Moving up to another level in your career is all about showing a willingness to take on more responsibility.
So assuming you want to take on more tasks, how do you ask for them, and once you have been given them, how do you make sure you carry on performing your regular duties satisfactorily?
Asking for more
Nobody ever got sacked for asking for extra work. Most employers like nothing more than a willing worker so asking for extra work or responsibility will inevitably get a favourable response. Presuming you're performing your current duties in a satisfactory way, asking for more work shows you have initiative, drive and ambition.
Before you ask, think about what responsibilities you both enjoy and can perform well. Going in out of your depth will have the opposite effect you are looking for. Once you have identified your preferred tasks, your enthusiasm will be genuine rather than merely dutiful.
Rather than stepping on someone else's toes and trying to take over their job, look around at tasks that nobody is currently performing to see if you can lend a hand. Are there monthly statistics that need collating or an internal newsletter you could create to keep everyone up to speed with company news? If you can only find tasks that other people are already performing, approach them directly to see if they would like you to help lighten their workload.
Adding the new work to your existing load
You asked for more work; now you have to be ready to handle it! Before you ask for more, be realistic and make sure you have the time to actually do it.
Ask someone who already performs the tasks you're looking to get involved with to see how much of their day they take up. If you have any doubts about over facing yourself, wait. The irresistible urge to seek out and take on more and more assignments might be better spent shadowing someone for a few hours a week rather than jumping in with both feet and falling flat on your face.
Succeeding in your ability to take on more responsibility will increase your confidence and even allow you to take on new projects outside your regular work activities You will be able to take your skills and potential to new heights and gain the new skills and competencies required for success.
Turning down responsibility
To seek responsibility is the way to move ahead in your organisation, but often you will be given extra responsibilities when you already have lots on. If your boss has seen you as a reliable, ambitious worker they may not know how much you have on your plate, so when they ask you to do more you may ruin their expectations by failing. In this case it is perfectly acceptable to decline extra responsibility – even if it is a one-off assignment
It's far better to say up-front that you simply can't deliver the kind of quality that’s required in the time given. Perhaps offer a different timeframe or positively work out a deferment of your other work. In all cases, be positive and proactive, reach out and grasp all of the responsibility you can handle.
More responsibility is often seen as the way to a bigger pay packet, and when it comes to your annual review you can certainly state your new responsibilities as a reason why you should get a bigger salary. Be careful not to hold your boss to ransom though by saying you'll do the tasks only if you get an extra slice of pie. The rewards will come in the long-term if you're seen as someone willing to put in the extra effort for the company.
Remember, asking for assignments, rather than being given them, means that you are serious about your commitment and career – and somebody to be respected. Being proactive enables you to take control of your extra responsibility, you'll end up being given more resources and assistance and a better chance of succeeding – and being acknowledged for your work.