How to: Get promoted

Think it’s time you got a promotion?

Unfortunately, career progression is about more than simply building up your experience at a company. And knowing what else you need to cover – not to mention how to bring up the conversation – could make all the difference when it comes to influencing your manager’s decision.

We’ve already highlighted some sure-fire ways to guarantee career progression, but here’s a quick guide on how to get promoted (you know, just in case):


Actually ask

Firstly, make sure you’ve clearly stated your aspirations to your employer.

Start by setting up a meeting with your manager to talk about your career direction, and outline how you see yourself moving forward, with an ideal timeframe in mind.

If they know exactly what your goals are, they may be more inclined to move you up, should the opportunity arise. It also allows you to see if there are any opportunities for progression on the horizon, which could be the first step to getting your foot in the door.

At the very least, asking for more autonomy or a greater sense of responsibility will help signal your intentions to move forward.

Because if you don’t ask, you don’t get… (Hey, sometimes the oldest clichés are the best).


Back yourself up

Unfortunately, asking isn’t always enough. You actually have to sell yourself.

Roughly translated, that means quantifying your results. Start by taking note of any achievements you’ve made which helped the business reach their strategic goals, and place precedence on these when it comes to meeting with your manager.

But don’t just talk about why you feel you deserve to be moved up – use results to prove how important you are to the overall success of the team. Not only will it help them see how indispensable you are to the business, it might even highlight some accomplishments they weren’t even aware of.

Remember: Self-promotion doesn’t have to be all about you.


Be yourself (only better)

Experience isn’t the only thing that counts when it comes to promotions.

Some of the positions you apply for might require additional skills or qualifications, some of which may be seen as essential – even for an internal applicant. So, instead of waiting for your employer to push you forward, take things into your own hands by getting certified on your own terms.

If it’s a role you really want to do, the extra time spent studying will undoubtedly pay dividends. And even if you miss out on the job within your own company, you’ll have something extra to add to your CV if you decide to start looking elsewhere.


Move sideways

Not every promotion needs to be a direct step forward.

Moving into a new position which is at the same level as yours (but potentially in a different team or with different responsibilities) might actually work out better in the long run. Especially if there’s someone blocking the path directly above you.

And, even though you might not see the new role as a step up, it might come with additional benefits, such as a pay rise or more flexible hours. So not only will it leave you better off, it’ll also offer direct access to a more available position to move into from there.


Pick up on mistakes

Newsflash: You don’t have to agree with everything your boss says.

In fact, the reason they’ve built a team around them is partly to surround themselves with individuals who have knowledge or skills beyond their own expertise. Asking questions not only demonstrates your own attributes, it also shows you’ve got a backbone.

So stop taking no for an answer, and if you don’t agree with something – question it.

Just make sure you can back yourself up. There’s a fine line between inquisitive and irritating…


Admit to your own failures

Promotions aren’t just about your accomplishments – they also come down to accountability.

Anyone can take the credit when everything’s running smoothly. But showing that you’re willing to take the blame for failure, and actively seek solutions, is an absolutely vital attribute for senior staff to possess.

So if things do start going wrong, be honest and tell your manager. Then improve your own standing by letting them know how you’re going to resolve the issue.

Because it’s better that they hear it directly from you, and know you’re on top of the situation, than finding out you’ve tried to cover it up from someone at the water cooler (insert other applicable social situation here).


Don’t neglect your day-to-day

Finally, don’t forget about your day job.

Big project pieces and new qualifications might seem like great ways to ensure career progression, and they will definitely help your cause – but they should never come at the cost of your day-to-day responsibilities.

Remember: promotions are never a given. And if you’re struggling to keep your own responsibilities in check, you’ll have a hard time convincing your manager to place any more trust in you.

Get the foundations right first. Then you can build on them.


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