Christmas has come and gone, and once again Santa did not have a promotion for you in his bag. Sadly, a promotion is something you have to earn. As Rebecca Thorman points out for U.S. News, “Getting promoted is about doing more than expected, discovering opportunities, and providing immense value. If you meet expectations, feel free to pat yourself on the back, but don't be surprised when you can't climb the ladder.” If your goal for the New Year is to finally snag the promotion you deserve, here are seven things you can do starting January 1st to turn your dream into a reality.
1. Strategize. Before doing anything else, make a plan that includes a timeline. A goal without a plan is just a dream, so be clear about what you want, when you want it, and what you’re going to do to get it.
2. Analyze. Perform a cost-benefits analysis on the work you do so that you can focus your efforts where they’ll do the most good. Kay Koplovitz, writing for The Huffington Post, advises, “First, determine how you can work smarter, not just longer, than anyone else. Working smarter means using time wisely, knowing which activities will yield measureable results, which have a profile with your co-workers.”
3. Track. Gather any documents you have, such as positive performance reviews or formal recognition from the boss, and continue building a record of your excellence. While having a portfolio is standard for teachers seeking tenure or designers looking to show off their work, most people don’t bother to keep a record of their accomplishments. Being able to prove your value to the company when you ask for a promotion will go a long way to impress your bosses.
4. Manage Up. To “manage up” means to make yourself invaluable to your supervisors. Part of that is doing well and going above and beyond the call of duty, and part of it is knowing how to fit in with your company’s culture. In his column for Forbes, Mike Myatt cautions against playing the game too hard. “[T]he best way to be looked upon favorably by those you report to is not through various charades and other forms of skulduggery,” writes Myatt, “but by simply doing your job and serving them well.”
5. Collaborate. If your efforts toward getting a promotion are all focused on making sure everyone knows how great you are, you’re probably not helping your cause. Instead, let other people sing your praises. The best way to do this is to be a valuable member of the team. “One of the most powerful and rarely discussed success factors to employ in your career is the ability to share the momentum that you are building with others, “ writes Glen Llopis for Forbes. “Helping your colleagues succeed is a sign of self-confidence, self-trust, teamwork and collaborative leadership.”
6. Improve. If you’ve been stuck in the same position for years, it might be because your skills aren’t at the next level yet. Check into training offered by your employer; many companies provide access to online training modules such as lynda.com. While specific software competencies can help boost your value for a particular job, good communication skills will serve you well in all aspects of your career. Practice public speaking and get into the habit of proofreading all of your writing, even interoffice emails. Online proofreading tools will even help you learn from your mistakes as it checks your text for errors.
7. Stay Positive. This isn’t going to happen overnight. As you take steps to put yourself in line for a promotion, remember to keep your spirits up. By maintaining a cheerful disposition, you’ll not only feel better and be happier, but you’ll also make a positive impression on your coworkers and supervisors.
Tired of seeing other people climb the ladder while you’re stuck on the same old rung? Make this your year!