Career Advice How to Get Promoted

Top Advice on Getting The Promotion You Want

While sometimes it may seem as though a promotion will never happen, you can ensure that you set yourself up for professional success. With careful strategising and intentional actions, the promotion you want can be within reach. Before making demands with your boss, clearly identify your goal and make preparations early on to make your ideal position an easy win. Consider the following questions and gather strong responses before you talk to your boss.

Does my boss know that I want this promotion? A common error that employees make is to assume that the boss or decision-makers know of their interest in a particular role or position. Just because it may seem obvious to you that moving up is your next natural professional step, your supervisor may not have given the time or thought to your career path. Ask your manager about your professional development and articulate your desire and suitability by addressing some of the items below. 

What are my accomplishments so far? Numbers and examples are hard to refute. From the first day on the job, keep a log of your performance highlights. If it’s easy for you to forget these, imagine how little attention your boss will be paying to your achievements. Keep a running list and update it regularly to have easy access to your accomplishments. When possible, use numbers or quantifiable data to summarise your contributions (e.g. closed five new deals a month, handled twelve escalated consumer complaints, or sourced two new high profile clients contributing 13% of the company’s yearly revenue). Have these milestones and successes ready to present to your manager during your conversation. 

Which areas have I displayed initiative? Consider the ways that you have set yourself apart from other colleagues at your level. Most supervisors value a person’s ability to problem solve, streamline work processes, and strategise ways without having to spoon-feed or lead the effort every time. Highlighting instances where you have done this will help increase your boss’s confidence that you can take on a larger and more challenging role within the company. 

What have I done to grow my skills since first being hired? In other words, how have you been developing professionally? Be prepared to articulate the training, mentorship, courses, or apprenticeships that you have participated in that have given you new tools and skills since your original hire. Tie them to the tasks of the new position you desire. The goal is to make it easy for your boss to agree that you have the tools required to not only receive a promotion, but excel once you are in the position. If additional training is cost-prohibitive, enhance yourself in this area by volunteering for projects where you can learn new skills or seek out a mentor (in your company or elsewhere) who can offer insight and guidance. 

Have I asked for and responded to feedback on my performance? Just as you should be tracking your accomplishments, start early with asking for feedback. Your boss will be impressed that you are actively seeking ways to grow and improve. It will also illustrate that you are open to critical feedback. Supervisors typically appreciate being able to correct someone 
without it becoming a big ordeal. Seek specific feedback about your suitability to move upwards in the organisation and what that would require. Just by asking this question, you plant an early seed in your boss’s mind that you have goals for career advancement down the line.

Have I projected a professional image in line with the role I want to take on? Basic things to consider are professional dress, interactions, and attitude when at work. Aim to project the type of employee that represents the company well and take your behavioural cues from the top leadership. Generally, this means avoid complaining, be solution-focused, manage your emotions effectively, avoid gossip, and offer to help others out. Also participate in some of the community-building efforts that your company sponsors, such as outreach programmes, holiday parties, and corporate sports teams. If you are seen by your boss as a flexible and enjoyable person inside and outside the office, it will be easy for them to imagine you leading others and taking on greater responsibilities. 

Set your sights on where you aim to go early on. Choose behaviours and ways to spend your time that will inch you closer to your goal and be vocal with your boss about your professional development. Eagerness and enthusiasm are generally well-rewarded in the workplace and soon you will be a shoo-in for the promotion you desire.