Promotions very rarely just fall into your lap and the reality is that you’re going to have to work for it.
You might think that you’re ready to take that next step up the ladder, but industrial psychologist Phiona Martin says it’s important to first assess whether there are any gaps between the skills you possess and the competencies that are required for a role at the next level.
“If, for instance, you don’t have experience in budgeting or managing a project, put a plan in place to get exposure to those aspects of your jobs, so that you can gain the skills to move to the next level,” she says.
1. Record your successes
It’s entirely possible that your work gets overlooked by your manager, so the onus is really on you to show them how good you are.
File every compliment you receive from a client. Every task or project that you execute successfully, make a record of it and file it so that you have evidence to back you up when highlight your achievements.
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“Set aside some time to think about what you’ve already achieved in the past six months and try to track down documentation to support this,” Martin advises.
2. Make your career ambition clear to your boss
You can’t be afraid to go after what you what so it’s important to make your ambition explicitly clear to your boss. Use your performance appraisal as the opportunity to verbalise the career trajectory you want to be taking.
3. Speak to other colleagues who have been promoted
Speaking to fellow employees will help you prepare.
“Every organisation has its own culture and way of doing things. For this reason, it’s a good idea to speak to other employees who have recently been promoted and ask them how they got ready to move to the next stage,” Martin says.
4. Find a mentor
A mentor can help you get to where you want to be faster and the person doesn’t necessarily have to work for the same company, but it would be beneficial.
“Identify the areas you want to develop and then have a person coach you on how to get to that next level in terms of your organisational culture,” she advises.
5. Put your hand up
Taking the initiative is very important to securing that promotion. Take on additional projects and responsibilities and deliver well on them.
“This will allow you to demonstrate that you have taken on increased scope in your job. If you can show that you are, for instance, doing 30% more work than your average peer that will cast you in a very good light to your manager come promotion time,” says Martin.
But while you take on all this extra responsibility, be careful not to let your day-to-day duties and performance slide.
6. Play the game
Every organisation has office politics and there’s always an inner circle. Identity who these individuals are and try get them on your side.
“In trying to navigate that, take strong consideration of organisational politics and work out who you need on your side so that your efforts won’t be futile. If you can get someone at a senior level with influence to advocate for you, that will assist,” she advises.
“Make sure you display your positive, can-do attitude because that will get you noticed and convince your supervisors that you have what it takes to succeed at the next level.”