that you want.

Tip #8: Make networking a thing you can do in your sleep

How to get ahead at work can often come down to who you know rather than what you know so aim to build a strong network both in and out of the firm.  

Tip #9: Build a social media presence

An online brand is a powerful thing as it often brings opportunities to you rather than you actively searching. If you position yourself as an expert in your field and share your knowledge on your social channels, you will get positive exposure, an exposure that can help you get ahead at work. 

Tip #10: Always be open to new opportunities

Is there a project being offered that nobody else wants to take? Volunteer for it. Not only does this reflect positively on you to your superiors, but keeping an open mind can often lead to different and better opportunities in the foreseeable future, ones that may just lead you to get promoted.

Tip #11: Find a mentor

Thinking about how to get ahead at work can be a daunting prospect if you tackle it alone. Find a mentor, one that can give you valuable advice, advocate for you and send opportunities your way that you actually want. 

Tip #12: Surround yourself with the right people

Support is everything, so surround yourself with positive and supportive people at home and ambitious and intelligent people at work. They will motivate you to do your best work whilst holding you accountable and helping you to get that promotion you deserve.

Tip #13: Always be proactive

whatever you do, don’t stop making efforts to learn and gain experience as both will help you to progress in your career. Spend your time following your strategy, doing great work and making solid relationships and you’ll soon be the one getting promoted over your peers. Make sure you are on your A-game every day by working through our self-study course:

How to Be on Your A-Game

Win that promotion by becoming the only option

Next time you find yourself asking “how can I get ahead at work?” look at others around you as well as at yourself. What are they doing that is leading to promotions and what are you not doing that you should be doing? Chances are, the answers to both these questions are the 13 things on this list.

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