Is promotion part of your goals for 2017? Great! Ambition is absolutely needed to reach your potential. So what is your plan to get that recognition? Like me, you may mistakenly think all you have to do is do a great job and the powers that be will see how hard you are working right?
Sure, sometimes it works out that way but the truth is if you want to get promoted this year you need to actively pursue it.
Let me take you back to 2011. I was in the lowest title on my team because I was hired in at the entry level. I had been on my team for about a year and took on a ton of new responsibilities. So many, that I went from doing only admin functions to doing that plus the job of a recruiter.
The issue? Recruiters made about $15-20K more than me and I was doing more work! Ignorantly I thought my manager with her high praise was going to put me up for promotion. She moved onto a new role and I talked to my Director about my promotion chances. He had absolutely no idea she talked to me about it or that I was doing more than I was hired for. Eventually I got promoted about a year and a half later! Don’t be like I was with that first promotion. To get what you deserve, don’t rely on others to have your best interests at heart.
Evaluate Your Performance
Honestly look at what you do versus your peers. Are you doing the same level of work as someone on your team at the next level? If not, what can you do to get there? Identify a few things that you can do to show that you are equal to those at the next stage. If everyone is on the same level, what can you do to be more valuable? Perhaps you can sign up for a departmental project? Maybe you can identify a process improvement? The key is to identify value that shows why you need to be promoted so that your manager can’t afford to lose you.
Spell it Out
Managers are oblivious. If you don’t tell them you are expecting a promotion, they likely won’t even think about it. They have their own problems to deal with, so you need to be the one to make them focus on your ambitions. If you are doing a great job identified in the previous section, they won’t want to lose you because it will affect them.
If you don’t already have regular one on one meetings with your manager, set them up now. Start it off by telling them your goal for the year is to get to the next level and ask for their advice. As the year goes on and you are doing everything they are suggesting, ask them for updates on how likely it is for a promotion this year. Keep it on their radar so they know it’s on yours.
Don’t rely on just your direct manager. Like in my case, she didn’t share what I was doing with the Director that actually made the decisions. Find out who the players are and connect with them as well. Connect with your manager’s manager and any functional managers or senior team members that you can. In larger companies, there is usually some sort of panel discussion that occurs to decide on promotes. The more people you have positive relationships with, the more likely you will end up on the successful list. On the other hand, if no one knows who you are then they will probably pass for a known entity.
To connect with these people, sign up for events they are involved in. Go to happy hours where they will be present and connect when they are more at ease. You can also set one to one meetings with them but make it more infrequent or limit them to when there is something specific you need their guidance on.
You may need to change the way you work. When you go into work, make sure you focus on the most important projects and tasks first. Also make sure you give first priority to tasks from your manager or other high profile people in your department.
Your goals is to ensure the people with the biggest influence know you as someone who gets things done. Make sure you are quick with replies that are accurate so they have a positive view of you. Learn to make sure your most important tasks get accomplished and then work on lower priority items with the rest of your time.
Be Prepared To Walk
Even if you do all the above, there is a chance you still won’t get promoted. Make sure you are still looking at opportunities outside the company as well. This will keep your progress up so that if it doesn’t work out, you will have the opportunity to be promoted externally by going to another company for more money.
Looking outside the company may get back to your boss, but that should only help your internal promotion chances. They will know in order to keep you, they need to give you what you have asked for. One way or another you can get the promotion you deserve. Stay flexible and remain open to opportunities as they arise. If you need to redo your resume, check out my new product The Perfect Resume: Cornerstone For Your Job Search.