Do you feel like you’re stuck in your current job? Are you ready to move up? It’s tough to climb the corporate ladder, but if you want a job that excites you and pays well, you’ll likely have to make the climb at some point. If you want to get a promotion, you’ll need to be a patient team player while also being an ambitious self-promoter.
Promotions are not a given. It used to be that employees progressed along specific career paths during their careers, but the impact of technology, globalization, and flatter organizational structures, has changed that paradigm. Today, we have to create and manage our own career paths – through one or multiple organizations. And remember that a promotion is not always an upward path. Sometimes – especially in today’s business environment – you may need to make a lateral move to position yourself for a later upward move.
Here are 10 strategies to incorporate into your promotion plan:
1. Concentrate on doing the best you possibly can in your current position.
Excellent performance reviews aren’t sufficient to get you a promotion, but they’re necessary for it. So are good attendance, punctuality and a willingness to go the extra mile when the company needs it. Showing up 5 minutes early and leaving later can turn into a fortune of extra income over your lifetime when you are the one that gets the promotion.
2. Be visible
Be a self-marketer, not a self-promoter,’ says John Lees, author of Take Control Of Your Career. ‘Self-marketing focuses on the needs of the buyer rather than the qualities and features of the product, and is not about projecting an ego.’ What’s your employer’s biggest challenge? How can you help them overcome this?
Sell yourself – and let it be known that you are seeking a promotion. I know someone who sends out a monthly email to his boss and his boss’s boss to keep them updated on his progress on various projects – and to share any accomplishments and accolades that occurred in the previous month.
3. Develop mentoring relationships
A strong relationship with a manager or someone higher up in your department can open a lot of doors for you. For one thing, you’ll likely learn a lot about the organization and about the jobs you might want to get in the future. One recent study found that in four out of five promotions, those promoted had a mentoring relationship with someone higher in the company who helped spread the good word about them. Some companies have formal mentoring programs, but even if your company does not, there are still ways you can build relationships with people in higher positions in the company.
4. Quantify results
While promotions are not necessarily based on your past performance, you can certainly make a much better case for a promotion by showing detailed information about your past successes. Those who get results get ahead.
Keep a record of everything you do that enhances the company’s bottom line, that puts the company or your department in a good light, that is creative and innovative, and that shows your loyalty and commitment to the organization.
5. Acquire new knowledge and skills
It goes without saying that one of the best ways to succeed in getting a promotion is to expand your knowledge and skills sets in areas that are critical to the organization. As technology and other environmental forces change rapidly, you need an ever-increasing skill set not only to perform your job, but to stay marketable.
Experts also suggest that employees who want to get ahead should not only keep current with industry news and events, but to also pay attention to trends and events outside their specialty.
For those who find that adding education to their resume would help their promotion prospects, there are plenty of business and leadership online degree programs available from accredited universities.
6. Master office politics
Relationships with others become more important as your career advances. Senior roles demand a higher level of political sensitivity, so show that you can navigate the minefield of office politics. Communicate openly and transparently and, if you must confront someone about a situation, go through formal channels.
7. Build your network
The more people who know you, know your strengths and abilities, know your value to the organization, and know (at least some of) your ambitions, the more likely your name will be discussed when opportunities arise. It really is not enough to work very hard if nobody knows about you.
An added benefit of networking is that you will learn much more about the company if you network with people in other areas of the organization.
8. Be a team player
Because so much of work is now accomplished through teams – departmental or cross-functional – it becomes even more important to share successes with your team and to avoid pointing your finger when there are failures.
And by being a team player, you only build your reputation and increase your value to the organization.
9. Embrace change
Research by The Academy of Management found that inability to cope with change makes bosses unwilling to promote otherwise capable employees. Whether it’s a revision to your hours, budget or team, don’t moan about how unhappy you are – actively seek ways of making the changes work for you instead.
10. Ask for more responsibilities
Volunteering to help out other departments or teams – or simply asking for more responsibilities – increases your value within the organization. Asking for more work shows your interest and desire to help your department and company to succeed – as well as putting a spotlight on your value to the organization.
11. Create your own opportunities
After studying the needs and challenges of the organizations, if you see an area that has been neglected – and you have key skills in that area – write a proposal for a new position.
And even if the company does not go for the new position, you have again shown your initiative, creativity, and value to the firm – and these things can only help you the next time you request a promotion.
12. Prepare for a ‘no’
Even if you’re denied a promotion, now is the best time to lay foundations for the future. Ask when you can reapply: in three or six months, for example, or after a certain milestone has been achieved, such as landing a certain number of new clients. Follow up with an email thanking your manager for their time and confirming the details you discussed.
How do you develop your promotion plan? I’d love to hear your ideas!
If you’d like some help in getting promoted, please answer a few questions on http://www.talkwithmargaret.com to apply for a complimentary 20-minute consultation with me.