How to Advance Your Career in Government Work

Advancing your career is the goal of just about every American worker. Government advancement is no different. Whether you want to secure a promotion, a raise, or just get ahead in the workforce, read on. The following tips will help advance your career as a government worker.

1- Get a work mentor… or become one: Identify a mentor who has specific professional skills or title you want to reach. Pick their brain about learning new skills, practices, and tips to advance. Talk through current challenges. Then pay it forward. Becoming a mentor to creates an avenue for learning and collaboration.

2- Seek a higher degree: According to GovCentral, qualifying education or training affects your pay grade. While you may have started out at your first government job as a GS-2, or high school degree holder, over the course of your employment you may have obtained a bachelor’s degree, thus you would be eligible for a pay grade of GS-5. Now if you continue obtaining higher learning, you can advance to GS-11, with a Doctorate degree.

3- Embrace social media: The right social media presence has the potential to open doors in your career. It can showcase thought leadership and allow you to connect with the right people to move up the ladder. But, be mindful of how to construct your social media presence professionally. Post tasteful and industry-related information, and use social platforms to connect with like-minded professionals and you will be on your way to victory. In a recent training by GovLoop, government experts suggest to practice the following:

  • Align with work policies.
  • Don’t be shy!
  • Know your audience.
  • Always be positive.

4- Reach small learning milestones: GovLoop contributor Andrew Krzmarzick recommends learning sprints to become a more agile professional. He says:

  • “At the beginning of a week, ask “what do I want to learn over the next week?”
  • Set a target. For example, read 3 chapters in a book, watch two TED talks, or read blog posts.
  • On Friday or  Saturday, review what you’ve learned, then ask yourself “Did I hit my target?”
  • Keep track of your progress through an action plan.

MOOCs, or massive open online courses, like Coursera or edX,offer free university-initiated courses and collaborative online learning. Take classes in Leading People and Teams, Positive Psychology, English for Business & Entrepreneurship, Critical Perspectives on Management, and more! While this may not be considered official education or training, your manager will take note of your initiative and desire to grow professionally. Advancement could be at your doorstep.

5- Join the conversation: Online communities like GovLoop provide a haven for knowledge transfer, networking, and even offer formal learning opportunities.

6- Be proactive. While many government promotions and raises are tied to a rigid schedule, don’t be afraid to communicate your desire to move ahead professionally with your manager. Many managers will pass up an employee for a role simply because they didn’t know they were interested in it.

Did we skim over some key practices that have worked for you? If so, add your ideas in the comments. 

For more resources and training visit the GovLoop Career Advancement Training Program.

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