Are you ready to take the next step in your career, but you're not sure how to initiate the promotion conversation with your manager or HR representative? Although it's easy to assume that a promotion will come your way if you dedicate yourself and work hard, you need to be proactive about your future to advance. Here's our strategic list of 15 promotion tips that'll propel you upwards.
15 Practical Promotion Tips to Help You Succeed
Conduct a self-assessment of your work performance.
Before gearing up to apply for a promotion, take a hard look at every aspect of your work performance, from your work ethic and attitude to perceptions of how your boss, co-workers, and any other major stakeholders (customers, clients, suppliers) view you. This advice is one of the most critical promotion tips I can give you. You need to get honest with yourself. One easy way to self-evaluate is to learn how to write a resume specifically for the position. Do you spot any areas of improvement where you can focus your energy?
Craft a plan.
This is one of those promotion tips that is often overlooked. You know the adage that states that failing to plan is planning to fail. Well, it's a well-known because it's true. Don't go out shooting from the hip: creating a strategic plan boosts your chances of landing the promotion.
Track and quantify your accomplishments
One of the hardest tasks for anyone is quantifying work achievements. Keep a weekly log of your results — whether it's how many widgets you produced or sold, how many customers you serviced, how many new clients you converted, and so on. Those folks who can document their successes — and their impact on the organization — tend to get the rewards.
Being able to show concrete, quantifiable contributions to the organization can help tip the scales in your favor when it comes time for a promotion.
Work ethic is important, but not everything.
One of the outmoded promotion tips you are likely to receive is that you need to demonstrate a strong work ethic, and be a "hard worker." While that's true, working hard is not nearly as important as delivering results.
This good tip relates to not only promotions but to managing your career in general. Always share credit, and attribute success to team members. After all, no one likes a credit hoarder and being one will damage your brand.
Get outside your comfort zone.
You may be very good at your job — and that is important — but do you ever try to push the limits of your work? In other words, do you ever consider better ways you could do your job — or better ways your department could function — and make suggestions to your boss? Just do not confuse taking the initiative with knowing it all.
Be a team player.
Review how well you work in teams, examining crucial issues such as communications, working relationships, team successes (and failures). Team skills are invaluable at all levels within an organization and necessary for a promotion. For a reality check, you might consider asking a few teammates for some honest feedback.
Further your education/training.
This is one of the top promotion tips to consider. You obviously had the right mix of education, skills, and training to land your current job, but continuing your education, staying ahead of trends for your current position, and obtaining additional training could propel you to the next level.
Vet out what the organization and hiring manager value.
Do your research so that you know what your management is looking for. Do you have transferable skills that relate to an open position? Is your company missing an important position or department that is valuable in your field? These additional promotion tips will help you avoid common mistakes.
Avoid spreading the gossip — or being part of it.
This is not just a promotion tip; this is a life tip. Nothing can derail someone's future with an organization faster than negative information — and being involved in gossip in any way is the fast path to the end of your career with your employer. And you never want to be the subject of those rumors either. Perceptions play a significant role in how your co-workers and directors judge you.
Volunteer for additional tasks.
An excellent promotion tip is to volunteer for additional projects or assignments. Asking for more work demonstrates your interest and desire to help your department and company succeed — and puts a spotlight on your value to the organization.
Don't do it alone — find a mentor.
One of the best promotion tips is to find and curate a strong mentor/mentee relationship with key members of your professional network. The ideal scenario is having at least one mentor within your employer and one outside your employer (but within your profession or industry). Look for someone established in your career field who offers useful advice, support, and connections.
Focus on your long-term goals.
Ask yourself if this promotion will help you get to where you ultimately want to be.
Create a powerful personal brand.
What is it that you want people to conjure when they think of you? What is the experience you want them to have when they work with you? This is entirely within your control, so don't neglect it -- take the time to learn how to build your personal brand.
Create your own opportunities by suggesting a new position.
One of the most often-overlooked promotion tips is to identify a strategic gap that needs filling — with you as the perfect candidate to fill it. Consider writing a proposal for management suggesting the new position. Even if the company decides against creating the role, you have shown your initiative, creativity, and value to the firm. These qualifications can only help you the next time you request a promotion.
Editor's Note: Be proactive with your promotion goals. Build a resume that accurately describes how you're the ideal candidate for a higher position within your company.