There are few things more rewarding than getting a promotion. It’s an accomplishment that validates the hard work you’ve put in at your job, underscores your value to your organization and colleagues, and – as importantly – presents an opportunity for your friends, family and coworkers to heap some well-deserved praise on you. And no matter how humble you might be, that feels good! Oh, and a promotion usually means a bit more cash in the bank…
But promotions can be tricky things – not only in the sense that it usually takes a lot of hard work to get one, but also in the more nuanced sense that there is strategy involved in when to go for it. We’ve already covered that second point in a recent blog post on deciding when the time is right for a promotion, so in this post, we’ll offer three tips to help you reach the next rung on your career ladder.
Plan, Plan, Plan
We realize this isn’t the sexiest tip – and if you’re a slightly disorganized person, this will sound especially painful – but the quickest path to attaining that promotion is devising a plan for how you’ll get there. This is one of the reasons you (hopefully) have a manager or supervisor, as they can help you develop that plan.
One of the first items in your plan should be fully understanding the roles and responsibilities of your desired position. Well-run organizations expect you to be executing the responsibilities of the position above you before they move you into it, so you should know exactly what those responsibilities are. Hopefully your organization has an official job description for each role within the company – if so, get your hands on it, and if not, request that one be created.
Now that you know exactly what your new position entails, another critical step is to document everything. No, we’re not advocating that you become the “hall monitor” of your organization tracking every move your colleagues make – after all, that’s what HR’s for, right? Instead, we’re advising that you create a repository for all feedback you receive on your performance and anything related to your path to the next level. You can use almost any tool for this; a simple folder in your email will do the trick. The point here is you want to be able to demonstrate to your organization’s decision-makers that you’ve done what’s expected (and ideally, more) to warrant moving you to the next level.You want a promotion, but maybe not to the position on the next rung on your organizational ladder. Rather than feeling trapped, get creative! Click To Tweet
Observe & Adapt
If there’s one skill the human species has mastered over the course of our existence, it’s being adaptable. Just as we learned to evolve so we could thrive alongside other species in highly diverse environments, we have the ability to change our behaviors and mindsets in the workplace. And you might just find that this skill comes in quite handy in your campaign to get promoted.
Now that you know the specific responsibilities of your desired position, you can take it a step further and begin observing your colleagues in that position:
From those crucial observations, you can adapt your approach and mindset accordingly. Don’t become a copycat, but there are tremendous benefits to be gained from emulating the behaviors of successful people around you.
You want a promotion, but maybe not to the position on the next rung on your organizational ladder. Rather than feeling trapped, get creative! Perhaps your organization has specialist roles outside of the “common track” you could explore. After all, skills are like muscles, and you’re bound to have some skills that you’ve worked extra hard at honing, meaning you’re especially strong in that area. If your organization has a certain specialist role that places an emphasis on that skill, it stands to reason you’d perform well in that role.
But what if your organization doesn’t offer any specialist roles? Consider creating a brand new position! Yes, this could seem daunting and unrealistic, but you might be surprised to find out how open your organization is to this idea, provided you can make a case for the value it will bring your company. After all, if you’ve developed a skill – especially to the point that you’re the only one who has it, making you almost indispensable – your organization would be foolish to dismiss the idea of turning that into a full-time role for you.
So, there you have it: three techniques to help you get that promotion. As your parents would say, there’s no substitute for good old-fashioned hard work – and that’s true – but by putting a little bit of strategy behind that elbow grease, you’ll be climbing the ladder faster than you ever thought was possible.