RESUME BLOG · Resume help and career advice

10 Strategies for Getting Yourself Promoted

Last updated on December 8, 2019

Let’s face it. You work hard. Harder than anyone in the office, as a matter of fact. You show up, do your job, ace your projects, and you’re ready for more. You overheard Jim at the watercooler talking about department promotions, and you’ve decided it’s time to speak with your boss. Before you have that heart-pounding conversation, look at this list to be sure you’re the star employee they’ll want to promote. Here are the top ten strategies for getting promoted at work.

1. Be Committed

Commitment doesn’t mean being the first in, last to leave, and seeing more of your boss than your spouse. But it does mean you arrive on time, complete your projects by the deadline, and do all you can to ensure your success and the success of your team. Commitment is an important character trait that could earn you a new position or disqualify you entirely if it’s lacking.

2. Be a problem solver

Manager-level positions come with a fair amount of headaches. Managers and bosses are the first lines of defense when it comes to solving company problems, and your boss will expect to see you demonstrate problem-solving skills. If a part of your project falls behind or doesn’t meet expectations, can you do what is necessary to get it back on track and keep it moving? Can you identify concepts that aren’t working and find a solution to improve your project?

3. Stay out of gossip and politics

Do your job, do it well, and stay away from gossip and politics. Every workplace has its share of office gossips who love nothing more than to stir the pot and see it boil. Don’t be one of them. Mind your business, talk good about the people you work with, and always avoid sharing or listening to pieces of unfounded information.

4. Help others and support their projects

If you want to be a manager, you’ll be moving into a role that places you in charge of team members. You’re not just one of the team. You’re the coach, mentor, cheerleader, and encourager. You will be expected to motivate your team and increase their performance. If you are looking for ways to help your fellow teammates now, you’ll be ready to help them as a manager. But if you haven’t developed a team player mentality that looks for ways to promote the success of others, you might have some learning to do before that promotion occurs.

5. Be Positive

No one enjoys a negative, sour, or complaining attitude. Come to work with a positive outlook that sees opportunities instead of setbacks, the silver lining to every cloud, and possibilities instead of problems. This doesn’t mean you have to plaster a fake smile on your face when the world is blowing up. But it also doesn’t mean you can fall apart. Positivity goes a long way in leading and motivating your team.

6. Own your work

If you take pride in your work, own your successes, and adjust from your failures, you’ll make a great promotion candidate. Bosses are going to look for someone who is committed to their project and their team. If you can’t stick with your project when the going gets rough, you probably won’t have the grit to stick with your team, either. Own your projects, own your role, and someday, you’ll own your team.

7. Learn from mistakes

A manager is going to look for someone who can make mistakes well. Mistakes aren’t the end of the world unless you fail to learn from them. All managers make mistakes when they lead a team. As the saying goes, to err is human. That’s just part of life. What will set you apart is learning from it.

8. Seize Opportunities to Lead

Whenever you have opportunities to step into a project and take the lead, do it. This will put you on the map as someone who has leadership skills. You’ll get noticed, and if you do a good job, you’ll earn the respect of your boss and your coworkers.

9. Stand Out (but don’t be obnoxious)

Do everything to the absolute best of your ability. Go the extra mile to make your presentations look extra sharp. Dress well. Carry yourself well. Socialize with the bosses and get to know them in social settings such as company parties. Do all you can organically to make yourself known around the office.

10. Make your desire known

Finally, make sure to relay your interest in being considered for a promotion. Show initiative by speaking with your boss about your career goals and plans. Do tell your boss you want to grow your leadership and team management skills. Don’t tell your boss you want to take their job and rule the company.

Mistakes Workers Make When Attempting A Promotion

There are a number of ways you may prevent yourself from getting a promotion. Here are a few examples:

  • Doing something for a short period of time and then resorting back to the same old same old
  • Expecting a new title but still doing the same exact job as before
  • Continuing to do the absolute minimum and skate by
  • Not growing your skills and staying stagnant
  • Not actively seeking connections and ways to build rapport with the organization
  • Relapsing back to bad habits while attempting to make a change
  • Not acting professionally at all times
  • Doing more, but being recognized for less

Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that no matter what you do, don’t threaten to leave your company if your boss doesn’t promote you. This is probably the number one mistake that is made far too often. The individual convinces themselves they are so invaluable to the company that they put themselves and their boss in an awkward situation with no real options on either side. In the end, they find themselves both without a promotion, and sadly, without a job at all. So be careful when making demands, and always leave yourself room for failure while still aiming high.

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