A promotion won’t just fall into your lap. If you want to climb up the career ladder, you need to be proactive. Denise Taylor offers some tipsWant to get a promotion? A positive relationship with your boss is a valuable asset. Photograph: Sarah Lee
“Anything is possible it’s just hard work and grafting,” Mo Farah.
That attitude might get you a double Olympic gold but will it get you promoted at work? Probably not. Too many people think that doing a good job is all they need to get a promotion or an exciting new assignment, but it’s unlikely to be enough. Here are some tips to make sure your grafting isn’t wasted.
Know your goal
The biggest misconception about promotions is that they naturally occur with time. It’s not enough to think you deserve one; you must understand and clearly demonstrate how you meet the requirements. Also, do you want a promotion within your current job or are you looking for a position elsewhere? Be clear on what you want from the offset so you can take the right action to help you get there.
Get your boss on your side
If you are aiming for an internal promotion you need to get your boss on your side. Schedule a one to one review meeting and let him/her know that you want to find out how you can be more effective at work.
Seek honest feedback from your manager on how you match up to higher levels within your company. You may need to learn to take a more strategic rather than tactical view of your organisation. Too many people only see their organisation through the view of their own department or profession. Look broader into IT, marketing and do some competitor analysis.
Help your boss
Set up a meeting with your boss to find out more about their objectives, so you can focus on helping him or her be successful. Volunteer to stay late if an urgent task needs completing – it demonstrates commitment to the job.
You can help your boss by anticipating what they will need. While Fran’s boss was on holiday a new project request came in, with a deadline just two days after her boss’s return. She collected relevant research and made suggestions for how to work on this. Her boss was very impressed and Fran was taken along to the meeting and was involved in developing future project proposals.
Keep your boss informed
Our bosses are often unaware of the mini successes we have in our jobs each week, so make sure you document them and send your boss a summary each month. If you have people who work for you, give your boss an update on their successes as well. Make sure you are on LinkedIn and start to get recommendations from your boss and the people you work with.
Demonstrate commitment to your own professional development
What courses could you take to increase your knowledge/experience? It doesn’t have to be a masters level qualification, a short course may be useful. Make sure people within your organisation know when you have qualified. I was featured in my company newspaper after gaining an Open University degree part time alongside my full time job.
Identify trends and look out for new opportunities
In a competitive world your organisation will be seeking new projects, so if you notice a gap in the market make sure to let people know. You can produce an internal white paper based on research you have undertaken. Make sure your name gets known by including your name on the cover and some brief bio data at the end.
Look the part
If everyone else dresses casually you will stand out through being a bit smarter. Sound advice is to dress as if you are doing the job the level above, it helps others to visualise you in a different role. This also can help to increase our confidence, it makes us feel better and thus act better.
Offer to write for the company magazine. Doing so will mean you’ll be seen by many people within the company. Get chatting to people from other parts of the organisation and find out about their work and challenges. You never know when this will prove useful, and there is often a need for cross functional project teams, the more you are known the more likely your name will be suggested.
Denise Taylor is a double award winning career coach and Chartered Psychologist with Amazing People, established in 1998. She is also the author of 7 books including How To Get A Job In A Recession, Now You’ve Been Shortlisted and Fat to Fantastic