4 Failproof Strategies to Help You Get a Promotion
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Promotions are one of the staples of career growth. They are a way for workers to increase their earnings and to see their skills and expertise validated.
But, promotions are not always easy to get. While companies would offer employees a clear growth path in the ideal world, this is not always the case.
Between organization reshuffling, mergers, acquisitions, market instability, and other unexpected factors, promotions can often fall into the background and not be prioritized. So how can workers maximize their chances of getting a promotion, and how can they nudge their manager and organization in the right direction?
In this post, we’re sharing some valuable tips.
1. Take control of your success
Sounds obvious—doing your job well is the key to unlocking successful career development. But here’s the catch: ensuring your success is visible and appreciated is what actually paves the way toward a promotion.
Track your achievements
Working on many cool projects or bringing successful results will not smoothen your road to promotion if you cannot track your results. Keeping a log of your achievements will help ensure your work is recognized when the time comes.
Participate in new projects
While overburdening yourself with work is never a good idea, a forward-thinking approach can be a great strategy when choosing how to allocate your time and energy. Find new projects outside your regular tasks that match your interests and growth expectations, and join in on them. You can even suggest new initiatives to your manager if nothing fits your goals and needs.
Lead projects from start to end
Having your results recognized is often a marathon rather than a sprint. Seeing projects through to their end will ensure your contributions are noticed while giving you a holistic understanding of complex projects beyond your tasks exclusively.
Rely on data
A graph or a chart can say more than 1000 words. Don’t build your success on word salad and subjectivity; make sure it’s founded on verifiable data and numbers. For example, instead of saying “I increased the conversion rate of cold emails”, say “I increased the average conversion rate of cold emails by [add percentage] within [add time frame] by [add actions you took to achieve this]”.
2. Maintain a positive attitude and build relationships
The right attitude can go a long way in the workplace. Productivity and results are essential, as are culture and state of mind. Building and maintaining a positive attitude in the workplace can be a great way to become a recognized and reliable linchpin between people, culture, and projects.
Be open to socializing
While how, and how much you want to socialize with your colleagues is a matter of personal preference, the bonds you create between people, roles, and projects can be a powerful way to ensure your name comes up when it's time to fill a new position.
Your coworkers are people just like you, with interests, passions, opinions, and different approaches to work. Being open to discovering who they are with genuine curiosity will help create a positive interaction culture. But don’t be fake about it; that might have the opposite result!
Be curious about your work environment
Like the people around you, your workplace is a dynamic environment where things constantly develop and change. Be curious about it, and make sure you know what’s going on in different teams and projects that you’re not participating in. It may help you learn new methods, processes, and tricks to help your work be more efficient.
Participate in company culture
A company culture is the sum of the attitudes, personalities, and behaviors of the people that are part of it. By actively contributing to shaping your company culture, you can ensure causes and behaviors you value are considered.
Turn complaints into constructive criticism
No workplace is perfect, but endless complaints don’t help fix issues. Moreover, if you give the impression you can’t find a way to tackle the challenges in your current role, it’s unlikely you will be considered for a position with more responsibility and complexity.
This doesn’t mean you should ignore issues; just be constructive in your feedback. If you spot a problem, suggest a solution.
Determine actionable points
Many decisions get postponed, and projects are delayed by endless rounds of meetings and feedback that don’t seem to go anywhere.
Step in and change this situation by always defining action points whenever possible. Encourage others to participate and keep a record of progress to ensure you are building a dynamic and efficient workplace.
3. Think strategically
A promotion is a non-trivial investment and has to find a place within the broader company strategy. Approaching career growth within this framework can increase your chances of getting promoted. Your ability to observe and read the room can be a key tool in ensuring you are successful in your career growth.
Know the market
It’s fundamental to understand your work environment if you are looking for a promotion. Is business booming or contracting? How is your organization positioned? How essential is your role? Questions like these can help you determine how to frame your career growth so that it seamlessly meshes with company goals and the overall market.
Choose a good timing
Even the best knowledge of the market and role can crash against bad timing regarding promotions. Understand your organization’s business calendar to ensure you time your promotion request correctly. For example, avoid the busiest months of the year or times when most decision-makers might be on holiday.
Know the company’s processes
Is there a fixed window during which promotions can be requested? Is the request up to you or your manager? Do you need to provide documentation? Knowing how promotion processes work within your organization can help you ensure you don’t suffer delays or process-based rejections. Not following the correct steps or missing deadlines may give the impression you are not truly motivated or are superficial.
4. Communicate your needs
Getting promoted is often a waiting game, however, it also requires incisive action. Knowing when and how to make your case is a fundamental step if you are looking to build a quick and effective career path.
Play the long game
Talk about your needs and aspirations with your managers even when a promotion is still far on the horizon. Make sure they know you’re open to learning and eager to grow. By doing this, you can ensure they can support you in your path to career growth by mentoring you and assigning you to projects that fit your future plans.
Don’t give up
If you genuinely want the promotion, don’t let a rejection stop you. Build a stronger case, bring better results, connect with more people, and go for it when you have another chance.
But be realistic, don’t sit and wait for a growth step you know will never come. Sometimes moving on to a new opportunity is the smartest choice.
Ask for a promotion
Even if you follow all our suggestions so far, simply waiting to be recognized for a promotion may significantly hurt your chances of getting one. People are busy and may not notice your achievements or desire to grow as clearly as you think they are.
If you don’t ask when the time is right, your next window of opportunity might not be as ideal, your achievements might not be as impressive, the market might be cooling down, or the organization might go through restructuring, putting a wrench in your plans.
Your career is in your hands
These tips aren’t quick copy-paste actions you can implement in a few weeks to speedrun your way to a new role. These attitudes and behaviors will help you become a reliable, relatable, and knowledgeable member of your team or organization, and their effects will last way beyond one promotion round, allowing your career growth to take off consistently and effectively.
Want more tips on developing your professional role? Read our article on vertical vs. horizontal career growth.