Gaining a Promotion is a Job in Itself
If you have been at the same job for some time, it is all too easy just to assume that a promotion will come along every year, like a Christmas bonus or holiday accrual. But you have to do much, much more than turn up and do your job to make it to the next level. More responsibility means actively demonstrating to your boss that you are ready, willing and able to take on a new role.
There are certain strategies that you need to adopt in order to take your career to the next level. Whether you are still in the early stages of your professional journey or you are looking at progressing into senior management, the same principles can be applied to help you get ahead.
Model Yourself on Your Manager
From day one in your job, you should be looking to your superiors for pointers on how to manage yourself and your tasks. Be open to new ideas, be proactive, speak up, take on tasks rather than wait to have them delegated to you. Offer your insight and ideas. This is not about ‘sucking up’, this is about creating a value proposition from the get-go that will be recognised and rewarded. And by doing so, you will be not only an effective worker but one that will be marked out for promotion in the future.
Ongoing Professional Development
In addition, always be open to improving your industry knowledge with recognised accreditation. If there is a seminar or short course relevant to your role – or the role you want – present a case to your boss outlining how it could be beneficial for you, and the company, if you were to attend. Continuing to develop and grow your skills can put you on the fast track for that promotion, or help you expand your current role to include more of the work you love.
Do not be an Isolationist
Whilst you are being a great employee and are working toward the next level in your career, remember to cultivate relationships, both within your immediate department and across all relevant disciplines. These are the people you will be relying on in the future, and you need to develop their trust in you and your abilities. If you have people in your corner, they will be able to advocate for you. Every person in your network can help you in some way, and you never know who could be instrumental in getting you promoted.
A specific person you should build close professional relationships with is your direct manager or supervisor. This person, better than anyone else, will be able to give you valuable, candid advice on your skills, abilities and potential to succeed.
Do not Assume Your Promotion is Clear Desired
At some point, you will need to be clear that you are seeing a promotion. You cannot assume that your manager realises this just through your day-to-day conduct. They may think you are just super-capable and love what you do and are happy to continue to do so in your current role. There will come a time when you have to be explicit about your desired outcome.
Talk to your supervisor and share your aspirations with them. Ask them what specific steps you can take to make the promotion happen. When you understand exactly what is needed to be selected for a promotion, you are able to take action to make it happen.
Your Value Proposition
That value proposition we spoke about earlier is what you will showcase when you create your pitch to prove you are worthy of promotion. To create it, think about your biggest key achievements. What have you accomplished in your current role that is a great showcase of all your strengths and capabilities? What have you done that has particular relevance to the promotion you are seeking? You will want to be armed with as many demonstrable, quantifiable examples as possible. Once you have identified them, identify the positive outcomes you achieved. Did you increase efficiency? Improve productivity? Save money? Add as many facts and figures that support your statements and strengthen your pitch as you can.
Moving up the career ladder requires ambition, tenacity, resoluteness and commitment to hard work even if it means you have to wait for the right moment – which for many unrelated reasons nothing to do with you can take longer than you envisaged.
Although you might not get your promotion on the first try, do not be discouraged. By having signalled that you are serious about moving up the career ladder, and working toward building a credible professional reputation, you will build a strong case for advancement in the future.
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