So you want to get promoted? I’m here to help! Having been promoted twice in two years and as the leader of four direct reports, I know what it takes to land a promotion. Now, I want to share with you my five tips for making it happen so you too can grow in a career that fulfills you.
1. Understand Your Roles Requirement and Ask Yourself, Am I Doing This?: Before you can advance, you need to understand if you’re doing the work that’s expected from your current role. Many companies have job descriptions that exist for each role. Ask your manager for a copy to understand how you’re performing against the job requirements outlined for your role.
If your company doesn’t have a job description available, do some research. Find the job description for your title on other companies career pages or simply Google, “job title responsibilities.” Then ask yourself, “Am I doing this work?” You should be excelling in your roles basic requirements before considering a promotion.
2. Understand the Companies Advancement Process: Does your office have a formal process for advancing employees? We do bi-annual reviews and every spring, potential promotions occur. This process sets clear expectations for when someone can expect to be advanced within my office. If you don’t work for a company with such transparency, don’t be afraid to ask. This is your career! You have a right to know how to advance in it.
Start the conversation with your manager or the head of People Operations: “I’m really excited about my career potential here. What is the companies process for advancing staff members?”
You may be told that the company doesn’t have one. Here’s a professional way to push back and receive more context: “Since there isn’t a current formal process for advancement, can you help me better understand how I could advance my career here?”
3. Ask for Feedback: Feedback from your manager is a large factor in preparing you for that promotion. Without their feedback, how do you know how you’re performing in their mind? Are you amazing at presentations? Is your tardiness to meetings really irritating them? What do they feel you are a rockstar at and what areas do they feel you could improve?
Obtain feedback from your manager by asking for it: “Did you have a chance to review the project I turned in last week? I’d love to hear your feedback on it.”
You are following up on your work to proactively receive feedback. If your manager provides you with a blanket statement, (It was great, thanks! Or, not yet but I’ll let you know if there’s anything missing.) take a different approach to receive constructive feedback.
Try asking your manager for feedback before you take action. For example: “I’m trying to improve my presentation skills. After I present to the team on Friday, could you follow up with your feedback on three areas I could have improved?”
This is very specific. It provides your manager with direction and clear action they need to take. Plus, it shows you are interested in professional development.
3b. Welcome the Feedback: It can often be easier to ask for feedback than to receive it. Hearing your weaknesses isn’t always fun but it’s helpful. First, think of feedback as a gift. Whether it’s that necklace you’ve been drooling over or a puke green colored sweater that sends chills down your spine, simply say thank you and accept the gift. Then, really consider the feedback. Is this an area I can improve upon? What would happen if I tried what my manager is suggesting? What may happen if I don’t try the feedback?
4. Do the Work of the Promoted Role: Someone ready for a promotion is already doing the work of that advanced role. For example, my direct report was tasked with new quarterly revenue goals. To ensure she’d hit her numbers, she created an excel table with detailed formulas. It displayed her accounts 2017 monthly revenue projections and the delta verse 2016. This method went beyond my expectations and was a project I’d expect in a more senior role. What are you doing beyond what’s expected of you? What responsibilities do you see in a more senior role? How can you start performing those duties now?
5. Consider if This Promotion is What You Really Want: Are you looking for advancement in your specific field because you enjoy that line of work? Do you want more money? Are you bored in your current role? Do you feel like you deserve a promotion because you’ve been with the company for years? Know your reasons for wanting the promotion. Your motives will reveal if this promotion is what you really want and if it’s what you’ve earned.
Good luck, darling. That corner office is waiting for you.