Whether you have recently lost your job and are looking for a new position or you feel like your career has become stagnant, you understandably may be looking for a smart way to get the jumpstart that you need. Some people advance very quickly in their careers, but others seem to take a long and often difficult road to get to where they ultimately want to be. It can be frustrating to feel like you are turning the wheels and getting nowhere fast despite your best efforts to perform well in the workplace. If you are looking for smart ways to advance your career, there are some excellent options to consider.

Go Back to School

One of the reasons why you may not be moving forward in your career is because you lack the right degree to progress any further. Perhaps you majored in the wrong area or your degree is not advanced enough. Research job qualifications for the next rung in your career ladder, and take appropriate steps to improve your educational background accordingly. Remember that your employer may pay for some or all of your education. Employer reimbursement for tuition usually comes with the requirement that you commit to working for that employer for a period of time after you graduate. With evening and distance education options increasingly common, going back to school while continuing to hold down a full-time job is easier to do than it was previously.

Get a Certification

If earning a full degree sounds too cumbersome for you, another idea is to get a special certification in your field. Depending on the certification that you are interested in, you may be able to earn it within a few hours or over the course of several months. One idea is for restaurant workers to obtain a food handlers card, which lets you work with food directly. Each field has different certifications, and this includes in the healthcare industry, in the IT industry and more. In some cases, your employer may pay for a new certification if it is related to your job in some way.

Volunteer Strategically

You may need to obtain new skills and experiences before you can advance in your career. It can seem challenging to get your foot in the door to get the experiences that you need through a typical employment route. After all, many employers want you to already have specific skills already, and they do not want to train you on the job. Volunteering is one thoughtful way to get the extra experience you need or to gain new skills. In addition, volunteering for an organization related to your field in some way looks great on a resume. Choose your volunteering activities carefully, and plan to spend at least a few months volunteering before you try to apply your new skills and experiences to your professional goals.

Ask for Additional Training

These various options to advance your career can seem intimidating and daunting in some cases, and the good news is that they are not always necessary. Your employer may have advancement opportunities available, but your manager may not be aware of your desire to climb the corporate ladder. By simply sitting down and chatting with your boss about opportunities to take on new responsibilities or to expand your skill set, you may be included in a list of candidates considered for these opportunities in the future.

Some people are perfectly happy with their work responsibilities and income level, but others are ready to take their career to the next level. If you fall into the latter category of workers, you can see that there are numerous steps that you can take to move your career forward. A smart idea is to research requirements for the type of position that you want to work in. By doing so, you can strategically determine what your next steps will be. In some cases, you may need to combine multiple tips listed here to enjoy the best results.