Posted: 28th of November 2018 by Chris Cox
Career progression: knowing when you’re growing in your career
At the early stage in your ecommerce career adventure, career progression might be high on your priority list. You’re at the stage where there are many paths your career might take you and it’s your responsibility to work out how this happens.
For junior professionals, it’s not always about getting that career progression straight away but working towards that goal by excelling in everything you do. However, what happens when, despite your best performance, you feel that nothing is quite moving how you would like?
It’s all down to the company and the culture – can they accommodate your progression right now, could they be more attentive when it comes to its employees or are they helping progression in less obvious ways? It’s important to evaluate this before you decide your role is not going anywhere, so we thought we’d tell a few stories to demonstrate the many scenarios that happen in the world of career progression!
Our ecommerce career progression tales!
(Please note, all characters in these tales are entirely fictional…apart from Desiree!)
Progressing your skills first – the tale of Sandra
It’s easy to think that progression should be obvious on paper – for example, a CV that shows you spent a year as assistant before being promoted to executive level. Of course, this is great, and your CV should absolutely demonstrate these achievements as your career moves on.
However, is this all you need to show growth? Imagine taking on an entirely new project for the business and learning new skills along the way…skills that you can then add to your CV. This is absolutely progression and can be celebrated on your CV! It’s all about how you word it – you can either list those skills as normal or tell a story with them. Let’s use the example of our imaginary ecommerce employee, Sandra.
Sandra has been in her first role for a year now and is learning plenty about the industry and digital marketing techniques. After a year, she has a review with her management team. At this time, there will be no change in terms of title or salary – this will be reviewed in a further six months. At first, Sandra is a bit deflated. “I was hoping to be rewarded for my hard work. I thought I might get a title change…is progression ever going to happen?”
In some cases, sadly, some people do not see the progression they would hope for – this is of course down to the company. However, as mentioned, progression does sometimes show up…Sandra just doesn’t know this yet.
Towards the end of the review, Sandra’s management say they want to bring a PPC function in house and believe Sandra would be a great choice to help build this. “Hang on a minute,” Sandra thinks, “that’s a great opportunity!” After building this function and seeing great results, Sandra was able to progress by learning an entirely new skill which looked great on her CV.
Is employee progression valued by management? A story from Desiree
Before making her name as our ecommerce career mentor, Desiree worked her way up through the ecommerce world from her first junior role! It wasn’t always plain sailing, and one role she had early in her career definitely challenged her. (She did overcome it and helped another ecommerce professional with this very dilemma!)
Desiree felt her management didn’t really consider the importance of progression to employees – there wasn’t much feedback, no learning opportunities and the odd performance review here and there. Was this normal? Though she was new to the industry, Desiree knew it didn’t really reflect the ideal company she had in her mind.
What did she do? She asked the management if this is something they would be looking at or if progression plans were to be discussed. It turns out, it wasn’t something they had really prioritised and would ‘look into it.’ Desiree left soon after, finding a position that offered her the growth she had in mind. We like her approach – if you’re not going to fulfil career goals in a business, it’s worth finding somewhere you can!
We have to put the brakes on your progression…Harry’s story
Unlike Sandra’s story, sometimes a company want to see their employees grow…but can’t support it right away.
This brings us to Harry – who has been in his first role for just over a year and has just had his first-year review. Like Sandra, he too didn’t see any change in title, salary or responsibilities – though his management were quite transparent as to why. There was simply no budget to accommodate a pay rise right now, and Harry thought about finding new responsibilities to at least get the ball rolling on his growth for the next year.
The dilemma for Harry was simple…extra responsibilities and learning was great, but was it enough? He would essentially be doing a lot more, for no added benefits or salary. He realises that his management would support him if it was possible now, though he needs to be upfront – if it isn’t happening now, when will it happen?
Are your career progression goals supported?
It’s important to reflect on what your company can offer when it comes to career progression. With the examples above, the solution was all the same – be open and talk about this with management. It’s the only way you will get any visibility on your career progression and where it is leading in your current role.