If you're seriously thinking of catapulting your career forward, you've got to work hard and smart. Climbing the corporate ladder requires strategic, sustained effort.

These pointers could motivate you to propel your career to greater heights.

Get professional help

Make an appointment with a career counsellor to map out your strengths and weaknesses, to know what works best for you. He can help you to reassess your career goals so that you can align your priorities and interests with your job aspirations.

Have a plan

Think thorough the steps you need to take for your next promotion and career goal. Factor in variables like resources, and reassess them from time to time. You can also discuss your aspirations with management. If they recognise your potential and contributions, or your company supports employee development initiatives, they will be happy to further develop a win-win relationship with you. Consider leaving if your firm has no interest in its human resources.

A rising tide lifts all ships

Aspire to a department or another posting where promising growth potential, exciting opportunities or new ventures are be expected, even if it means making a lateral move. Such positions allow you to flex your skills and flaunt your talents fully, and results are usually more visible, too.

Network, network, network

Networking cannot be over-emphasised if you want to make an impression, build relationships and nurture opportunities. A good network within and beyond a company will stand you in good stead. Even if people you come into contact with don't seem to have a direct relation to you or your job, you never know how or when these folks could be important to you in future.

Never burn your bridges

If you want to keep a clean slate, don't risk spilling the beans on your superiors or colleagues as you never know who may come to hear of it. It could even affect relationships with colleagues in your next job, or with current colleagues that you may work with again in future.

The more the merrier

Do interact with individuals other than your own bosses and co-workers. The more people you get to know, the higher your chances of having them recall you or your skills.

Take risks

Make a calculated attempt to volunteer for or spearhead a daunting project. If you are confident about delivering the goods, you will be handsomely rewarded. But never take the plunge without assessing the risks involved. A rash step could cost you your job!

Of bosses and superiors

Support your supervisor at all times, even if you do not always agree with him, so he will feel that you are a valuable asset to him. You can voice your opinions. but ultimately, respect his views as a decision-maker. Time will tell if your contributions would have been helpful or not.

Don't stop learning

So you think that life's going to be a breeze now that you've obtained that diploma or degree and a good job? Dream on. The employment climate is ever-changing and you will always face stiffer competition from better candidates. Whether it's a one-day workshop or a one-year academic programme, don't stop exploring new educational opportunities that will increase your skills and knowledge. You should also stay current in your profession. Keep yourself informed about industrial trends and position yourself to be relevant to them.