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How many times have we seen a job advertised in the company newsletter and wished to ourselves, “If only I had the right training”? Most of us can relate to that. And most of us can also relate to letting the opportunity pass us by without even really considering it, much less go after it. But is it possible to get a promotion when you’re not qualified? Maybe, says A. Harrison Barnes, a renowned career coach. It’s going to take a bit of a sacrifice, though. In the long run, and regardless of whether you’re offered the position, anything you do can only help you in the grand scheme of things. Making up your mind to do it is only the beginning.

First things first – if you see yourself growing by leaps and bounds in another department, consider applying for a lateral move. You have to start some place, says Barnes, who is also the founder of Consider it your first sacrifice. By positioning yourself in the right department, you’re likely to learn more about the department as a whole. If you’re in personnel now, you can be sure accounting is going to operate on a different foundation and different guidelines. Applying for a management job in a department you know nothing about is not going to serve your purpose nor land you the job.

This is the time to expand your educational horizons, too. No time to attend classes at the junior college? Consider online or distance learning courses. These are affordable, easy to keep up with and allow you to pace yourself. Sacrifice a lunch hour or two during the week, a Saturday night and maybe one or two evenings during the week after the kids have gone to bed, and before long, you’ll have the educational bases covered.

Another great recommendation A. Harrison Barnes makes is to volunteer to help plan the next event that will allow you to really get involved in the area you’re interested in pursuing. You’ll get to know the people in the department and this allows you to also gain recognition by other managers who might influence which candidate is chosen for the job opening. While you may miss out on the job posting right now, there are always opportunities, especially for promoting within the company.

Finally, be sure to let the right people know that your goal is to aim higher and that you’re taking steps to make it happen. Often, employees who have already proven themselves will be able to bypass some of the more restrictive job requirements that a new candidate would have to meet. It’s about meeting the initiative, showing dedication and determination and then taking the plunge that could start you out on an entirely new and rewarding career. As with all things, though, no one can do it for us – it’s our responsibility to chase those dreams and make them happen.

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