Stuck in your current role and want to get on? You need to get promoted, but it’s not that simple. You need to mark yourself out not just as someone who management think they should promote, but you should make yourself the person that they HAVE to promote. Follow our 12 pieces of advice below and you’ll soon be enjoying your new role with all its fabulous new responsibilities and salary.
Be good at your job, but not too good
Sounds crazy? It isn’t. In almost every company in the UK, there will be someone who has been passed over for promotion even though they are by far the best person for the job. Even if they tick every box and more on the job description, have fabulous qualifications and have brilliant personal qualities, they will never get an internal promotion. Why? Because they are too good at their current job, and replacing them will be an almost impossible task, so instead of promoting them, they are overlooked time and time again. Yes, it’s a very negative way to run a company, but it happens, so be aware of it and be good at your job, but not completely irreplaceable.
Being organised underpins all great careers. Whether you are a naturally organised person or not, having some sense of organisation underpinning your work (and the rest of your life too) is essential. Not only is it a much less stressful way of working, it makes you more efficient too. Not scratching around for important documents and tasks will save you a large amount of time that you can spend much better by being productive
Play the long game
They say that good things come to those who wait and this is very true. But just as you shouldn’t wait too long, it’s true that you shouldn’t be too eager to climb the ladder. Careers that burn bright too early can often fizzle out later on, due to the fact that they haven’t spent long enough learning the foundations of their particular industry. Play the long game and, ultimately, you’ll get where you want to faster and more efficiently.
Take charge of your own development
Do you expect your company to fund all of your training and development? Not done a particular course this year because your department didn’t have the funding for it? It may have been the case in years past that companies paid or all their staff’s development, but with the economy like it is, you have to be realistic. If you want to do a course or a particular piece of training, then if your company isn’t willing to pay for it, then pay for it yourself! You could be waiting a long time if you don’t, so get your wallet out and pay for it. Not only will you get the training and development you want, you’ll also mark yourself out as someone who actively wants to get on and is willing invest in themselves, which is a very positive quality.
Visibility is key when looking to get promoted. Have you ever been aggrieved that someone has been promoted even though they are awful at their job? They may be a catastrophe in their role, but they’re probably good at being visible and looking like they are good at their job. It’s a subtle difference but an important one. Becoming more visible may take a little time and effort, but it’s not really that difficult.
Volunteer for anything and everything. Yes, it may take you away from your desk and away from some important tasks but it will you raise your profile with management and that is crucial to putting yourself on the track to promotion. Also, if you’ve done something well, shout about it! It may not be your style to be an attention grabber but you’ll get credit where credit is due and it will mark you out as ‘one to watch’ by management.
Because you are looking at getting promoted, it’s crucial that you act and look professionally at all times. That means you need to:
- Dress professionally at all times – Suited, booted and looking good. Don’t skimp on your clothes and buy good quality, as they’ll last much longer, fit you better and make the most of your body type.
- Don’t smoke – There’s not many things more unprofessional looking than standing outside in the pouring rain smoking a cigarette. It marks you out as weak and as someone who doesn’t have the strength of character to break the habit. And it smells bad too!
- Don’t clock watch – If you’re leaving at 5pm every day and never putting an extra bit of work in, this doesn’t give the greatest impression of you.
- Involve yourself in industry events – As well as raising your own profile, it will also raise the profile of your company which management will look kindly on.
Getting a promotion isn’t all about brown-nosing management. It’s a fact of life that people warm to people they like, so if you’re likeable and popular, then it will aid you in your quest on getting ahead in your company. There’s another aspect to it too. More savvy senior management will want people who are popular to be managers in their business. Popular managers can aid staff morale and increase employee retention, as well as increasing productivity. Make more effort to talk to both management and your colleagues will aid your promotion prospects a great deal.
Take on extra work
Taking on extra work and temporary projects is a fantastic way of broadening your skills, your network and your visibility with management. You’ll find that not many people apply for these types of projects because they can be time-consuming, challenging and they can really take you out of your comfort zone. But that’s the whole point. No one ever achieved anything of note by staying in his or her comfort zone. Apply for more projects, and it will really get you noticed and give you extra skills and experiences.
Get yourself a mentor
Where do you want to be in 10-20 years time? Why not speak to someone who is doing that role now and ask them how they got there. What skills did they have to develop? Any specific qualifications that they found useful? What advice would they give to someone wanting to be in their position? Don’t be scared to ask someone, you’ll find they’ll almost certainly flattered and the advice you receive will be invaluable and you’ll almost certainly vastly increase your chances of being promoted.
Get a successor
As we alluded to in a previous point, so many people’s careers stall because their company can’t promote them because there is no one to replace them. Ensure that you take action early and start training your successor. Don’t be afraid that they are going to take their job from you; that’s the plan! Having your successor trained and ready for action will mean that when that opportunity you’ve been waiting for comes along, you’re ready to jump straight into it and your current department will not be hampered by your leaving.
Be a team player
Getting a promotion is not just about your skills and experience. With more and more work now being done in teams, it’s vital that you are a team player. Don’t take all the credit for successes and don’t point the finger when things go wrong. By being a team player you are automatically making yourself more valuable to your organisation, which is vital to getting you that promotion.
Invent your own job
Tired that there’s never any opportunity for advancement? Are you brimming full of new ideas as to how you can change and improve things? Take the opportunity to talk to management about your ideas, and you never know, it might result in a new position being created to looking at these new changes or ideas. Since you are the one who came up with these ideas and policies, you’re bound to be the best person for the job. It may not always come with a big pay rise, but it gets your career moving in the right direction.
Be the solution
Problems occur at every company. Don’t be one of those negative people who always see the faults in plans and strategies. Mark yourself out as the person who always sees the solution, the person who doesn’t wallow in the negatives but just gets on with it and sorts it out. Problem-solvers get promoted. Complainers who expect the boss to solve all their problems don’t. Fact.
And if you’ve still not been promoted after doing all those things….
Get a new job
It might be that there is a very low staff turnover at your company or maybe your face doesn’t fit. If this is the case, don’t get down and dwell on it, be proactive and move companies. You could end up with a much better job, better working conditions, a better salary and much better promotion prospects.