Want a Promotion? You Should Already Be Doing These 6 Things

There’s an opening for a position that offers more clout (not to mention more money). It would be a promotion for you, and you’ve been eyeing a higher position for a while.

You’re giving serious thought about making a move on it. But you’re not sure if you’re qualified. You don’t want to anger your current boss. And is HR even considering hiring in-house?

While you were thinking about it, someone else in your department applied—and got the job!

You Make It Happen

PromotionThis ever happen to you? (Unfortunately, I speak from experience on this one!)

If it hasn’t, don’t let it.

Some promotions result from a great performance review or a certain amount of tenure. But it doesn’t pay to wait for one to bang on your Door of Opportunity. So be sure you’re taking these 6 steps to make it happen.

Build Your Own Ladder

  1. Keep track of company moves. Who’s leading that department you might be interested in? Did they recently just hire, or do they have openings—and if so what are they? Knowing the changes your company is making can make you privy to newly created positions or ones that have been vacated. You might be just the right person for that new position!
  1. Write your own promotion plan. Formulate a career playbook of sorts—mainly for your own benefit, but also to chart your course should the opportunity arise. Note ideas you have for furthering your own career goals, and for how you’d lead your department if given the chance. Create a list of possible new projects you’d like to have a hand in, or ideas for changes that could save time and money.
  1. Talk “promotion” in your performance reviews. Reviews done either formally (once a year on your anniversary) or even at monthly intervals present openings for you to discuss your goals within the company. Say you’d be open to taking on more responsibility. Or mention that you’d like to be considered once a higher position opens up. Your boss will get that while you’re not content to do the same job for 10 years, you’re still invested in the company long-term.
  1. Network with people you already work with. Take the opportunity to get to know co-workers who could affect your promotion. Socialize with them if possible—take time to chat in the breakroom, or ask them to join you for lunch if it’s appropriate.
  1. Cultivate your image as a problem-solver. According to Wharton professor Adam Grant, author of Originals, people who are known for their creative ideas and solutions are the ones who get promoted. Employees who take initiative give the impression that they’re focused on the company’s success and not just their own. Grant calls this “strategic non-conformity.” Instead of keeping your head down, look around and say, “What problems can I solve that will make a measurable difference for this company?”
  1. Mingle with people outside your comfort zone. Learn about what they do and how they do it. If you’re toiling in Sales but would love to break into Marketing, getting to know the marketers and how they get their job done could give you an idea of how to break in. 

The top tip for snagging a promotion? Don’t be afraid to ask.