How to Get Promoted at Work

Do you want to get promoted on your job? Understand that if you do it may not be something that happens automatically. You may have to change strategy and tactics at work, and even go so far so let it be known that you want to be promoted.

How do you get the process going?

Do your job – plus

Employees sometimes believe they should be promoted based on automatic factors, such as seniority, doing their job on a consistent basis, or even popularity. In truth, you will not be promoted unless you are deemed promotion-worthy by your superiors. That will mean that you will have to stand out in some way.

It will not be enough to simply do your job every day, it will be much more about what it is that you do in addition to your job. That usually means taking responsibility that is beyond your job description. That can involve taking on difficult tasks or volunteering when a major assignment comes up that no one else wants.

It can also be establishing yourself as a problem solver. When there is a problem in your department or in your company, who is it that the staff and even management turn to? If it isn’t you, you shouldn’t expect to be promoted.

Schmooze with the brass

How to get promotedWe just mentioned popularity as a reason why employees expect to be promoted. While that’s not generally a factor – or at least it shouldn’t be – sometimes it is. But you have to differentiate between being popular with your coworkers, and being popular with the decision-makers.

If your bosses boss hardly knows you, and his boss doesn’t even know your name, there’s not much chance to be promoted. Whatever it is you have done in your tenure with your employer is not reaching the higher-ups. Sometimes that happens because you haven’t done anything noteworthy, but other times it’s because you haven’t spent enough time with management.

If you want to be promoted, you’ll have to make that effort. Schmoozing with the brass doesn’t mean fawning over them, but it does mean making yourself known at company functions, at extracurricular activities, in meetings, and especially when input is sought to deal with problems.

The more people above you in the pecking order who know you and know you well, the more likely it is that you’ll be promoted.

Become a problem solver

This may be the single factor that sets you up for promotion more than any other. Every employer has problems that they need to deal with. You probably heard it said if you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem. Take this to heart, and become part of the solution wherever you can.

This isn’t about being an “eager beaver”. It’s about recognizing and understanding that your boss and her bosses face challenges in the business, and doing your part to help them solve those problems.

Your purpose shouldn’t be to solve every problem in the department regardless of how small it is. That will only waste time, spread you too thin, and it might even come across as if you’re trying to win a popularity contest.

Save your problem-solving efforts for major tasks, the kind that will make a difference and get you noticed by the higher-ups.

Let it be known you want to be promoted

This can be a case of overlooking the obvious. If you never let your superiors know that you would like to be promoted, they may take your silence as an indication that either you’re not interested in being promoted, or that you are not motivated to make the effort.

This doesn’t mean you should go around poking your superiors on a regular basis letting them know you want the next promotion. But once or twice a year you should have a serious face-to-face meeting in which you indicate that you not only want to be promoted, but you expect to be.

It could be a dangerous strategy, but from time to time you may also want to drop some hints that you are talking to competitors about higher positions. Sometimes the only way an employer notices a promotion-worthy employee is when they realize that they have market value outside the company.

It could get you fired. But you also get you promoted.

Do you have other ideas on how an employee can get promoted?

About Justin B

Justin is the co-owner and grammarly impaired author of My University Money and Young and Thrifty. If you like what you read, consider signing up for email updates.

7 Responses to How to Get Promoted at Work

  1. Successful people are doers! In addition, personality counts. The people who generally are promoted are the people who are team players and get things done. You have to show you fill the role, so get the skills.

  2. Learning how to promote yourself is really common sense. You have all of the tools at your disposal as mentioned above. You just need to make use of them. It requires considerable time and effort, but it is worth it.

  3. My advice to people who want to be promoted is to show initiative. Stop barely meeting quota and start exceeding expectations. These things do not go unnoticed. And even if you don’t get a promotion, it is still a good thing to work on for yourself and your future endeavours.

  4. I was just going to say what krantcents said — personality counts, and also that you know your job.

    1. Knowing your job — That means not asking other people to fill in for you when you should be able to do it yourself, or trying to weasel others to take your place

    2. A good personality — It doesn’t just mean being a team player, it means being fair, and not letting people weasel you into doing their work for them.

    It’s fine to collaborate and help, but you shouldn’t be doing their jobs as well as yours, in an attempt to look good to the boss. Know who will come out on top?

    The other person, who has time to do all the extra stuff while you’re stuck doing their work. Bitch if you have to, in a nice way as in: “I really don’t have time to do Tom’s work along with mine, and I don’t mind helping but what do you suggest I do?”

  5. I always believe that in order to get promoted to a job, I should always do my best in everything I do. I also assess myself at the end of the day what great things I have done for the day in order to impress my superior with my performance.

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