Career Growth

How have you gone about advancing your career from a content creator to a senior content specialist or content manager?

Jimmy Daly
April 15, 2021

This post is pulled from a thread in our Slack community. We highlight some of our favorite answers here on the blog, but you can get involved by joining the group.

A really terrific question! Unfortunately, what I've seen happen repeatedly is that when women speak up and say that they want to grow in their career that they can end up with two jobs, no additional compensation, and a lot of burnout. So, this advice is given from the perspective of not having that happen to you.

The first step I would recommend taking is to set up a meeting with someone in HR and find out about educational and leadership training supported by your company. Do you have a quarterly or annual training budget? Approved time-off for conferences (including virtual)? Continuing education tuition reimbursement? A formal leadership mentoring program you can join? Whatever exists, take full advantage of it and use two or more hours a week on career development on company time (maybe this is  four hours every other week or one day every month, it doesn't always have to be just two hrs each week).

If there aren't any formal employee growth benefits, ask for recommendations as to what females have been internally promoted at your company, irrespective of the department. (If HR can't provide you with any examples, this is a pretty big red flag that to move up you'll likely need to change jobs.) If they can provide names, reach out to these women and see if any would be available to mentor you.

Moving into a strategy role is about learning to prioritize work, seeing the bigger picture, understanding business growth theories and metrics, and managing teams who will complete the work—and these topics aren't unique to content. One of my first mentors was a lawyer, and we found a great deal of common ground.

Finally, have a chat with your boss about your goals. A good boss knows that it is his or her job to help you advance in your career and should be your partner in making this happen. I always tell the people on my teams that if they couldn't do my job within three years of joining my team, I would be a lousy boss. They almost always say they don't want my job, but I know they could at least do it if the company called on them to step up. As their boss, a good chunk of my conversations with my team members are about what they want out of their work and how I can help facilitate that. If your current boss isn't asking those types of questions, it might be another red flag.

And, remember, if you do start sitting in on strategy meetings and helping your boss create strategies (which may be the direction your boss recommends) that this work is done with the understanding that you will NOT be carrying the same amount of writing work that you currently are. If your writing load won't be reduced, then you should ask for additional compensation as you take on additional responsibilities. You growing into a leadership and strategy role is very beneficial to your company and will save them money in the long-run (turnover is costly). So if they don't see the financial benefit in helping you grow into a strategy role, find a company that does.

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