“People don’t get promoted for doing their jobs really well. They get promoted by demonstrating their potential to do more.” - Tara Jaye Frank, author of Saying Yes: A Woman’s Guide to Advancing Her Professional Purpose
Career promotion doesn’t happen instantly, nor do we have much control over it when we decide it’s the right time for one. But there are things we can do to prepare and actions we can take in order to get promoted faster.
Consider these 4 vital tips well before you start planning any discussions around promotions.
1) Suss out the promotion path
From the first time you engage with a potential employer or recruiter for a new role, it’s important to ask about progression and scope for promotion within that role and company.
- Is the role quite limited in terms of career path?
- How did the previous person in the role progress in the company?
- What does the business need to see in order to warrant consideration for a promotion?
- What sort of promotion can be expected?
- What is the timing for a promotion and how often do they happen?
These are all valid and expected questions to ask when you first enquire about a new job. It will give you a clear idea of whether a promotion is possible, and if so, what the process is like.
2) Speak up
Author and former first lady of California Maria Shriver said it best: “Whether that’s speaking up in your job or asking for a promoting or saying, ‘I think I can do that’. Using your voice in ways that might initially scare you. That can be an architect of change.”
No matter your position, you can’t sit back and wait for promotions to happen. Particularly as the workplace gets more competitive and employers want to get ahead in the race for talent, assuming you’ll be promoted automatically is still a huge issue many employees experience today.
If you’re next in line for a promotion, have been with the company the longest, are executing multiple people’s roles, or did the business a huge favour during a difficult period, these still don’t always result in a promotion.
So what should you do?
You need to make it known – at the first opportunity, regularly as reminders when you go through your KPIs and then formally during review times.
Your manager needs to be on the same page as you and understand exactly what you want, in terms of working towards a promotion. Having a transparent relationship with your manager also helps, particularly as it’s a business decision, which your manager can’t always control. That way, you’ll know whether the “no/not yet” was due to your own progress and achievements, or if the economical climate is impacting promotions, for example.
3) Utilise your network
Seeking advice from a business mentor is a seriously underrated and underused resource when it comes to promotions. Afterall, mentors are usually more experienced than their mentees so they’d have plenty to share about how they managed the promotion discussion – whether they were successful or not, there’s a lesson for you.
If they work within your own company or in a similar field at a different company, like-minded individuals who have been promoted themselves can provide essential insights into your career path. Regular conversations with an individual who can give you valuable advice will put you a step ahead of colleagues who may be vying for the same role.
4) Stay positive
Maintaining a positive attitude and continuing to execute your duties may get difficult if you’ve been passed over for a promotion. But don’t let that get you down. Being a great team player and an asset to the business are pivotal in getting the promotion you want. And most businesses will recognise your consistent hard work.
At the same time, if you’ve openly spoken to your manager and are aware of the company’s position, it may be time to move on if a promotion is completely out of the question.