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You’ve been working hard at your first job and you’re thinking about promotion…

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You’ve been working hard at your first job and you’re thinking about promotion. You’re looking for a step up with more influence, control and a larger pay packet. So how do you get promoted? 

If you think it’s out of your hands and your line manager will see you’re working hard and simply promote you then you could be wrong. The people that typically get promoted in any business have a strategy, career goals and act in a way that shows they would be good at the job they want to be promoted to. 

Oh, the other thing they do is to make sure their boss knows they want that promotion and when the time is right ask for it. Pursuing a promotion proactively increases your chances significantly. This article shows you some of the tricks of the trade when it comes to making sure you are in the running.

If you are looking for an internal promotion you need to be good at your current job. You are not going to even be considered unless you’re performing above average and your line manager knows you’re good. If you are not smashing your current role then you’ll have better chances applying for the promotion you want in another organisation. 

So, if you’re on top of your game at your current job then focus on proving that you would be good at the job you’re looking to be promoted to. The difference between someone who performs well, but is destined to stay in the same job forever, and the people who are promoted is that they adopt a continuous improvement ethos. They show their managers that they are keen to take on different responsibilities and master new skills. Take some time to watch the people in your organisation who are being promoted. You’ll see they take on new responsibilities in their current role and are often keen to add value to what they are doing. 

In addition to being keen to broaden your skill sets, you need to be great to work with. It’s harder to get promoted if your colleagues struggle to work with you. Your current boss will notice that and is looking for team players that can motivate and lead a team too. It’s good to be liked by all for your professionalism and the way you treat everyone with respect, even if they don’t treat you that way. When it comes to looking at who is going to be promoted your manager is unlikely to be the only person who makes that decision. You want your colleagues and the higher management team to like you and recognise you as a team player. Whatever you do, never make enemies in the workplace. This is the best way to kill promotion chances. Always be professional.  

It’s always good to have a wider understanding of the company you are working in and its culture. This includes understanding not only your role in the department you are in, but the bigger picture of how that department fits into the company and the vision and goals of the company. This wider understanding will help you think strategically and see how you can add value to your current role. It helps you make strategic suggestions to your manager on how improvements could be made. A word of warning before you do this. It’s very important not just to present a problem. You need to have a great suggestions on how to solve it. You don’t want to be seen as someone who is picking holes in the organisation. You want to be known as a thinker and solution provider. Someone with leadership potential who can take the initiative to make things more efficient or the business more profitable. 

So, we covered being good at your current job, saying yes to more responsibilities, being liked and seeing the bigger picture. The next thing is to communicate well.

The people who dominate conversations in meeting are often not on the right track. They’ll be noticed, but not always for the right reasons. If you watch carefully the people’s whose contributions are most valued are the ones that listen most and speak decisively and succinctly. Active listening is a skill and it helps you to be more strategic. It’s a good skill and you should aim to make it a strength. When it comes to speaking, the active listening will have given you the facts and allowed you time for some strategic thinking. When you make a contribution, chose your words carefully and think about what you say before saying it. Be succinct and purposeful, that what strategists do and you’ll be recognised for it. 

Now we’ve established the qualities that your manager is looking for in the person they are going to promote (that’s you by the way) there’s a critical thing you have to do…

You need to let your manager know that you are career minded and that you are looking for promotion. This is a one to one conversation and does not necessarily need to happen at an annual performance review.  It’s good to ask what other things you may need to demonstrate to get a promotion. Whatever you do don’t demand one. Remember this may not be a decision that can be made only by your manager. In fact it’s highly unlikely that will be the case. So while you are building a good business case to get your promotion, they will need to sell this to other people in the organisation. However if you have taken on board all the suggestion in this article, you’ll have made that very easy for your manager.