How to Get a Promotion

Managing your career in this economy can be a difficult thing. With companies going out of business and people being laid off left and right (or so it seems), thinking about advancing within your organization may seem like a stretch. I know what you’re thinking: It’s one thing to keep your job and quite another to get a promotion.

Even though this poor economy in the past few years has affected our outlook on employment opportunities, it isn’t as grim as people would like to make it sound. Companies are still hiring and even opening up new positions – you just have to know where to look and how to perform. After you have a job, the best thing you can do for your career is look to get a promotion. It not only looks good for your resume (which will help your next interview go well), but it keeps you performing at a high level. It keeps you from getting bored as you are motivated to take the next step. Here are several things you can do to improve your chances of moving up the corporate ladder and get a promotion.

How to get a promotion

Be Willing to Try New Things – One of the best indicators that an employee should be considered for an open position is a work history that shows ambition and the ability to adapt. If you were the hiring manager, would you rather hire someone that has done the same thing over and over or would you look for someone who has proven that they would be able to take on a new challenge. Taking on new responsibilities is a great way to demonstrate your skills and abilities to people higher on the “food chain.” Trying new things also applies to transitioning to a new department. Sometimes if your focus is too narrow, it can be decades before a higher position opens up. If you are willing to transition to a different apartment, you can move sooner rather than later.

Excel at What You Currently Do – Taking on new responsibilities won’t help you if you can’t perform your current responsibilities well. Even though I think our work force is a little backward in promoting people who are really good at their jobs (who said that if a person can do X really well, they can also be a manager – these are two different things), this is how it works. Achieving success in your current position is an essential part of moving up in your company. This also includes being punctual and taking as few sick days as possible. If you are out of the office or coming in late, people will notice and that reputation will stick with you forever.

Connect with Your Supervisor – Even though it is cliche, It’s not what you know, but who you know. The importance of connecting with your supervisor can not be emphasized enough. If you are looking to move up, you will undoubtedly need a great reference from your immediate supervisor. While this alone will not be enough to earn a promotion, it will go a long ways to increase your chances. The more people rooting for you to get the job the better.

While it may seem daunting, getting a promotion is easier than it sounds. I have followed these basic steps at both employers since college and have been promoted to better positions. Employers prefer to hire internal candidates and if you put in the hard work from day one, you will move up in no time.

What have you done to improve your chances of getting a promotion?

9 Responses to How to Get a Promotion

  1. I was actually asked to apply for my current position at my company by the head of the department because I had been working with him on a project in my old position. He noticed me and my work and when the employee was leaving that held my current job, he asked me to apply. At the time I was on a busines trip with him so it was a rushed application-but worth it in the end. I did many of the above tips though and am still doing them. You never know when some other head of department is watching as I found out!

  2. Connecting with your superviser is a great tip Corey. The larger the organization, the more worthwhile it can be. With the job market the way it is right now, more people are competing for the same jobs and promotions.

  3. Great Article! Just to add to the “try new things” section, working at a start up is a great way to learn new skills. There is a lot of responsibility and hands on training. And, it will help you in whatever career you go into.

  4. If you start lobbying for your promotion, you need to build your case and have details to support your cause. Don’t be afraid to compare yourself to your peers, of both your current level and the level that you want to be at. Explain how you are just as (or more) valuable than they are, and how you will continue to grow and contribute at the higher level.

  5. Who you know is how I’ve gotten all of my promotions (except 1). The one exception was where I excelled at my current job and my manager took notice, and assigned me to take on a new part of the business, which happened to be a promotion.

    My current job was attained by doing well, but also interfacing with another team on my company and learning more technical skills. I was basically a shoe-in for the job, as the hiring manager told me it was created specifically for me. Networking and working well with others is a great way to keep yourself top–f-mind to those managers who are looking to fill a new role.

  6. Being on a good term with your manager is essential. They will be advocating for you so if they don’t like you, they won’t work very hard for you. It’s important to find a good manager that you like when you change job.

  7. Hey Corey! It’s my first time to your blog, and it’s such a great post for me to read first. I actually just wrote a similar post on how to ask for a raise which I’ll have to send to you when it publishes! It was more about tips for knowing when the right time to ask for a raise is – but it has a similar message to yours. I feel like many people are stuck in a rut of just being grateful for their jobs because it’s a bad economy, but I totally agree with you that if you work your arse off and make good connections, it can happen at any time!

    Cat Alford
    Budget Blonde