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How to Get Promoted in 5 Easy Steps

Do you feel your ready for a promotion, but unsure of the steps you need to take to make it happen?

No matter where you are now or where you're headed in your career, these five steps apply across roles and industries and will help you achieve your career goals. Earn the trust of your colleagues, expand your knowledge, exceed expectations and keep closely aligned with organizational priorities to prepare for your promotion and your new position!

1. Speak with your manager about the promotion

Getting a promotion without involving your direct manager in 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 ambitions 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 you achieve your promotion goals. This conversation will be pivotal in crafting a road-map to getting you into your new role.

Hone your soft skills for a promotion

2. Hone Your Soft Skills

Although your manager will likely lay out some quantitative goals that will help you earn your promotion, surpassing those goals will rely on good teamwork and help from your colleagues within your team and from other departments. 94 percent of recruiters feel that an employee with stronger soft skills have a better chance of receiving a promotion. Soft skills will feature heavily not only in getting your promotion, 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. Or, take to LinkedIn to connect with other people in your company, and showcase your professional development on a wider scale. This will make it easier for your manager or the hiring committee to justify promoting you from your current 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 signing up for emotional intelligence training, leadership courses, and communication skills training - and then demonstrating these soft skills in the workplace. you'll show that you are more than being a cog in the machine  - you have the ability to help your company to outperform its initial expectations.

Continue Your Professional Education

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 surpass expectations and learn new knowledge that will enhance you and your organization. 

Depending on the time and investment you're willing to put in, you can spend time reading books or industry publications, attending seminars or classroom 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 on-site training for your colleagues that will help the whole team reach their goals. Showing upper management that you're willing to take the initiative to develop your own skills, as well as those of your colleagues, is an efficient way to illustrate your dedication to your organization. 

Exceed Expectations for a promotion

4. Go above and beyond your duties

In addition to meeting your manager's expectations, leave no doubt that you are the most qualified candidate inside and outside of your company.

Surpass the targets set for you by aligning your priorities with your organizations' highest 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.

Quantify your results for a promotion

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 in your current role helped your colleagues complete their tasks for efficiently and productively? Have you helped your department to scale their outputs to take on more new business without losing quality? Speak with your colleagues and mine the data to put an approximate dollar sign on how your work has benefited your team, and your organization overall. 

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 helped exceeded targets.

Search for the tangible data that will empower your manager with the information they need to promote you. Be well-versed in that data, so when it comes time to explaining to your manager or hiring committee why you deserve a promotion, the proof is in the pudding.

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Last updated: 29 Oct 2020

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