The Transition from Junior to Senior

One thing that you might notice during your job search is that some positions are prefaced with the title “Junior” and some are prefaced with “Senior.” It’s easy to figure out what these mean; one (Junior) indicates that they do not have the same level of experience or responsibility as the other (Senior). What you might not know is how you can move from one to the other.

First, know that these things differ from career path to career path. A clerk and a copywriter will have different requirements for their junior to senior transitions, although the general gist of it will remain the same. We will use some specific examples here, but they can be broadly applied across the board.

This transition from one to the other is well worth the time, and it does take time. A junior copywriter does not make nearly as much as a senior copywriter does. According to Payscale, the median pay for a senior copywriter in the United States has a yearly salary of $71,000. Junior copywriters make about $40,500. A lot of the discrepancy in pricing is because of the extra responsibility as senior copywriters often need to take the lead on projects, but it also relates to the proven experience that comes with the “Senior” title. And this goes for any career; not just that of a copywriter. According to the same data that provided these salaries, more than 50 percent of all senior copywriters had ten or more years of experience.

Besides that large amount of time spent with the company before making the transition, other things need to happen. You need to have a proven history of being able to work well with other people and you should be able to provide leadership when needed. If you aren’t showing signs of leadership and maturity as a Junior developer, for example, there is no reason for your employer to believe that you will magically make this transition once a new job title is given to you. The sooner you are able to develop these skills, the better. If you aren’t sure how to do this, it is worth it to speak to your manager about what they look for in their leaders, and what strengths and weaknesses they see in you. You probably already know what some of these are, so be prepared to talk about them, but also be receptive to what they have to say. There’s no possible way that you are able to see every single thing about your own work ethic and attitude that a trained outsider will see, so even if you don’t exactly like what you are told, pay attention. The transition from “Junior” to “Senior” doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t even happen over the course of a couple years. This is a several year thing, and the sooner you are aware of the behaviors and attitudes that need to change, the faster you can speed this process up.

Along with these things, you need to have a large degree of mastery over the position. As a junior copywriter, you probably have a bachelor’s degree and a strong set of writing skills, but do you know how to write the kind of copy that your intended audience wants and enjoys? You probably have a decent idea, but this is something that can take a few years to get the nuances of correct. So, you need to be patient and you need to be a student of the skills essential to your career.

A combination of these things will help you to make the transition from a “Junior” whatever career you want, to a “Senior.” Yes, it’s a lot of hard work, but once you’ve done it, it will become second nature, and the effort will more than pay itself off.