Been in your job a couple of years and feel you’re ready to take the next step? Watching select few of your colleagues move up the ladder while the vast majority of you are still stuck in your old jobs? Trying to figure out what to do to be one of those select few?
If you’re itching to get to the next rung, here are a few steps you can take to put yourself in prime position.
1. Get clear on your value.
Chances are your boss is not just magically aware of all the great work you’ve done so far. Maybe you’ve lost sense of it too. So start by making a list of your accomplishments. Detail the projects you’ve been a part of, the teams you’ve led, the accolades you’ve earned. Make yourself a "brag" folder of your quantifiable accomplishments, those concrete examples of the results you have produced. Be ready to outline all of this to your boss when the time comes.
2. Clarify your expectations.
You can do all the work you want in one direction, but you won’t get anywhere if it’s not the same direction as your boss would like. Ask your boss, frankly, what you would need to do to exceed her expectations and be in line for advancement. Make a list of what she says and start following it to the letter. Don’t be afraid to state outright that you’re interested in promotion and eager to do whatever it takes—and to ask exactly that "whatever it takes" would entail.
3. Ask for a review.
It never hurts to mention that you’re eager for a quarterly or six-month review. If you have this system set up, you can be sure of feedback four times a year. This will help you fine tune what you’re working towards and make sure to stay on the same page as your boss. Eventually, you’ll both be ready for you to advance to the next level.
4. Tell your boss your value.
This is a case, unfortunately, where you have to tell not show. And be sure to do it in advance of the time when you would ideally want to receive said promotion. Compile your accomplishments list, walk into your boss’s office, and be ready to make your case. That way, when it comes time for decisions, she will have all of the information.
5. Find a friend in HR.
It never hurts to have a wee birdie to tell you when certain positions might be coming open in the future. It will help you hit the ground running with your wow-the-boss plan. Having a pal in HR can help you keep an ear out for promotion opportunities in other departments as well.
6. Go for more.
Push yourself to go that extra mile, beyond your job description. Take on that project that’s a bit of a stretch for you. Take on a leadership opportunity you might not have gone for otherwise. Distinguish yourself from your peers.
7. Go outside.
If it becomes clear that you’re getting passed over unfairly for promotions at your company, start looking at other companies. Start thinking how you can make a move to a higher level position (with a nice salary bump to boot!). This keeps your options open and has the added benefit of making you that much more attractive to your current employer.
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