Are you ready for a promotion but unsure of the steps you need to take?
No matter where you are now or where you're headed in your career, these five steps apply across roles and industry and will help you get where you're going. Earn the trust of your colleagues, expand your knowledge, exceed expectations and keep closely aligned with organizational priorities to prepare for your new position.
1. Speak with your manager about the promotion
Getting a promotion without your direct manager in favor of the decision is nearly impossible. Assuming you've already put in the time and effort to build your manager's trust, you should feel comfortable being open about your ambition to move forward in the organization.
After you've shared your hopes for promotion with your manager, ask for guidance on what specific behaviors and outcomes will help move your career in the direction you want. This conversation will be pivotal in crafting a road-map to your new role.
2. Hone Your Soft Skills
Although your manager will likely lay out some quantitative goals that will help you earn your promotion, many of those successes will rely on good teamwork and help from your teammates and colleagues from other departments. Soft skills will feature heavily not only in your ascent but in your ability to perform once you've received your promotion.
Amp up your networking efforts by volunteering for committees and cross-departmental projects to establish a positive reputation in your company. This will make it easier for your manager or the hiring committee to justify your elevated position.
You'll also want to act as a good team-player in your department, taking the time to listen, make suggestions, and help your teammates reach their own goals.
By demonstrating emotional intelligence, leadership, and communication skills, you'll show that more than being a cog in the machine you have the ability to help your company to outperform its initial expectations.
3. Continue your professional education
By continuing your professional education, you'll show your organization that you're not expecting to earn a promotion purely because you're excelling in your current role. You are willing to go beyond expectations to learn new knowledge that will enhance you and your organization.
Depending on the time and monetary investment you would like to put in, you can spend time reading books or industry publications, attending face-to-face courses, listening to podcasts from experts in your field, or enrolling in online courses. By taking your professional education into your own hands you'll become more confident, have a stronger understanding of new developments in your industry, and develop critical soft-skills that will move your career forward.
Another way to add value to your team is to speak with your manager or L&D department about arranging a company-specific training for your colleagues that will help the whole team reach their goals.
4. Go above and beyond your duties
In addition to meeting your manager's expectations, on the road to your promotion, leave no doubt that you are the most qualified candidate inside and outside of your company.
Surpass the targets set for you with priority given to the highest company priorities. Whenever possible don't be shy about talking up your success when it helps your team and company succeed - just make sure to give your colleagues credit wherever credit is due.
5. Quantify your results and present them to your manager
In many roles, crucial tasks are often qualitative and it can be difficult to show how your innovation and hard-work have had an impact on the bottom-line of the company. However, this doesn't absolve you of the burden-of-proof needed to move your career forward.
Have your efforts to stream-line your role made it possible for your colleagues to complete their tasks in a more timely manner or gave your department the ability to work with scale in a way that allows you to take on more clients with no loss in quality? Speak with your colleagues and mine the data to put an approximate dollar sign on how your work has benefited the company.
Have the employees you've mentored gone on to shine in their roles and become long-term highly valued employees? Ask them for testimonials and use their appreciation to show how your leadership capabilities have indirectly led to transformative projects and exceeded targets.
Search for the tangible results that will help you empower your manager with the information she needs to promote you, or testify to your abilities to the manager or committee overseeing the hiring process.