Even the most stellar careers feature periods of stagnation, which require strategy, patience and perseverance to push through.
While the defence industry offers workers an array of fantastic career opportunities, like every working environment, competition for top level positions can be fierce.
So how do you distinguish yourself from the pack?
Take on additional work to prove you’re capable and willing to move forward in your career.
While it’s important not to overextend yourself, there’s no doubt going the extra mile sends a strong signal that you have the ambition and capacity to take on more responsibility.
Share your achievements, so your boss is aware of your skills and strong performance.
High level managers are often time poor, and unless they’ve been alerted, your hard work may slip through their radar.
Obviously you’ll want to share your achievements strategically and in a manner that doesn’t sound boastful to either your superiors, or colleagues. But effectively showcasing the skills you could bring to a more senior role, not only benefits yourself, but also the boss and the organisation at large.
Undertake professional development off your own back to bolster your qualifications and expertise.
Many roles in the defence industry require officially recognised competencies.
Explore learning opportunities offered by your employer, or think about undertaking external study. This may be particularly relevant to workers in adjacent industries - such as rail and infrastructure - looking to move across to the defence industry.
Support the team and manager.
While individual performance is important, it must be harmonious with department and organisational goals. The defence industry is a close knit space with many relationships overlapping - stepping over people will only get you so far.
Effective collaboration in a team environment is a key component of the defence industry and therefore your career advancement.
Be patient and realistic.
Career trajectories are more akin to hiking a mountain than riding an express elevator. Although the journey will feature periods of sharp accent, plateaus and detours will also make up the path.
Proving you’re ready for promotion can take time and your superiors will understandably want to ensure you’re well equipped for the extra responsibilities.
There also needs to be a position available. Despite your best efforts, you’re unlikely to gain promotion to a particular role, if it’s already occupied by a strong performer. However, patience and persistence will ensure you’re well positioned should the position, or another attractive opportunity become available.
Demonstrate your leadership skills, so managers know you have what it takes to lead a team.
If you’re looking to move up the ranks, odds are you’ll eventually be responsible for other employees. Managing other people can be tricky, and often takes a different set of skills to your core initial vocational or technical skills.
Taking opportunities to lead in less formalised roles showcases your management skills, as well as provides valuable experience to prepare yourself for more formalised leadership roles.
Find a mentor within your organisation who can guide you towards your career goals.
They can also provide networking opportunities, as well as acting as a referee when you apply for a promotion.
Many industries have formalised mentoring programs, such as The Future Through Collaboration (TFTC) initiative, which provides women working in the defence industry the opportunity to work with a senior defence industry mentor over 12 months.
For more insights on how to succeed at work take a look at our other blogs.
To understand what opportunities are available in defence, engineering and ICT industries take a look at our current vacancies.