Career Advancement Styles

I wish I’d known about this concept before I started my career in recruitment. We all have them, in the same way that we all have a personal brand.

If you’re not aware of what type of career advancement style you have, you will not know what to do to change it and/or develop it. And this is not just about changing jobs, it’s about career progression so this is for everyone to be aware of at any stage in their career.


Lets see if you relate to any or all of the following questions:

Have you ever seen that other people are being selected for promotion or are garnering attention for the work that they do?

You work just as hard or harder but you are overlooked?

Are you wanting to change your job within your current company?

Are you wanting to be approached by recruiters or hiring managers from other companies?

Maybe you just want to change your company or potentially your industry?


So which style are you? (I want you to have your pen and your paper ready)

There are many different types of career advancement styles, but I have narrowed it down to just four. Take an honest look at what you’ve done in your current job and what you will be doing, and even possibly what you have done in your previous job(s).


The Climber
This person is not shy about putting themselves forward publicly for different types of projects. They are individuals who seek advancement in their organisations by asking for varied assignments, working longer hours, networking and seeking greater visibility. These network gurus rub shoulders with the leadership team. Quite a few of the examples that I’ve been speaking to said that they didn’t like the idea of the rubbing shoulders because it seemed disingenuous. We have to try and own the language and that is used in the business world. ‘Rubbing shoulders’ or becoming a climber doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be disingenuous. How each person shows up as a climber could look completely different because we all have to be loyal to ourselves.

Climbers share their wins and they’re not shy about it. They also share these wins with the right people!


The Hedger

Hedgers use all of the career tactics available to them to advance inside and outside of their current organisations. Hedgers don’t always push themselves, but tend to highlight their accomplishments to the right people. We’ve seen a correlation between these behaviours of Hedgers and Climbers and being selected for promotions and pay rises. They take ownership for the work they’ve done and they are recognised for the contributions that they make.


The Scanner

Scanners are individuals who monitor the job market closely and are ready to change jobs. In this current market, we cannot sit and wait for opportunities to come, we have to be somewhat proactive. Scanners often are frustrated when they see the Hedgers or Climbers get promoted, when they’re doing the same level of work. However, scanners may be able to identify a lack of confidence in themselves to publicly own their work and accomplishments.


The Coaster

Coasters are individuals who do little to see career advancement. It doesn’t mean that they coast in their job, they could be phenomenal at their job, but they’re more like workhorses. They put their head down, they get the job done and then they don’t talk about it.

This is one of the main reasons that coasters don’t get selected for projects, nor get a pay rise, nor the promotion they deserve. Nobody knows about it, it goes under the radar and you’ll never be seen or heard with all the noise from the Climbers and Hedgers


What to do now … 

Write down where you think you fall. Remember that this is individual to you. It doesn’t mean that you have to go into work tomorrow and be super extravagant and acting like a different person. What’s one step that you could do to get to the climber group. Let’s take ownership of this, promote yourself into one of the other groups.

Make small changes. There are a variety of different steps you could take to further your career whether you’re staying in your current company or whether you’re moving on to another company or another industry. For example, you could reach out to someone working on a project that you find interesting – send them an email, pick up the phone – speak to them. Explain that you have a little bit of time in your work week and you would like to get involved. And if they ever needed support, you’d be more than helpful, more than happy to help them.


Your career advancement style is just as important as your personal brand, if you don’t take control of it others will.


Siobhan Kelly

Mosaic Consultancy