Let’s be honest … very few people start working at a company with the intention of remaining indefinitely at the position for which they were hired.
Many of us only interview with companies where we see potential for growth. From the get go, questions that come to mind include: “Is this a company I can grow with? Where do I see myself in the next year? In five years?”
Each step up the corporate ladder is generally going to involve asking for and receiving a promotion, and every time will get you a little bit closer to your ‘dream’ job.
1. Ask for more responsibilities. Volunteering to do more work shows your interest and desire to help your department and company to succeed, as well as highlighting your value within the organization. It also gives your boss the option of gradually giving you more important duties rather than just throwing you into a new position.
2. Build your network. The more people who know you, know your strengths and abilities, know your value to the organization, and know your ambitions, the more likely your name will be discussed when opportunities arise. Often there will be more people involved in deciding whether to promote you than just your direct manager.
3. Show them the numbers. When you make your pitch about what a great job you’ve been doing and how you contribute to the company, it will give you credibility if you can show your employer or supervisor specific results. Prepare documentation showing how your brilliant ideas have helped.
4. Acquire new skills. It goes without saying that any time you have the opportunity to learn something new, you should take it. In particular, when you’re seeking a promotion, you’ll impress your boss if you can show that you’ve learned new skills that go beyond your current position. This is key to staying marketable.
5. 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. As you take on increased responsibility, focus on delivering quality work that makes an impact.
6. Learn how to ‘sell’ yourself. We’re taught at a young age to be modest, but just as with job-hunting, if no one knows how great you are, you simply won’t get ahead. Remember, this is about you, so concentrate on all of your positive aspects and not on anybody else’s negative ones.
7. Develop mentoring relationships. Many promotions are established because people have a mentoring relationship with someone higher in the company who helped spread the good word about them. Mentors can be great sources for information and career guidance. Try to get experience working on projects that involve other leaders within the company.
8. Excel in your current role. Make yourself indispensable by being proactive, having a positive attitude and being a flexible “team player”. Come up with ideas, solve problems before your manager asks. Do what it takes to be their right hand.
9. Schedule a private meeting. Since during the day your boss is generally going to be busy, it’s a bad idea to just ask for a couple of minutes of his or her time. If you try to talk about a promotion in that setting, you could get shot down without your boss even looking up. Instead, schedule an appointment so that a block of time is set aside specifically for listening to you.
10. Establish a bond with your boss. Use professional settings to seek counsel and stress your interest in staying with the company. Use performance appraisals not just to go over your accomplishments, but to talk with your boss about potential roadblocks to a promotion — and how to overcome those roadblocks.