New year’s resolutions should always be about self-betterment, whether that’s in terms of your health or your broader prospects, and so now is a great time to give yourself some new ambition for 2020. Climbing the employment ladder isn’t always about having sheer determination and a will to succeed – sometimes it can be easier said than done. Deciding whether we’re happy in our jobs or our current employer can help us decide whether we’re the problem or whether perhaps our employer is.


This is perhaps the most important tip when it comes to climbing the employment ladder: just ask. Sometimes the saying ‘don’t ask don’t get’ is completely true. Our bosses and line managers are flawed individuals too, and sometimes they don’t always take the initiative to promote us when we really deserve it. Asking for a promotion and demanding a raise also illustrates a will to succeed: something no good employer should disregard. If you are too scared to ask, or feel it will go down badly, talk to an employee or trusted work friend – they might be able to help you approach your meeting.

Get a fair boss

Sometimes it helps to be honest about whether your struggle to climb the employment ladder is truly your fault or someone else’s. If your boss is refusing to promote you for personal reasons or perhaps, even bias and discrimination, then you should actively seek to remedy this. If you believe you are being discriminated again, then contacting an employment law attorney means they will fight for your rights. No one should have to work in a hostile work environment.

Constantly update your achievements

Sometimes it can be hard to make yourself stand out when self-awareness and humbleness strikes: but if you want that promotion, you’ll need to prove yourself. If you struggle to recall moments of brilliance, then make a note of every time you have achieved something special. Whether you helped a team finish their project on time or stepped into someone more senior’s shoes when there was limited staff – make a note of it. Then, add it to your resume. You want to be able to show a list of your finest moments when you do apply for those senior roles.

Be the better person

While many people at the top of the chain have weaved their way by being ruthless, it’s not always a desirable trait. Being generous and helpful will make you more universally liked, and your colleagues will be genuinely happy for you when you hit those important milestones. Take time to listen, be constructive and don’t push and shove your way to the top: be straightforward and work hard.

Don’t be afraid to learn

The anxiety to please makes many of us feel that, in order to climb the ladder, we need to be able to demonstrate that we know almost everything. However, there’s a difference between showing a wealth of knowledge and being a know it all. It’s counter-productive to put up the facade of someone who already knows, to then stumble when push comes to shove. The best way to impress those senior colleagues is to show a willingness to learn and acknowledge that you have gaps in your education. Ask to join courses, go on workshops and be proactive in projects to show your eagerness to grow and develop.

Try smaller businesses

Sometimes you can tell how long it will take the corporate ladder just by talking to your fellow colleagues. Some businesses have thousands of employees and as a result you will notice that some team members have been there for 10 or 20 odd years, gradually working their way up. If you are in a company for the long run, then stay put. However, if you’re eager to see your hard work reflected in your job titles, try a smaller business. They have smaller teams, and as a result, will take much less long to work your way up.

If you have the aim to remove the word ‘junior’ from your job title, or just climb a little higher on the job ladder, try not to over-think it too much. Be a little more determined when asking for promotions and do seek justice when there is a lack of it. Otherwise, think about where you are well suited and where you can help. Most possess, and line managers want to see, dedication and a drive to succeed, but not in a way that throws others under the bus.