Taking your career to the next level may be at the top of your list of goals for the near future. However, you may be aware that many people who climb the corporate ladder step on people’s toes often and even ruin relationships along the way. The last thing you want is to generate ill will or to lose friendships and professional relationships that you have nurtured up until now. These are effective ways to improve your career opportunities without taking a ruthless approach that generates enemies.


Pursue an Advanced Degree

If you want to be considered for more job opportunities in your company or beyond, it is important that you have the proper credentials. Taking classes at any of the many online universities is a great way to advance your level of education and to earn a higher level degree without interfering with your day job. It is helpful to research education requirements for the next rung or two in your specific career ladder so that you approach education thoughtfully.


Take Advantage of Network Opportunities

Career advancement is often related to your work experiences, skills, and education level, but it also is impacted by who you know. The more people who you connect with and develop relationships with, the more potential opportunities you may learn about. In fact, many people may directly reach out to you about opportunities, and this negates the need to continually reach out to others for opportunities that may be available. You can network with colleagues at other companies that you do business with, form relationships at exhibits and conferences, attend industry-related happy hour events and more.


Volunteer for Extra Work Projects

Your current position may not be adequately preparing you for the next level of your career, so you may need to take matters into your own hands. Consider paying attention to the opportunity to work on unique projects in your office. Ideally, these will be projects that advance your skills or experiences strategically. Remember that you can also volunteer outside of the workplace for access to additional projects.


Get a Second Job

If your current job is not the ideal stepping stone to get you where you want to be, you can take on a second job. An evening, weekend or part-time remote job opportunity can help you to fill in the gaps related to your skills and experiences. Also, it can showcase you as a go-getter on your resume. Choose this second position carefully so that it gives you the new experiences and skills that you need.


Read Books in Your Free Time

Professional skills and solid education in a structured environment are essential, but you should not stop there. You can also enrich your mind and expand your knowledge base substantially by reading industry-related books in your free time. Another idea is to read self-help books that could help you to overcome some of your personality or professional flaws that are holding you back. Consider regularly reading a few chapters of helpful books each week.


Focus on Your Appearance

While appearance is not everything in the professional world, it can play a significant role in how others perceive you. When you dress the part of a successful professional, others may see you in this light. It may not fully sell someone on hiring you for an advanced position, but it may get you and your resume much-deserved attention that you may not otherwise receive. Over time, update your wardrobe. Also, pay close attention to your hygiene, hairstyle and other factors. Strive for a professional look that makes a strong statement.


While some people approach career advancement rather ruthlessly and burn many bridges along the way, you can see that this is not necessary or advisable. There are numerous steps that you can take to reach new professional levels without affecting the relationships that you have already built.