In this article, I’m going to explain my top 10 tips for getting promoted.
These strategies have been refined by me and my team over multiple decades, as well as climbing the corporate ladder myself and managing teams in my own businesses.
Tip 1: Understand why you want a promotion.
The first point is to think about if you really want this promotion and the reasons why you want it.
Most people usually want it because:
- They’re going to earn more money
- They want more recognition for the work they’ve put in
- They get the ability to progress in their career
However, the disadvantages are:
- Longer hours
- More responsibility
- Worse work/ life balance
So, it’s important to consider your medium and long term goals first, and then decide if a promotion is the best way to achieve that.
It could be that you’re in a comfortable job, but you’re not massively passionate about it, and getting promoted would give you more money for doing more stuff you don’t like.
The pros and cons of wanting a promotion are really important to think through. It may seem obvious, but many people don’t do this, and then they get a shock when they actually get what they’ve been chasing after.
Tip 2: Consider the opportunities
The second point is, having decided that you do really want this promotion, to first consider the opportunities available to you.
If you’re working in a large business, there could be good opportunities for you there, and that is probably your most straightforward way of achieving a promotion.
However, don’t forget there will be many competitors in your company for the role you want, which sometimes makes it harder to get picked out from the crowd.
Also, if you’re in a position where you would be promoted above your peers, I’ve seen examples where people find it hard to take on the persona of “the boss”, and make decisions when historically they’ve always been “one of the team”.
Actually, you might find there are similar roles elsewhere, and that it would be easier to make the jump to a higher-level position at a new company.
The benefit of doing this is that you go directly into the role at the new company, and are seen as more senior from the very beginning.
An alternative solution would be to ‘give yourself a promotion’ by creating a small side business to earn extra money in an area that you are more passionate about than your 9 to 5 role.
Or, you could even make the leap and start your own company in the industry you already work in.
Tip 3: Figure out who the decision-makers are
Now, let’s assume that you’ve decided you definitely want a promotion at the business you currently work for. What you need to do is figure out who the decision-makers are, what it is they are looking for, and why they are looking for it.
This is really important because, the same as when you are trying to sell anything, you have got to look at the target audience and find out what it is they are seeking.
Sometimes they think they need a certain number of years’ experience or qualifications, when in reality what they actually need is the right set of skills, track record & personality.
So, try and look a bit deeper than the job description, and work out how to solve the talent problem they are really facing.
Then, make sure that when you start to put yourself forward, that you fully demonstrate you are capable of doing what is necessary to solve that problem for them.
Tip 4: Package yourself up properly
Leading on from this, you need to know how to package yourself up properly so that you are ready to put yourself forward in a positive light.
What you are effectively doing is selling yourself into that position, and therefore you need to market yourself in the right way to make the sale to those decision-makers.
Consider these two points:
- Is it clear what your capabilities are?
Decision-makers usually have multiple people working for them, and it’s unlikely that they will know all of the skills you possess, even if they should.
Therefore, it’s very important to reposition yourself with a new CV, and make sure it’s on Linkedin, so when somebody looks at your profile they know that you have the necessary qualifications.
- Do you look the part?
Marketing yourself is about more than just your CV and Linkedin. Personal presentation is key to making sure you leave the right impression with recruiters and the hiring manager.
This doesn’t mean you need to be suited up all the time, but you need to look the part, act the part and speak the part.
Doing these things will not only improve your chances of getting promoted but also make you fully believe in yourself as the right person for the job.
Tip 5: Know your competition
The next important point is to know your competition.
Knowing who you’re up against will either show you what skills you are lacking and what you need to change, or it will give you confidence in your own abilities (if you are more qualified already).
Tip 6: Make it clear what you want
Next, it’s important to make it clear that you are going for the role.
There’s no point keeping your ambitions a secret – hiring managers are not going to magically notice you, so you need to actively put yourself forward.
If that means sending an email directly to the decision-maker or even approaching them in person, then make sure you do that, but always in a polite and professional way.
It’s easy to think that telling people that you want a promotion is a bad idea. But that’s not actually true. The desire for progress is normal, and most people will understand this.
The benefit of letting others know that you want a promotion is that, when the hiring managers are asking for recommendations, you will be top of mind with the people you have told.
Tip 7: Prove Yourself
Next is to prove to yourself (and everyone else) that you are capable of doing the job you are aspiring for.
From now on, in every meeting, on every phone call and every interaction that you have, prove that you are able to do that job.
Act in the way you think the ideal candidate would act, and prove yourself even if you think nobody is looking because, generally speaking, they always are and they will take notice if you start making the right moves.
Tip 8: Put yourself forward even if you don’t feel ready
Strike when the iron is hot.
Once that opportunity for promotion comes up – go for it.
I don’t care if you feel that you only have 5/10 things, just put yourself forward.
I’ve seen it time and time again where people disqualify themselves unnecessarily, and the person who ends up getting the role was actually less qualified than them.
What’s the worst-case scenario?
You get told no…
…but you can ask why…
…and then they will tell you.
Even if it’s obvious, at least you have shown your intent and gained valuable experience that will make you better prepared for next time.
Tip 9: Propose an irresistible offer
If there are gaps in your experience or CV, make sure you can explain how you will plug those gaps.
For example, if there is a skill that is needed but you don’t have it, then talk about it with the hiring managers.
Explain your willingness to take evening classes, or train on the job to get that skill after you have been hired.
Even proposing an arrangement where they hire you on less money for the first 3 months while you prove yourself, and then make the final decision, can be a good way to negotiate around your current shortcomings.
Very often, if you give them this kind of ‘irresistible offer’, then they will see how enthusiastic you are, and if you have most of the other skills, you will still get the job.
You need to remember that decision-makers are very busy and constantly worried about bringing new people into their teams.
So, if you can present them with a no-lose scenario like this, then you’ll be solving one of their major problems, which is the time it takes to interview lots of candidates before finding the perfect one (if they even exist at all).
If you can give them enough reassurance that you are going to close the gaps, then they are more likely to hire you.
Tip 10: Deliver Results
Finally, when you get the offer, make sure you deliver the results that you have promised.
The last thing you want is to disappoint people and, god forbid, get a demotion. If you take a step up, you need to be able to keep up with what is now expected from you.
Never be responsible for letting anyone down, and more importantly, letting yourself down.
So with that in mind, I hope you found this article useful and I wish you the very best of luck in getting that promotion,
One final point, if it doesn’t happen this time, don’t worry…
It will eventually happen as long as you keep trying and, no matter how many times it takes, ultimately you will succeed as long as you do not quit!
Best of luck!
P.S If you liked this article and want to learn more about how to improve your career, you can download my free resources below, or join my program Careers Mastery, where I walk you through all my best tactics for progressing your career and hold you hand each step of the way.