Ask James: What can I do to stand out and get a promotion?

Looking to take the next step in your career?

In his monthly column, career coach and Chairman of, James Reed, shares his expert advice to help you tackle your biggest career concerns.

In this month’s column, James gives his top tips on how to get yourself promoted…


The question…

Hi James,

Just over a year ago I landed my first job after graduation, working in the Finance sector. I’m really passionate about the role and the company and feel like I’ve learned a lot in my first year.

I’ve noticed that a few of my colleagues who started around the same time as me have been promoted recently. I’m really keen to move up the ladder too, but now I’m starting to worry that all the spots will be taken and my professional development will be hampered.

I really like the company I work for and don’t want to change jobs in order to move up. What can I do to stand out and make sure I’m the next member of my team to get a promotion?

I look forward to hearing from you.





The answer…


Dear Regis,

Thanks for getting in contact with your query. I have listed what I feel are the most important considerations in the lead up to earning a promotion.

Firstly, think about the reasons that you want a promotion. Do you want to move into a management role? Do you want a higher salary?

Once your motivation is clear in your own mind, you’ll be in a better position to state your case for progression. Remember that it’s not necessarily the length of time spent at a company that dictates whether you qualify for a promotion or not.

Reflect on your time at work. Are you going above and beyond the job description, or are you doing what is expected of you? If it’s the latter, then you’ve still got some work to do before a promotion comes your way.

Mindset matters the most at all stages of your career. Whether considering a new hire or internal promotion, 97% of employers value mindset over skills. It is much easier to teach someone skills than to change their mindset. Show that you have the right mindset for the job and you’ll have the edge over your colleagues.

You could complete a professional development course to expand your knowledge in a particular area, or read up on articles to stay really current in your sector. Taking the initiative at this stage in your career will show both your maturity and your readiness to move up the ladder.

Ask! If you don’t ask, you don’t get. It’s true. If you want a promotion you need to be prepared to ask for it. Tell your manager that you want to move up and ask for advice on how to do so. Many managers will be happy to help you progress in your career.

They may suggest that you take on more responsibility in your current role, which will give you an extra opportunity to shine and to prove that you can handle it when the time comes.

Although your successes may be obvious to you, don’t assume that your manager is aware of them too. Quantify your achievements and show that you did X and Y to achieve Z, which had a positive impact on the business.

If you’re not great at recalling your achievements, get into the habit of writing them down in a notebook. It’s not enough to do great work – you need to show people that you’re doing great work.

Networking is also a useful way to get ahead in any industry, it’s not always what you know, but who you know that counts. Get involved in company events and speak to people already doing the role that you want to do.

Speak to your promoted colleagues and ask them how they achieved their promotions. This will be an educational and fulfilling experience and will help you to get ahead in your career.


Best of luck!


How to: Get promoted

Eight signs you’re due a promotion


If you’d like James to answer your career query, tweet your question to @James_A_Reed



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