By: Mari-Kathryn Arnold, Ed.D.
There are many ways to be successful; however, many professionals view climbing the career ladder as the key to achieving success. Sure, you can do your job well, but moving up the ladder many times takes more than that. Proving your success and worth to your boss and his/her superior is a major part of achieving that promotion. Here are seven easy steps and changes to consider in your current job to help take the next step in your career and be promoted.
1. Establish Your Goals
Goals are what drive any successful professional. Regardless of whether every goal is achieved, without goals, a professional can become complacent. When striving for a promotion, it is important that you have spent time determining the goals that you would like to achieve in both your personal and professional life and have thought long and hard about how working towards these goals and achieving them may impact your success.
Although it is crucial that you have established goals for yourself, once you have established your goals, it is also important to share them with others in positions of authority and decision-making. Whether it is your boss, your boss’ boss, or another manager within your company, it is important to remain open and transparent about how you would like to grow within the company and where you see yourself in the immediate and far-off future. The question of where do you see yourself in 5 years is important to answer and share with your boss. When those in positions of authority know what you are seeking and are aware of your goals, they will be more observant of your performance and success.
2. Learn and Implement New Skills
Being great at your position and current role is important to maintaining success in your organization, but if you are trying to become promotable you need to also focus on expanding your skills. Take the initiative to continuously learn and improve yourself. Complacency leads to subpar performance. Try enrolling in external webinars, joining networking groups, attending conferences, or seeking out new initiatives and projects. When a supervisor or person of authority sees the initiative that you are taking to improve yourself, it will help to show him/her the value that you place on your career and the company’s success, therefore making you promotable.
Although a lot of what you can do to make yourself promotable revolves around your skills as an individual, do not forget that being a team player is also important. Sure, there are certain professions where one individual can make the difference and can drive a successful operational process; however, many require a strong team or group of individuals. By collaborating with others, it demonstrates your commitment to the greater good, which tends to be noticed by those decision makers during times of promotion.
4. Become Irreplaceable
In any work situation, you also want to be the only individual with specific skills or knowledge. By being the one person who houses knowledge, you become the “go-to” person for that information. Employees with this type of knowledge are recognized more frequently by leadership because they are sought out more regularly by co-workers who do not possess that knowledge.
5. Track Your Successes
When you are seeking a promotion, it is also important to speak about your successes clearly and effectively. Remember, you are the main advocator for yourself to be promoted. Even though you may have shared your desires for a promotion with your supervisor or with someone else of authority, that individual may be limited within the decision-making process. Documenting your success will allow you to build a working portfolio that demonstrates your key successes and achievements. Make sure that when you are documenting your success you are able to tie it directly to ways that you have enhanced the company’s success and bottom line. Remember, the decision of a promotion will go to the individual who can help the company be successful in a variety of ways, not simply who has completed his/her previous/current work successfully.
6. Demonstrate Leadership
Promotions tend to be secured by professionals who demonstrate leadership. This means that demonstrating your leadership ability and skills in your current role is essential. Try to avoid the drama that may occur in the office and stay focused on completing your job well while helping others to do the same. The key to demonstrating strong leadership skills is to help promote others and the work that they are completing without “bossing” them around or telling them how to complete a task. Be sure to keep in mind that a leader is different than a boss; a leader demonstrates by example.
Finally, make yourself promotable by connecting with the right individuals. Continue to interact with others within your organization, especially those who are in management and supervisory positions. Try to find mentorship from those who possess authority so that you can promote yourself and your skills to them. Also be sure to overperform so that you help to push the standards forward and your name becomes known by those in management and leadership positions. When you do things like become involved in the organization and work towards meeting expectations at the top of the hierarchy, you tend to build connections with individuals who will support and celebrate your successes.