When Your Qualifications Are No Longer Enough

If you are not working to improve yourself and your job performance continually, future opportunities and competitors may pass you up. Whether you are an active employee or an active job seeker, there is likely someone working harder than you. Are you content staying stationary in your career while others surpass you? The reality is that there are millions of employees actively seeking a highly coveted promotion and millions of job seekers waiting for an employee to misstep. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but there are some elements you can control to end the cycle.

If you are tired of facing uncertainty, doubt, and the fear of being fired in your career, it’s time to do something about it. Here are three steps you can take to improve as an employee, prove your worth, or even reestablish your career:


Technology is always changing and adapting for the better, and there is no better time for you to follow suit. No matter your industry or job title, there will always be a new methodology readily available to enhance work efficiencies. Make a conscious effort to adapt alongside your industry and train yourself and your team. If you feel you are in a repetitive, vapid cycle, this is the perfect way to shake things up. Do your due diligence in researching new advancements and trialing new techniques. 

A great example of a resource I’ve used in upskilling is The HubSpot Academy. With hundreds of lessons and certifications available in topics varying from Customer Mapping, Inbound Marketing, Sales Strategies, Web Design, to Lead Generation, it is an excellent resource for bettering yourself and your organization. Additionally, adding new certifications and expanding your horizons is an enticing resume booster.

Let’s be realistic – No employer wants to fire their employees – but if you choose to remain stagnant for your career, you are only forcing their hand. A recent study by Employee Benefit News (EBN) revealed that the average cost of replacing an employee is 33% of their salary. For a $50,000 annual salary, this would amount to $16,500. That’s not a chunk of change management teams will comfortably be willing to relinquish.

Ask for More Responsibility 

Asking for increased responsibilities will offer the opportunity to put your new skills to the test and to learn even more. If you believe you can take a larger role with greater responsibility, communicate it with your boss. But keep in mind that if you are not 100% confident in your work’s quality, chances are he/she won’t be either. Reaching this step may require some upskilling and critical thinking. 

Although your qualifications may not yet be worthy of a salary bump and new job title, taking on a new assignment is the best step to getting there. Don’t let employers speculate on what you are capable of in a more significant role. Instead, show your aptitude for the work before you consider a promotion or new job. Not only will this provide a chance to show you are trustworthy and competent, but it shows initiative as well.

When making your ‘ask’ for increased responsibility, come prepared with an example. If your boss is on board, he/she will likely ask what you had in mind. Do you want your shot at running a project or managing others? Explain why you have what it takes. Did you identify a new problem that needs addressing? Have the beginning stages of a new solution ready. Lastly, don’t demand an immediate answer, but rather encourage your boss to think it over for the week. 

Revamp Your Networking Efforts

Update your social networks – everything from LinkedIn to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This includes contact information, location, biographies/career summaries, and adding work history, descriptions, and examples of your expertise to your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is always a great tool to make new connections in various industries and locations, but each of these platforms can help build name recognition. Don’t be afraid to reach out to interesting individuals and make an introduction. Do you think you could desire a career change soon? Use LinkedIn to connect with recruiters and hiring managers, and toggle your ‘Career Interests’ to ‘On’ in the profile section.

Create or enhance your elevator pitch. Don’t simply share your work history and assignment you completed. Tell a story (using the STAR Approach) that demonstrates your critical thinking, problem-solving, decision-making, and creative abilities.

“Your elevator pitch should consist of what you’ve done, what you’re doing, and where you’re going.” – Jason Patel

Studies show that 85% of all jobs are filled through networking. For more on this and additional steps to building and maintaining a strong network, check out these six tips from our friends at Northeastern University

Wrap Up

There is never a bad time to learn a new skill or improve on a workplace procedure. Keeping your mind fresh and avoiding career burnout starts with intentionality. Quit procrastinating and start today!

If your conversation for increased responsibility doesn’t go as planned, don’t lose hope. Asking your boss what goals can be placed to expand on your role is a great step to reigniting your motivation. In addition to setting goals for yourself, your boss will likely jump at the chance to throw new weekly or monthly objectives your way. When you surpass them, maybe it can be time for the ‘increased responsibility’ conversation again. 

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