Updated: May 27
Need a promotion? There is never a better time to take the opportunity to wipe the slate clean and get a head start on your professional aspirations.
Tips for Getting Promoted
While 2020 has certainly been a tough year for most, 2021 presents an opportunity to turn the page and start fresh. And as we slowly but surely make our way back to the office - at least in some part - what better way to set your sights on the new year with high energy than by prepping to get that elusive promotion? Whether your firm’s promotion cycle got pushed back because of COVID or you’re now up for a new role, make 2021 your year at your company.
First and foremost, it is important to understand that getting a promotion is more than just how well you do your job. You need to be someone that your co-workers can depend on daily, trusted by leaders, and viewed as an invaluable member of your team. So in reality, being a high-performer is table stakes. If you want to be considered for and receive a promotion, you have to be willing to go the extra mile and help out your team members. Here are some great practical tips on how to set yourself up to earn a promotion:
1. Provide more value
If you want to earn a promotion, you will need to think about what your company wants from you. Every employer wants their employees to contribute to the value of the company, so making a conscious effort to add value is one of the best ways to get promoted at work. Some good ways to increase your value are:
Participating in new types of projects to develop different skills and show that you are able to handle multiple styles of work
Exposing yourself to a broader range of company activities that enable you to expand your knowledge and experience
2. Pay attention to and learn from people who have been promoted
To identify ways you might get promoted, take a closer look at some of the people in your company who have received a promotion in recent years. Situational awareness is one of the keys to claiming your promotion. Look for common personality traits, achievements, and habits among those who have successfully been promoted. These observations may give you a better understanding of what you need to do to get a promotion yourself.
For example, some employers tend to promote employees who demonstrate good social skills and attend company outings. If this is the case in your company, especially as we return to the office, you will need to make an effort to socialize more and participate in more company events.
3. Ask for and implement feedback from your supervisor
If you want to know exactly what it takes to get a promotion, who better to turn to than the person who will be vouching for you - your supervisor / manager. Receiving and being able to implement feedback demonstrates that you are not only interested in contributing more and expanding your role, but also that you are able to improve on a consistent basis. This is a critical trait that companies want to see in employees they promote, so asking for feedback (and then acting on it) is a must.
4. Get noticed in your workplace
While it is absolutely important to put your best foot forward even when nobody is watching, an important part of getting promoted is tactfully ensuring that you are in a visible position. This doesn’t mean that you should be bragging or boasting about what you have accomplished, because you shouldn’t. Rather, you want to just make sure that you are doing everything you can to let your work and contributions speak for themselves:
Actively look for opportunities where your knowledge and abilities can be showcased, such as staff meetings or performance reviews
Volunteer to get involved in projects in other departments or participate in company-wide events
Check in with your manager regularly to ensure you’re aware of your performance
Dress neatly and professionally to make a positive impression on your employer and co-workers, which is especially important as we transition away from more casual Zoom meeting attire and into office formal.
5. Demonstrate your leadership skills
As you move into higher positions, you will need to continually improve your leadership skills. The following tips can help you be promoted to a leadership role:
Become a role model for your co-workers and gain their respect through your performance and capabilities
Always be willing to lend a helping hand; the ability to assist and even mentor others with certain tasks is a great way to demonstrate leadership skills
Whenever an opportunity arises, show your supervisor that you can lead and motivate your team members
6. Identify and solve problems
Every business has inefficiencies and problems. You can distinguish yourself as an excellent employee or show your leadership potential by taking the initiative to solve them.
Look around the office for things that are impeding productivity, generating unnecessary costs, or preventing the company from achieving its goals. Then, create a plan to improve those areas.
Companies hold self-starters in high regard. If you decide to take the initiative in areas where your company may be weak, you may have an advantage over other candidates for a promotion. However, be wary to not make up problems if they don’t exist just so that you can solve them. No need to go on a wild goose chase to look for a problem that isn’t there - just keep an eye out for inefficiencies and proactively look for solutions.
7. Become a positive presence in your workplace
Staying calm and positive under pressure is one of the most essential qualities of a good leader. By keeping your mind clear and focused at all times, you can deliver consistent results and minimize your chances of making mistakes. You will also help your team members be positive, resulting in a more conducive work environment for everyone.
8. Maintain a strong work ethic
At the end of the day, there is no substitute for hard work. You need to consistently demonstrate a solid work ethic and strive to become the hardest-working person in every situation. Your work performance should show that you have already mastered your current role and are ready to take on a more challenging position in the company.
Stick to the Basics
While it is important to make sure you are preparing for your promotion and looking for ways to get ready, it is just as important to not lose sight of what got you this far. Do not let your long-term goals overshadow what you must do on a daily basis - be punctual to all meetings, hit your deadlines, be meticulous and detail-oriented, and help your co-workers and supervisors at every opportunity. To move up the ladder to the next step of your career, you have to prove to decision makers and leadership that you are ready and deserving enough to take on more responsibility. As a result, continuing to stick to the basics while looking ahead is table stakes if you want to be in a position to earn a promotion.
The Bottom Line
Any day can be an excellent opportunity to wipe the slate clean and get a head start on your professional aspirations. Your promotion is there for the taking - now is as good a time as any to start preparing and making sure you’re doing all the right things to set yourself up to receive the promotion you’ve been seeking.
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