Feeling stuck in your current role? Perhaps it’s time to think about moving up that corporate ladder.
Whether you’re itching for a new challenge, feel like your career has plateaued or are just in need of a pay raise, a promotion is something many of us dream of.
But where do you start? Well, one thing is certain: you can’t just sit back and wait for things to happen.
“Expecting that the system will take care of you is one of the [most] common mistakes employees [make],” notes Deena Al Mansoori, life and career coach and founder of Fortitudo Consultancy. “You need a plan and action – no one will just decide to give you a promotion.”
Being promoted will depend largely on your performance in your current role.
According to Deena, qualities that employers look for when gauging an employee’s value include willingness to take on responsibilities, leadership and communication skills, capacity to work independently and with a team, and commitment to learn new skills.
“Some people only do their job and don’t add extra effort in developing themselves or adding value to the company in a different way,” she says. “That’s totally fine, but if you expect to be promoted, you need to show initiative and be ready for it.”
Start by volunteering for projects as this indicates a willingness to go the extra mile to help the company succeed.
Another way to increase your value is to study new skills that will expand your knowledge beyond your current scope of expertise. Industries are evolving quickly and one way to keep up is to learn new methods or skills applicable in today’s corporate landscape.
Being aware of industry trends can also help create opportunities. Is your company under-utilising the powers of social media to reach a wider audience? Then offer to run the show using your newly acquired knowledge of digital marketing.
Learn to promote your accomplishments like awards or your role in a recent project to gain management’s attention. To get ahead in the race, you must know how to sell yourself.
If you want a promotion, there’s no harm in making your intentions known.
“I find the best time usually is around a performance review, which usually happens twice a year. Don’t be afraid to ask your boss what’s needed for you to be considered for the promotion,” Deena advises.
“Have a dialogue about a career development plan with your direct manager. This will bring clarity on both ends – for the manager to know your interest and find the best way to use your talents, and for you to assess where you are skills-wise and what you need to develop to make it to the next level.”
Make sure to strike the right balance between being assertive without sounding desperate
“Not having the right approach in communicating your wishes to management will make them overlook you for the next one,” Deena says. “For example, if you don’t show interest and back it up, or if you keep demanding a promotion in an entitled way, management will look for someone who has better diplomacy.”
Even if you’ve been assertive and feel that you’ve gone beyond your role, try not to be disheartened if things don’t go your way.
“Don’t take it personally if another colleague gets the promotion,” Deena says. “Continue to work hard to show your worth and don’t lose your focus – you will get your chance.”
Earn that coveted position with these top tips…
- Own your career: It’s your responsibility so make sure you understand why you want that promotion. Is it money or job title? Is the promotion going to help or could taking a different role be a better plan?
- Have a career plan: Seek feedback about how to develop and find out where your strengths lie. If you are not ready for the promotion, managers will overlook you for someone who is.
- Be visible: Don’t shy away from your accomplishments. Keep a track record of all your achievements to highlight during performance reviews.
- Find the right circle: Avoid spending lots of time with people who gossip or complain a lot. Instead, find people who are ambitious, helpful and who also have ambitions to progress.
- Find a mentor: Your boss was in your position once and they know the company politics and culture, so try to make them your mentor; they can give you truly valuable advice.
WORDS Ferdinand Godinez