New Year, New Job: Move from Mid to Senior Level in 2016

What’s your New Year’s resolution for 2016? If it’s to secure a new job and move up the career ladder, this post is for you.

Moving up the career ladder can be achieved in a number of ways. Traditionally, the majority of people seek career advancement through promotion to the level above their own. However in 2016, we urge you to get more creative with taking control of your career. Why explore options to move up the career ladder by seeking a move to a new location, to a different industry or via an alternative method of work?

To help you with this, this guide covers moving up the career ladder by securing an executive level position, changing industry, securing a position abroad or seeking a contract role.

Moving up the career ladder by securing an executive level position

Securing a job at a level above your own is clearly the traditional way to progress in your career. However, this is often difficult since not only are there fewer positions available at the senior level, but not all jobs are advertised. In fact, according to statistics, 70% of senior executive positions stem from the unadvertised jobs market.Therefore the unfortunate truth is that most job opportunities come about due to one thing – who you know. To be successful you therefore must use your network to expand your search and find more opportunities.

“70% of senior executive positions are not advertised” – Executive Connexions

Connect with ex-colleagues, clients, recruiters, schoolmates, alumni and key players in the industry to arrange a phone call or better yet have a face-to-face meeting.  Here you can seek their expertise on your industry in order to bolster your own knowledge and ask them to keep you in mind should any new opportunities arise.

Developing a quality network will facilitate the expansion of your job search and expose you to the opportunities available in this hidden market. Developing strong and valuable relationships must be a consistent aspect of your job search, and especially so at the beginning of the year as new headcount is often being released.

Moving up the career ladder by changing industry

From an employer perspective, there is certainly plenty of evidence that “career changers” can add a high level of value to organisations. Therefore, changing industry could present new and exciting opportunities for career advancement. If you have an interest in another industry and transferable skills to support an alternative career path, don’t rule out moving up the career ladder by moving into a new sector.

An initial consideration of your existing transferable skills will help you to narrow down the industries offering roles suited to your experience. Evaluate where your current skills, experience and expertise match with an industry and emphasize those skills during the application process. If you don’t yet have the required skills, experience or expertise to secure an position in that industry yet, devise a plan to hone them and apply again at a later date. Subscribe to industry newsfeeds and read up on breaking industry related news; this will help at the interview stage by showing you are up-to-date on recent changes, and may also provide valuable information regarding job opportunities.

Building relationships is also important when changing industry as industry-relevant connections will not only be able to offer advice regarding job opportunities and the skills needed, but also provide honest feedback regarding your transition so you can continue to improve. They may also be able to provide information regarding the internal culture of an industry or specific business, giving you a better idea of if the transition is a good fit.

Moving up the career ladder by becoming a contractor

A new job may not only result in a movement up the career ladder, but into a new way of working. The contract market is growing, with recent research from the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) discovering that there are now more than 1.88 million freelancers and contractors at work in the UK. Intuit has also predicted that by 2020, 40% of the US workforce will comprise of freelancers and contractors.

“By 2020, 40% of the US workforce will be freelancers and contractors” – Intuit

Contracting can offer a wider range of opportunities – particularly for those seeking a change in industry or higher profile position. Now is the perfect time to consider contract positions as more companies begin to offer freelance roles, looking for individuals with niche skills to propel their business forward. In addition, contracting usually also offers higher remuneration, more networking opportunities and greater flexibility.

If you’re interested in becoming a contractor, firstly assess your options. Contract law is complex and varies greatly by jurisdiction, so a thorough understanding of your choices is needed. Also consider the pros and cons of working through your own limited company or a managed contractor solutions provider. Secondly, hone your skills. Firms are looking for professionals that can make maximum impact on their business within the shortest period of time. The more specialist your skillset, the higher the rate you can command. Thirdly, emphasise your soft skills. Being able to hit the ground running whilst quickly building relationships, and also honing your ability to work independently and under your own steam are imperative when it comes to this method of work.
Moving up the career ladder by relocating

Occasionally it is possible to move up the career ladder by relocating, particularly if certain global markets have skill shortages.

In a 2015 survey by Expat Insider, 75% believed that their career benefitted from their internaltional move and 78% were satisfied with their relocation salary. One quarter of expatriate executives were sent abroad by their employer for a higher-level position, whereas 15% found the job themselves and 9% were headhunted from abroad.

“75% of expats agree their career benefitted from relocating” – Expat Insider

When applying for roles in another location, it’s likely that you will have to demonstrate that you are more fitting to the role than any local candidate in order for the firm to justify relocation costs and for you to secure any necessary visa applications (if relevant).  Here it’s imperative to sell yourself during the interview process and demonstrate the value you will bring to the firm.

It’s also important to demonstrate your understanding of the destination culture. It’s likely that you will be interviewed by someone from the location you will be relocating to, so the better you can build a rapport with them, the more successful you will be in securing a role. They will be looking for this cultural empathy to prove that you will be able to build strong rapport with internal colleagues and external clients. To develop your cultural lens, contact people in the location you with to relocate to or even expatriates who have already established a career and life in your chosen location to better your understand the culture and people you may potentially be working with.

Create a winning resume

As part of your application process of course it will be necessary to update your resume. View our Best Practise Guide on How to Present your Professional Profile whether you are applying for an executive level or contract position, changing industry or relocating.

Working with a recruiter

One of the most important relationships you’ll build when seeking a new career opportunity will be with your recruiter. Selecting the right recruiter is crucial – select a specialist to ensure you are presented with the best opportunities to step up the career ladder, whether that be via securing an executive level position, changing industry, becoming a contractor or relocating.


If you’re considering a move up the career ladder, contact us for the best international job opportunities in 2016.

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