What To Do When There Are No Job Advancement Opportunities

What To Do When There Are No Job Advancement Opportunities

What should you do if there are no job advancement opportunities in your current role?

To help you with figuring out your next steps if there are no advancements in your current role, we asked business leaders and HR experts this question for their best advice. From opening up a conversation to furthering your education,  there are several tips that may help you figure out what you want to do if there are no job advancement opportunities.

Here are nine ideas for what to do if there are no job advancement opportunities in your current role: 

  • Sharpen Your Saw
  • Open Up a Conversation
  • Take a Step Back
  • Start Focusing on Your Personal Brand
  • Step Inside Your CEO’s Mind and Understand Their Goals
  • Present the Question, “How Do I Grow?”
  • Cross-Train
  • Seek More Experience and Education
  • Decide Whether You Like Your Company or Role Better

Sharpen Your Saw

No matter if you are seeking advancement or happiness in your current position, it’s key to always be sharpening your saw. This leveling of skills and development will make you a more valuable asset to your current position and also when an advancement opportunity presents itself. When you are known as someone who is consistently growing and learning, whether self-driven or accepting opportunities, you will naturally find advancement opportunities coming your way. 

Jenn Christie, Markitors

Open Up a Conversation

The first step is to communicate your feelings with your boss or a senior figure in the company. Unless they know your intentions then they may not be aware of your concerns around your career advancement. Unfortunately, with so many things happening within businesses, development can be something that gets overlooked. So, raise your thoughts and have an open conversation about your wishes and whether or not they are realistically likely to happen. If you don’t get the answer that you’d hoped for, or no changes arise, then you might want to consider a change in the future.

Liam Quinn, Reach interactive

Take a Step Back

When I encountered a dead end in my career, I realized that I would need to be willing to take a leap and move into another industry, and potentially take a “reduction in status” on the job to realize the change that I really wanted. So, I took a step “back” (from a leadership role to a role as an individual contributor with a company) and moved from working in education to the professional services industry. When I made the change, I was honest that I had a lot to learn and promised myself that I’d do whatever it would take to “ramp up” and learn about my new industry. For me, it meant extra hours studying (on my own time) and being accountable for my own continued growth in my new job.

Niki Ramirez, HR Answers

Start Focusing on Your Personal Brand

Work out who you are, accentuate the positive parts of your personality and develop stronger relationships in the workplace. Ask yourself this one question – what do you want to be known for? Tie that in you with where you want to be in the organization to provide that catalyst to advancement.

Joe Flanagan, VelvetJobs

Step Inside Your CEO’s Mind and Understand Their Goals

The first thing I’ll do is broadly look at my company’s overall goal: Are they trying to increase revenue? Are they trying to decrease cost? Are they trying to innovate? Basically, I want to step inside the CEO’s or the top-level executives’ minds and understand their goals. I’ll do this through an informational interview with them. 

Once I ascertain their goals and what they’re trying to accomplish, I will send them a proposal with a clear itemized plan detailing how to best accomplish the goal they specified, including KPIs and metrics. The plan will include a role for me with my current salary where I’ll take a more active and direct role in helping them accomplish their goal through systems and processes they may not be implementing yet. Then I will ask for growth opportunities based on my ability to meet those KPIs and metrics to independently help them achieve their goals.

Phillip A. Lew, C9 Staff

Present the Question, “How Do I Grow?”

There are areas to grow in a current role that you may be overlooking. Seek perspective from your manager or CEO about the different things to learn within your current position — even when you feel that you’ve learned all there is to know. A leadership team would much prefer that an employee bring up the question of “how do I grow” then put in their two weeks notice. By voicing your desire for advancement opportunities, you are able to enlist the help of others to ensure you obtain the growth opportunities you want – even if that growth isn’t necessarily moving up an org chart. 

Dan Reck, MATClinics


If you have mastered your job and see no path for advancement you should consider asking your employer to cross-train for other skills or positions if you love your work environment. Or you may decide to go back to school and learn additional skills that will be useful to change roles either at your current place of employment or another employer.

Sonja Talley, Principal HR Consultant

Seek More Experience and Education

There is always work that needs to be done. Offer to help another department out and get to know other people within the organization. Do a superb job and you just might find an opportunity that didn’t previously exist. You can also volunteer to gain additional experience to add to your resume. Don’t always assume the company is holding you back — you might not have the requirements to move ahead. If that is the case, seek more education, training or skills required. Perhaps find a mentor who can help you ask the right questions of yourself.

Lorraine Bossé-Smith, Leadership Development Coach

Decide Whether You Like Your Company or Role Better

As head of employee development at my organization, there have been many times when someone is hungry for promotion, not fully understanding what that fully means. In general, it is human nature to often romanticize things, a promotion being one of them. We always focus on ensuring that the person fully understands what this vision of theirs demands. Reality can be often different than what is imagined. That being said, take full stock of what a job advancement entails and make sure it is a fit for who you are and your lifestyle. If there is a fit with no role, there are two options. If you like the organization more than the role, speak with your supervisor and ask if there are other areas in the company that are a fit for your skillset where you can make an impact. If you like the role more than the company, then begin to look outside the company.

Steven Brown, DP Electric Inc

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