Career Expert Q&A: How Do I Advance at Work?

I work with the state of New Jersey as a clerk and don’t know how to get out of this title once I receive my degree in business management. I’m in my 30s and I would like a professional career in Washington, D.C. Any advice on steps I need to take in this competitive workforce?

—T. Flack
Via E-mail

First off, you should applaud yourself for aspiring to higher career goals. It’s important to shift your attitude to believe you are worthy of a better position and seek the necessary education to achieve your ultimate career goals. The Career Passion Coach, Catherine Jewell, recommends having a target area or city in mind to narrow your employment search, so you’re on the right track. Research industries and companies you want to work for in Washington. The next step is to tap into your network. Call and e-mail all the folks you feel can help you seek out job leads. Try to set up informational interviews with many companies to get a clear sense of the job opportunities available. Also, join professional organizations such as Executive Leadership Council (www.elcinfo.com) that can help you expand your network.

Make sure to read Career GPS: Strategies for Women Navigating The New Corporate Landscape by Ella L.J. Edmondson Bell, Ph.D. (Amistad; $25.99) and Basic Black: The Essential Guide for Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life) by Cathie Black (Crown Business; $24.95).

This Q&A appears in the October 2010 issue of Black Enterprise in Workplace.

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