Remote work has become the norm in many industries, and with it, the question of career advancement for remote employees has become more prevalent. Remote workers face really unique challenges when it comes to career progression, such as face-to-face networking interactions with colleagues and supervisors. However, with the right strategies and mindset, remote employees can still climb the corporate ladder and achieve their career goals.
In this article, we’ll explore various tips and strategies that remote workers can use to advance their careers and reach their professional aspirations.
Developing the Right Mindset
To climb the corporate ladder as a remote employee, developing the right mindset is a big piece of that. Many of us are our own worst critics, especially all alone at home. We face high chances of loneliness, meeting quotas, or even being put into a position of having to quit altogether. But recognizing that you’re still just as in control of your career as before, will help to not beat yourself up too much. Here are some tips to help you:
Recognize That You’re in Control
One of the most important things you can do is to recognize that you’re in control of your career. You may not have as much face-to-face interaction with your supervisors, but you can still take ownership of your work and seek out opportunities for growth and development. In some ways it will be a little easier, but you’ll likely have to work a little harder to stand out to direct reports.
Focus on What You Can Control
When you work remotely, there are many things outside of your control, such as the availability of certain projects or the timing of promotions. Instead of dwelling on what you can’t control, focus on what you can. Take advantage of online training and development opportunities, and seek out feedback from your supervisors to help you identify areas for improvement. Both will help to make a good impression with your boss and will likely make you stand out more.
Build Strong Relationships with Your Colleagues and Supervisors
One of the challenges of remote work is the lack of face-to-face interaction with colleagues and supervisors. However, it’s still possible to build strong relationships with them. Use video conferencing tools to have regular check-ins with your team, and take the time to get to know your colleagues on a personal level. When you build strong relationships, you’ll be more likely to receive support and recognition for your work.
Taking Ownership of Your Career
As a remote employee, it’s important to take ownership of your career and seek out opportunities for growth and development. This could mean several types of things: taking optional classes that help you develop skills, attend industry conferences, reading books, or even cross-train in different departments.
Set Clear Goals for Yourself
To advance your career, you need to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve. Set specific, measurable, and achievable goals for yourself, and create a plan to reach them. Share your goals with your supervisor and ask for their support and feedback. Bosses that want what’s best for you will be happy to give you advice that’s specific to your role and tenure.
Seek Out Opportunities for Growth and Development
Remote work provides unique opportunities for learning and development. Take advantage of online training programs, attend virtual conferences, and seek out mentors who can help you develop new skills and knowledge.
Advocate for Yourself
Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself and your career. Ask for feedback from your supervisors, and use it to improve your skills and performance. If you feel you’re ready for a promotion or new responsibilities, make your case to your supervisor and be prepared to provide evidence of your value to the organization. Good leaders will want to hear this, because it shows that you know how valuable you are, and that you remain invested in your job.
Building Your Network
As a remote employee, building your network can be a bit more challenging than for those who work in an office setting. Nevertheless, it’s just as important, maybe even moreso. Even though you aren’t going into the office, there are still several ways you can build and expand your network to help you climb the corporate ladder.
- Attend virtual events: Look for virtual events and webinars in your industry and attend them. Participate actively and engage with other attendees. This will help you meet new people, learn new things, and grow your network.
- Join online communities: Join online communities related to your field or industry, such as LinkedIn groups or industry-specific forums. Engage in discussions, share your knowledge and expertise, and connect with other professionals.
- Use social media: Use social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter to connect with other professionals in your industry. Follow thought leaders, engage in discussions, and share your thoughts and ideas.
- Volunteer for projects: Volunteer for projects that require collaboration with colleagues from other departments or teams. This will help you build relationships and expand your network within your organization.
- Connect with colleagues: Make an effort to connect with your colleagues regularly, whether through virtual coffee chats, team-building activities, or other means. Building strong relationships with your colleagues can lead to valuable connections and opportunities down the line.
- Seek out a mentor: Look for a mentor who can provide guidance and support as you navigate your career path. This person can also introduce you to new people and help expand your network.
- Be proactive: Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you, seek them out. Unfortunately, I see this all the time. Employees wait for golden opportunities to come to them, but they don’t put in real effort to go get them. Having an entrepreneurial spirit here will make a huge difference here. Reach out to colleagues, attend virtual events, and participate in online communities. The more proactive you are, the more opportunities you’ll create for yourself.
- Build your personal brand: As a remote employee, your online presence and personal brand are especially important, especially in tech-related fields. Make sure your LinkedIn profile and other social media profiles are up-to-date and highlight your skills and accomplishments. This will make it easier for others to find and connect with you.
- Stay in touch: Once you’ve made a connection, don’t let it fizzle out. Stay in touch with your network regularly, whether through social media, email, or video calls. This will help you maintain strong relationships and keep you top of mind when new opportunities arise.
By using these tactics, you can climb the corporate ladder as a remote employee. Remember, putting the work into building strong relationships takes time and effort, but the payoff can be significant.
Jared has worked remotely for 15 years in various marketing capacities, and has managed hundreds of marketing campaigns along the way. He has held freelance, agency, and in-house positions for companies large and small.