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How to Get Yourself Promoted

How to Get Yourself Promoted

Dear Boss, I'd like to be paid more money, please give me a promotion.


As a career advice blogger I get asked this question a lot. How are you supposed to stand out in the work place and make the people above you realise you deserve that promotion. 

Maybe you have already had a few ideas of your own but none of them quiet worked out as you would have hoped. You began by sitting down with your manager and making them aware you wanted more, you were happy to take on that extra workload you just wanted some recognition, maybe a change in job title but ideally a boost in your payslip. And how did that work out for you? Somehow your boss heard you're happy to work hard and do other jobs but your contract remains the same. You have ended up doing more but gained nothing in return.

Does that scenario sound familiar to you?

How do you do it differently? Do you wait for the next role to be advertised and then submit your application to only be told they have decided to go "external" for the post and again you're beaten to the finish by someone you didn't even know was in the race. Now all you have to do is pretend you understand and remember to not make it awkward when you are asked to train the newbie despite not being "good enough" for the job.

We all want to be recognised for what we do well but you can't just wait around expecting for it to happen, so how do you get promoted from within?

I have put together the five main things you need to do to get yourself promoted in your current job and make 2018 the year where you get the position you deserve.


Step 1 - Know what you want

We all want more but that doesn't mean we are going to get it and it doesn't mean it even exists. If you are looking for a promotion think about what you actually want from a promotion. Is there a particular role you are after, extra responsibilities or duties you are eager to take on?

Have a clear idea of what it is you want, so you know what is needed to go get it and be realistic. (If you're currently the reception wanting to go after the CEO role then you might need to put some steps into the middle.)


Step 2 - Make a Plan

The key to getting a promotion is to take it seriously. Similarly to when you are applying for a new role you need that plan of action as to how you are going to get it. Okay so you might be lucky and your boss might call you to the side tomorrow and say "thanks for all your hard work, we'd love to promote you and give you a huge pay rise" but in the real world that's not how it works.

Instead you need to do your research, what skills, strength or experience do you need to get promoted, who has the authority to make decisions about promotions, how are you going to get noticed and what is your timeline you are going to be working towards. You should have this all planned out before you making your intentions of a promotion known at work.

Step 3 - Form Connections

Ever heard the phrase it's not what you know but who you know? When it comes to promotions this can have a huge effect on your success. Lets say your hard working and you've proven you can do the job, that doesn't make this a slam dunk. What if someone equally as great in another department knows the hiring manager of that area, they are always talking in the break room and they have worked together on several projects. Now friendships shouldn't play a part in the recruitment process but if a hiring manager has had a lot of face time with one person and they only met you for the first time in the interview, of course they are going to know more about the other person's skills, strengths and experiences.

So get yourself noticed and start building relationships with more people than just your office bestie. It is great to have referrals on your side when going for that promotion.

My top tip is to do the tea run once in a while, the kitchen is a great place to connect with colleagues and attend a work do; it's easier to get to know your colleagues or manager outside the work environment.


Step 4 - Update your Manager

Why do so many people forget to keep their manager in the loop about them wanting a promotion? Do you spend your one to one's day dreaming or thinking about what you might have for lunch? Well snap out of it and take any face to face time with your manager seriously. If you know you have a meeting coming up, prepare yourself notes for the meeting so you can make sure all your questions and queries are covered off. Don't let your manager take over the conversation and leave thinking I wish I'd just asked.

Ask for their advice on how you would go about getting a promotion and take their advice on board. Feedback is essential for you to know where you can improve on your performance and it shows you are proactive if you are openly asking for it.

Not everyone is ready for a promotion straight away but a good manager should support you in developing to a level where you are ready.


Step 5 - Take on board feedback and show your improvements


Now this is a step that so many people forget. If you are given feedback on how you could improve to get that promotion, you need to be measuring your success against it weekly. You need to be taking ownership for your own development and how you do this is simple. Keep a log of areas you have managed to improve, any successes you have had that week and think of your own targets for the following week to better yourself. Then take all of that with you to your next meeting with your manager and if nothing is booked in request that face to face time.

You are showing you can be responsible for your own progress and you have a great portfolio now if there is ever an interview for a promotion.

*Top Tip* If any of the successes you noted included working in a team ask those colleagues you worked with to write you a short testimonial of how well you performed.



The Promotion Myth

A lot of people believe you get promoted by doing the job above you well. If you do it for long enough someone will notice and you'll get that recognition you deserve.

While this isn't completely inaccurate it isn't the whole truth.

Yes I complete agree that most organisations will ask you to prove yourself in the job before they offer you the role but some employers will take advantage of that situation or simply not even notice you are doing that extra work.

You need to be proactive if you want that promotion and do all the hard work for your employer by making it super obvious that you going above and beyond.

So take a record of everything "extra" you do, get colleagues to backup that you are hard working with testimonials and then present all that evidence to your manager. You'll make it impossible for them to say no to you and if they still say no without any explanation well maybe it's time to take your talent elsewhere.

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16 comments

  1. Great tips! I don't have an employer but I am sure this would be so helpful to others who are looking to climb the career ladder. Making connections is key!

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    1. Thanks for the feedback! It is all about climbing the ladder.

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  2. Really great tips for climbing the ladder! For me, the most important ones are to work hard & prove yourself and let the supervisor know you want to advance.

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    1. Working hard is important in every aspect of life, practise makes perfect and proving yourself is key.

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  3. I've never come across a careers advise blogger before, I love this. I'm currently self employed but as a former recruiter and HR manager these tips are great. Mich x

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    1. Thanks Michelle, great to get feedback from someone else who was formerly in the industry!

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  4. I agree that it is so important to forge connections as like you said its not 'what you know' but who you know. For example if you hang out with Kylie Jenner all the time its guaranteed that her followers are going to follow you.

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    1. Great example! Maybe I should get in with the Kylie Jenner crew as well haha

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  5. these are great tips -- I just wish it worked the same in academia! I think the connections is most important for me, and same with feedback. thanks for sharing! -bryanna skye

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    1. I agree, connections are everything!

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  6. Love this post, so helpful! I'm glad I discovered your blog, it's very unique and I can imagine it'll be so useful for others to read too!

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    1. Thanks Sarah, glad you found the tips useful!

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  7. Really helpful thanks. I am trying to support my boyfriend to get promoted at the moment.

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    1. Glad it was helpful, best of luck to your boyfriend :)

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  8. I can’t believe I’ve only discovered your blog now! I also blog about career advice so can really relate. Look forward to reading more!

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    1. I'd love to read your blog! Send me a link :)

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