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Tips For Getting A Promotion

Category: Career Development


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. It's a difficult balance to
strike, but these tips can help.

1. Work for companies that can give you room to grow: The
type of company you work can determine your potential for promotion. When
applying for jobs, seek out companies with opportunity for advancement. You
don't have to work for a huge corporation, although these usually offer plenty
of promotion possibilities at any given time, but you do want to look for a
company that has enough going on so that you can be assured you're not running
into a dead end. Preferably this company will be doing well and growing, though
many companies, especially very large ones, tend to grow in cycles.

2. Concentrate on just 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 5 minutes after your shift can turn into
a fortune of extra income over your lifetime when you are the one that gets the

3. Make sure people know you're doing a great job: You don't
want to toot your own horn too much, but you can't always expect your merits to
speak for themselves. Keep in good contact with your supervisor, and make sure
he or she knows what you've been up to (assuming you've had some smashing
successes). Don't be an attention grabber or "brown-noser," but make
sure people know who you are and make sure you get credit where credit is due.

4. Be popular: In an ideal world, promotions would be based
solely on merit. We don't live in an ideal world, though, and office politics
will often play a role in who gets promoted and who doesn't. Use and develop
your people skills. Be kind and helpful to your coworkers, supervisors, and
underlings. Develop relationships with people you work with, play golf with the
boss, and get to know people (other than your immediate supervisor) who make
decisions in the company. Be present at company events and network with people
from outside your department.

5. Make sure the right people know you want a promotion:
Don't be afraid to tell your supervisor about your career goals--most good
supervisors will ask you about them and try to be helpful. Continue to do a
great job in your current position, and don't seem fed up with your current
work, but let decision makers know if you really want a particular job.

 6. Apply for jobs
within the company:
These days you can't just wait for a promotion to fall in
your lap. That happens sometimes, but most promotions, especially at large
companies, require you to go through the application and interview process, and
usually you'll have to compete with candidates from outside the company.

           * Apply for
the right positions:
Don't just apply for any opportunity that pays a bit more
than your current job. Look for opportunities that you are genuinely interested
in and that you are qualified for. You don't have to have all the skills listed
in the job description, and you probably won't, but you want to be able to make
a good case that you'll be able to get up to speed quickly.

          * Take the
application process seriously:
Too often, internal candidates figure they've
got the new job in the bag, but studies show that as few as 1/3 of internal
candidates win the better jobs they seek. External candidates can be extremely
competitive because they have no pretenses of security--they want the job, and
they know they'll have to put their best foot forward to get it. In addition,
companies sometimes want to bring in new people to bring new skills or
perspectives to the organization. The lesson here: don't be complacent, and
remember to "sell" yourself as you would if you were applying for any
other job.

7. Seek out new skills: If you become the best customer
service representative of all time, you're well on your way... to remaining a
highly regarded customer service representative for the rest of your career.
It's not enough to be great at your job; you also have to develop marketable
skills that prepare you for more responsibility. When you gain skills and
qualifications far beyond what your current job requires, your employer may see
keeping you in that job as a waste of your talents.

        * Go to school: If you haven't earned a Bachelor¬ís
degree, do it. If you have, consider earning a Masters or PhD, but only if one
of these qualifications will help you achieve your career goals. Don't just go
back to school for the heck of it. Instead think about what programs will help
you climb the corporate ladder. Sometimes specialized professional designations
or licenses can be far more important to getting a promotion than degrees, and
sometimes you may just need to take some classes to improve your computer
skills or accounting ability, for example. There are a wide range of education
programs available that allow you to go to class in the evenings or on
weekends, and there are also ample opportunities for accredited self-study and
online learning. What's more, your employer may reimburse you for certain
tuition expenses, so it may be possible for you to expand your knowledge at no
cost to yourself.

  • Learn a second/third language: Due to the
    increasing globalization of the world in general, more and more companies will
    be looking for people that know multiple languages. Learning more than one
    language also means you don't need a translator, which opens up international
    posts (such as a manager for an entire continent, as opposed to a state or
    small country).

        * Take on temporary projects: Temporary
projects can be a great way to broaden your skills and network with people from
other areas of the company. Many people feel uncomfortable volunteering for
these assignments because they can be challenging and can force you out of your
comfort zone. That's the point.

        * Volunteer: If you're not getting new skills
at work, consider volunteering your spare time to a non-profit organization.
Large, well-recognized non-profits almost always offer a wealth of
opportunities to learn new things, and smaller organizations may also have
suitable projects you could work on. Successful non-profits typically look to
fill volunteer positions with people who are qualified to do the job, but with
a little persistence you should be able to find an opportunity that uses your
existing skills and helps you build new skills. Your community involvement can
also be a plus toward your getting your promotion.

8. Get a mentor: 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. For another, you'll have an ally who will be
willing to go to bat for you when you do decide to apply for a new opportunity.
Finally, your mentor may groom you to succeed him or her when they move up or

9. Groom a successor: It's a common paradox, you're so good
at your job that you're indispensable, but you're so indispensable in your
current position that the company would fall apart if you were to leave that
position. The solution to this problem is to take another employee under your
wing and train him or her so that they will be ready to fill your shoes if you
get promoted. Some people are afraid that their understudy will take their job
if they do this, but as long as you're a great employee and continue to develop
your skills, the only way you'll lose your current job is by getting promoted.
Training another employee (or several) also shows that you have management
skills and that you care about helping other employees develop their skills.

10. Develop a new position: If you figure out a better way
to do your existing job or see the need for a new position, don't be afraid to
talk to management about creating this position. Since you're the one who saw
the need and, presumably, you're best qualified for the position, this can help
you take on new responsibilities, even if you don't get a big pay raise at

11. Seek employment elsewhere: If, for whatever reason, you
seem to be at a dead end with your current employer, it's time to look for
better opportunities elsewhere. This can be hard if you feel a loyalty to your
employer, but you do need to do what is in the best interest of your career or
you will become unhappy with your job. Recent surveys show that as many as 75
percent of employees are looking for new jobs at any given time, so you won't
be alone.