Chasing a promotion? Here’s how to get it

Are you ready for the next stage of your life?

There are few things that will inspire so much change as a promotion at work – it could be the key to unlocking more money, new locations, different social circles – and much more.

That said, it’s not just as easy as asking. So if you’re going to find your career situation changing, you need to go about making it happen in the right way. We’ve talked to 8 successful managers and directors to find out how they go to where they are today – and what they look for from someone chasing a promotion…

“Be my friend, not my foe”

If you’re going to be asking your manager for a promotion, you’re going to want to make sure you’re on their right side.

Talking to our panel of managers found that many people see their manager as a foe; the person who polices their role, rather than leads it. While this could be an indication of a managerial style, you’re not going to have much luck approaching someone you’ve held in contempt until you need something from them.

Start to consider the business from their point of view and ask yourself what you can do to make their life easier – winning someone’s favour, even if it’s just with some small gestures, is often enough to put you in the required ‘good books’ – even if they can’t remember exactly why it is you’re there!

“Make yourself known to the business”

It might not be your manager who’s going to put you forward for a promotion – in fact, it might be that your manager values your position in their team so greatly they’d keep a lid on your progression for their own benefit.

If you want to make a bid for a role that’s outside your managers remit, you’re going to need to make yourself known to the business more widely – so ask yourself how that can be done. Perhaps a secondment across departments could come up? Or maybe just ‘bumping into’ other department’s team members at lunch time could open the door to conversations.

There’s no need to manipulate – simply being known is a great foot in the door.

“Understand that you’re going to have to look for it”

Many people don’t realise that promotions rarely – if ever – happen in due course, and if they do, they’re probably long overdue.

If you want to be promoted, you’re going to first need to understand what kind of role you’re hoping to step into. When you understand that and how it fits into the bigger business picture, the best thing you can do is let people know you’d like occupy that position when the time is right.

Don’t wait to be asked, discuss promotion at reviews and even informally – and you’re likely to put yourself at the front of the queue.

“Keep me in the loop at all times”

When you’re looking for a promotion it can be easy to get carried away – and while some ideas above your station are obviously going to be required if you hope to fill the role successfully, acting on them prematurely could be a recipe for disaster.

As such, keeping your manager in the picture about additional responsibilities and roles you’re taking on is vital – they still have the ultimate say over your role for now – and your performance still reflects on them, so don’t get carried away.

“Manage your personal brand”

You can be the smartest, hardest working and brightest prospect for a business – but if you think for one second that your manager, HR department and colleagues don’t keep an eye on your social media and general online presence – then you’re heading for a shock.

In 2018 your probably more prominent online than you are in your daily life – so make sure that your online persona is completely in line with the expectations of someone who’s looking at you as a promotion prospect. It might not be the case, but why take the risk that one distasteful or highly opinionated ‘like’ or ‘share’ might clash with the views of the business or the person interviewing you…

“If you can anticipate what I’m going to need, you’ve got a great head start”

If the position that you’re looking at is going to require that you use your initiative a little more than your current role demands, then it’s time to start flexing that initiative now.

Remember, don’t get carried away, you don’t want to be making business decisions over the top of your manager, but rather than holding off to check if they want some work doing – do it, and be prepared to write off your own time if you’ve made the wrong decision.

As you become more and more comfortable with your managers expectations, you’ll get a better idea of what they expect – and if you’re the person who’s already doing it when they arrive in the office, you’re leaving a great impression.

“Realise that if you want it, you’re going to have to evidence why you deserve it”

The tough reality is that you’re probably not the only person who’s going to be looking for a promotion when the opportunity arises – so if you want it, you’re going to have to let the right people know why you deserve it.

That doesn’t just mean standing out at work – but developing yourself personally to fit the ideal candidate expectations that the role will demand. If there’s a trait, qualification or skill that’s needed for the role – start chasing it now, outside of work if you have to – and when the time comes, you can put yourself forward with no doubt in your mind that you’re the right person for the job.

“Take the extra steps your colleagues aren’t”

There are some good old fashioned tips that will always reflect well on you and your chance to bag that promotion – are you the person who gets into the office 10 minutes before everyone else? Always well presented? Got a tidy desk? Under promise – over deliver?

Think about what you do when it’s interview day – you polish your shoes, get an early night, get up a little earlier and hit the day running. Well, here’s the truth – you work with your interviewer every day, so when you’re the person who considers every day to be an interview for your next role – then your game is already higher than the next person in that pile of CVs on your managers desk…


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