Every diligent employee hopes for a promotion at the end of a given review period. Not only does the promotion denote a job well done, it also ushers one into a new level of responsibility to the employer.
With the uncertain economic times promotion opportunities can be hard to come by, as companies generally aren’t growing, and layers of management are being eliminated not mentioning lay-offs and voluntary retirement programs that have been activated in certain organizations.
Being strategic and visionary could be the secret of landing a promotion at such a time. As such, it’s good to start working for a job promotion long before a position opens up.
To keep your promotion hopes alive and real, here are some tangible things you can do:
1. Understand the Job
Understand that a promotion is more than just a pay increase and a new grade. Any serious organization will only reward you when you demonstrate that you are doing more and adding value to the business.
The secret here then is to understand what value really means in your current role (and to your employer) beside being ready to do something over and above the expected
2. Learn the New Skills
If that job will require skills you haven’t exercised, then you have to learn and practice them.
If you are eyeing a new manager role, then better know that you will soon be managing individuals and teams thus the need to up your skills in that area.
Always include continuing education as part of your career plan.
3. Demonstrate the New Skills
The most persuasive evidence for a decision-maker is to see someone who is currently demonstrating that they know how to apply the skills for the next level.
Some aspect of your current job may offer that rare opportunity for demonstrating the next-level needed skills. If not then be proactive enough and seek high-up opportunities to showcase yourself.
To secure a promotion, you must make it happen, do not expect anything on a silver spoon.
4. Volunteer for Tasks That Will Demonstrate Your Skills
If you’ll need to manage people in the new job, then look for areas where you can be leading or managing peoples’ work, even if it’s just for a task force or cross-team coordination project.
5. Leverage Your Skills From Outside Work
Grow your soft skills through other opportunities outside of your work environment. The soft skills will be valid in any set-up.
Skills on influence, leadership, organization, etc are the same when you apply them to non-work activities.
Volunteer to help out with a group at your child’s school or at a church. Assemble a community group that’s working on something that you’re passionate about, like recycling, biking or planting trees.
6. Get Mentored by People Doing the Job
Being guided on a role by someone who has the first hand experience on the same, is a powerful way of learning the inner details that will help you determine whether you still want it.
Being mentored by a guru also give you a sense of mental stability as far as the eyed role is concerned. This will lead you to settle in it much faster in case you get promoted.
7. Hang Out With the Decision Makers
Doing a good job is not good enough, you must make the good job and it’s doer be known by the decision makers in the organization.
This goes beyond the hiring manager. You also want to have solid relationships with those who will influence your direct bosses.
Make deliberate effort to hang out with the big boys/girls in the organization and use the opportunity to let them know of your contribution to the business.
It is a big plus if the senior bosses can attach a face to the value they see and feel in the business.
8. Nurture the Support of Your Boss
Your direct boss will either be the greatest supporter or obstacle of your promotion ambitions.
The kind of relationship you have with him/her will determine which of the two he/she will be.
Start developing that positive and authentic relationship early enough, including being open about your motivation and goals.
Learn to trust and support your bosses so that they can also trust and support you.
9. Look at Other Departments
It’s not uncommon for a promotion to be attached with a lateral move, and in fact this can sometimes make your transition easier as well – you can start with a bit more of a clean slate relative to your co-workers and employees.
It’s also especially useful if your own department isn’t growing, or if your boss feels threatened by your desire to advance.
If that other department interacts with people where you’re working now, then your placement there might help to improve cross-department interactions.
Learn to be open to varying opportunities and spread your tentacles of relationships.
10. Never, Ever, Burn Bridges
It’s amazing how many times in my career I’ve had to work with the same people in different contexts. Severally I even ended up working for people that I myself had recruited some years back.
So it’s important to build healthy, respectful relationships with all and sundry, because even if you switch companies you well might need to work with them again.
In addition, a key test of being an effective leader and manager is whether relationships can be built despite disagreements and differing points of view. Learn how to do this, and you’ll advance.
In the current economy, promotions can be hard to come by, even harder than getting hired in the first place. So get clear on your career plan and target some key jobs you want to go for.
Then get to work while remaining patient and keeping your focus on the prize.