1. Work hard and smart
It may sound obvious, but the best way to show you’re ready for promotion is to work hard.
‘This doesn’t mean you have to stay in the office at all hours and sleep at your desk, but it does mean working smart and showing that you can effectively handle your workload with relative ease. No firm is going to promote an employee who struggles with their own time management,’ warns Paul Myers of Internal Recruitment Manager at NonStop Recruitment.
John Lees, author of The Interview Expert adds: ‘Work hard, but work hardest on the things that matter to your organisation and your boss. How can you spot “quick wins” that help you and your employer?’
2. Make your boss’s life easy
There will be some aspects of the job that your boss doesn’t enjoy – tasks which are stopping him/her from focusing on other important areas of the business. Volunteer to take them on and prove that you’re trustworthy by doing a good job. Your boss looks good with senior management, and you get to show you’re ready for more responsibility.
3. Show you can delegate
If you’re working with someone with less experience, demonstrate that you can delegate to get work completed more effectively. ‘After all, when you’re promoted you’ll have to hand over some of the workload to your colleagues – so why not start now?’ asks Paul.
4. Make sure you deliver
Organisations value employees with great ideas who can deliver on them. Look for opportunities to work on a project from start to finish. Showing you’re a good all-rounder who can manage others and liaise with other departments will make you indispensable.
5. Meet and exceed targets
Show you’re ready to step up by meeting and exceeding your targets and objectives.
‘Managers will want to see that you can perform above and beyond expectations, as this is what will be expected of you as you rise through the ranks,’ says Paul. ‘If you don’t have a set of deliverable targets, speak to your boss to develop some that allow you to measure your progress.’
6. Project the right image
It’s not enough just to get your boss on side. Having a good reputation within the company, especially with senior management, is vital to success. If no one knows about the great work you’re doing, you need to raise your profile.
‘Find an authentic way of describing what you’re good at and what you add to the organisation. Start by listing what you have learned and what you have achieved at work in the last 12 months,’ suggests John.
‘Slow down when it comes to making impulsive decisions and verbalising how you feel about work if you want to come across as a safe pair of hands.’
7. Get a mentor
Managing the perception of others is vital to getting promoted. An experienced mentor can help you to understand how you appear to others.
‘Make the most of opportunities when you are in the public eye (team meetings, presentations) to perform at your best. Ask for honest feedback from a trusted advisor to ensure you’re coming across in the best way,’ advises John.
8. Broaden your horizon
You might be brilliant at doing your job but as you move up the career ladder, you will be expected to have a wider understanding of the business, the challenges it faces, and how to contribute to its success. Spotted a way around a tricky issue but worried it’s not in your remit? Speak up anyway.
‘Make it clear that you’re the person who can help to make a difference and that you’re looking for a promotion,’ advises Paul. ‘You can even build a development plan with your current boss. This gives you a strategy to follow and also shows that you’re serious about your career development.’
9. Act up without making a big thing about it
Accept any opportunities that come along to stand in for more senior staff – whether that’s covering for your boss at a management meeting or leading a client pitch in someone’s absence.
‘Keep cool under pressure and see each chance as an audition, but don’t expect that promotion will automatically follow just because you covered someone’s holiday,’ warns John.
10. Avoid career traps
Finally, one of the best pieces of advice for promotion is to keep a positive outlook and have a winning can-do approach.
‘This doesn’t mean saying “yes” to everything but you need to sound like you’re fully committed. Decision makers look for attitude as much as competence. Speak and act with confidence,’ adds John.
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