A promotion at work can mean many things. It could lead to higher pay, which enables you to achieve your financial goals and support yourself and your family. It could result in more responsibility and the ability to better use your strengths, which can make you more engaged and productive at work. A promotion could bolster your career journey, which could eventually lead to your dream position at your ideal company.
When you know you want to advance your position at your current company, there are steps you can take to position yourself for an internal promotion. Set yourself up for success with these tips.
1. Create a Career Development Plan
Ideally, as early as when you’re hired, you can create a career development plan with your supervisor that includes more advanced roles you want to obtain at your company. A career development plan outlines:
- The roles and achievements you want to accomplish at your employer
- The steps you need to take to get there, including trainings, skills development and education
- How you’ll measure progress, so you and your supervisor can stay accountable
A career development plan is a clear roadmap for how you want to grow with your company. When you communicate to your manager what your goals are, that keeps you at top of mind when roles open up.
Working on the steps in your career development plan can also help you enhance your contributions at work as you develop your skills. When you produce better results, that helps you justify your ask for a promotion.
2. Take Initiative
If you want to get noticed and stay on leadership’s radar, adopt an entrepreneurial mindset and take initiative at work. What does this mean?
- Ask questions. Be eager to learn.
- Act on feedback.
- Look at failure as an opportunity to grow.
- Develop confidence in your abilities.
- Seek out learning opportunities to strengthen your skills.
- Contribute ideas. Anticipate problems and proactively provide solutions.
- Offer to work on extra tasks when you have the bandwidth.
- Assist teammates when your expertise can help.
Most promotions involve more leadership responsibilities, whether that’s through managing others or making more strategic decisions. Leadership requires a self-starter attitude.
If you’re lacking in confidence at work or you have weaknesses that could hinder your ability to advance, consider taking courses or working with a mentor to develop your skills. Which leads to…
3. Build Strong Relationships
The heart of a business is its workforce: its people. People will decide who gets promoted, so it’s important to create strong coworker relationships to stay at the forefront of promotion opportunities.
Network at work. Some ideas to consider include:
- Add coworkers you have a solid relationship with as contacts on LinkedIn. Share valuable updates on the network that help you build trust and authority in your industry.
- Go to coffee or lunch meetings with coworkers you want to get to know better. These can be people on your team, as well as employees outside your department.
- Seek out a mentor at work. This is someone in your field who has experience you want to learn from and advice to share. Sometimes, your mentor becomes the person who refers you for a promotion – or the person to promote you themselves.
Increase your visibility at work by participating in social activities, too. These could be during work, like lunch-and-learns, or outside of work, like volunteer and social outings. As you grow your network, you can demonstrate your commitment to the company and its people.
4. Do Outstanding Work
Finally, an internal promotion will likely ultimately depend on the quality of work you produce and the return on investment you can bring your company. If there’s a specific position you want to obtain, read or ask for the job description of the position. Look at the qualifications and start working on anything you need to develop.
In your current position, strive to produce excellent work with every task you do. Focus on:
- Avoiding errors
- Meeting requirements
- Being as efficient as possible
- Communicating clearly
Ask yourself how you can go above and beyond in your tasks. For example, if you’re preparing a marketing report, can you add recommendations in addition to results? If you want to be an HR manager but you lack leadership experience, is there someone in your department you can mentor?
Schedule regular check-ins with your manager and ask for feedback on your performance. Communicate that you’re eager to take on more responsibility – which shows you’re a self-starter and you’re focused on your career development.
Be Engaged to Boost Your Promotion Chances
Taking simple steps like those above can help you stand out among coworkers when a promotion is available, or when you’re ready to move up at your company. If you want an internal promotion:
- Create a career development plan with your manager.
- Take initiative. Be a self-starter.
- Be respectful of coworkers. Build strong relationships at work.
- Focus on producing exceptional work and results for your employer.
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