Long Term Career Progression

Over the last decade it’s become obvious that a college education is not always enough to land a job, let alone a long-term career.

Attending college classes, partying all summer, and then picking up your diploma is not enough these days. A recession could cost you your job, or economic progress could render your profession obsolete. You need to do more to remain viable as a successful professional in the long term. So how can young professionals today avoid the mistakes of their predecessors?

Becoming Employable

The first concern is, of course, becoming an employable professional in the first place. There are thousands of books and articles available providing many different and conflicting  “secrets to success” , but at the end of the day it’s all about having a combination of basic competence in a field, combined with the ability to network utilizing social media and personal contacts. What does becoming employable mean? A young soon-to-be professional can become employable by:

  • going to college to obtain an education.
  • doing an internship or two to hone the skills learned in college.
  • creating an online or off-line professional portfolio to demonstrate your skill set.
  • developing your social skills and emotional intelligence to aid you in building relationships and communicating with interviewers, management, and coworkers.


Building Flexibility

Once you’ve built this basic professional competence it’s time to start developing professional flexibility. For example, if you decided to study a nice general skill like business management at college, you’ll be very employable as a manager in any industry, but you won’t be a stand-out candidate in any of those industries.

Career flexibility is developing your skill and knowledge base, so that you’re an attractive candidate for jobs in more than one field. Additionally, if you lose your job you have the ability to work in logistics in any corporation with the freedom to advance into management as your career recovers.

To do this you should start to build a secondary skillset. You can start building a secondary skill sets that will make you valuable to for specific, high-paying positions that every major company needs to fill by:

  • expanding your education professional and educational classes that will allow you to work in multiple industries like logistics or supply-chain management classes.
  • start personal research on the ins and outs of skill sets.
  • spend your free time on personal projects like mastering a specific piece of software that will increase your value to a company.


Building Up To Your Peak Earning Years

If all goes well, by the team you reach your early 30’s to late 40’s, you’ve made yourself an indispensable asset to any business. Congratulate yourself at this point. You deserve it!

After your personal celebration, you might want to think about bracing yourself for the next step on the career ladder. What’s that next step? Specialization in your chosen field.

Why do you need specialization? Well if you’re a logistics manager in the healthcare field that is looking to maintain that upward trajectory, you will be stopped by the fact that most management positions in the healthcare field require a formalized education in the health care field. The good news? At this point, many companies will pay for you to receive this specialized education.


At the end of this long career journey, you’re in a position that required three discrete skill-sets which makes you difficult to replace, and impossible to remove. Beyond that, if your employer closed down, went under or fired you for some crazy reason, you’d have three different fields in which to look for high-value employment.

Samantha Stauf

Samantha Stauf graduated from the University of Idaho with a degree in technical writing. In the last year and a half, she has been working in the marketing department at a local start-up