Somebody asked me this recently: “what are the best ways to get promoted in my job?”
I’ve had a lot of experience helping people do this as a recruiter (and doing it myself) so I decided to put together a master-list of strategies that work!
These are the most powerful/important things you can do to get promoted at your job…
Bad bosses will hold you back! I personally think having a great boss is even more important than finding a great company.
Ideally, find both. One of the best ways to get promoted is to find a fast growing company *and* a great boss.
But here’s the bottom line: If your boss isn’t supportive, it’s going to be 10 times harder to get a promotion regardless of how hard you work.
Avoid bosses who seem jealous, impatient, rude, frustrated or unhappy at work. I’ve had some awful, awful bosses and it was not fun.
And I’ve had amazing bosses who literally propelled my career forward through advice, support and genuinely WANTING to see me do well. There’s nothing better! Go find a situation like this.
Don’t wait to be asked to do more and don’t limit yourself to only doing what’s in your job description.
If you’re doing a good job with your normal responsibilities, look for ways to take on more. Ask your boss what else you can help with.
Look for ways to improve processes in your company, help the team more, make other people’s jobs easier, etc. (But always handle your “core” responsibilities first).
A good boss will be thrilled that you’re taking initiative to ask what else you can do and learn. And it’s their job to find ways to keep you engaged and growing!
That’s why I mentioned the importance of having a great boss in point #1 above.
So to recap, so far… having a great boss and taking initiative to ask them for more responsibilities is one of the best ways to get promoted in your job.
Let’s talk about some other things now…
Participate in events. Make sure people get used to seeing you at company events whenever possible. Volunteer to help out any time your company does something like volunteering in the community, putting on a party for the holidays, or anything else.
Also, come to events relatively early so you can have a chance to meet new people, and leave late.
Do not skip these if you want to be promoted. Make sure you’re seen!
There are always a few people in each company like this. You don’t work with them directly but you know who they are. You recognize them when they’re walking around. You know their name.
Start working your way toward being one of these people. It starts with showing up company events (mentioned above in point #3), but it’s also something you build each day in the office.
Go introduce yourself to other teams and groups in your company. Introduce yourself to people at lunch. Try to get lunches or coffees with people outside of your usual circle. Talk to people in the hallways, the elevator, EVERYWHERE. Whatever it takes.
What should you say when you meet them? Create a quick elevator pitch to tell them what you do at the company and who you are.
If your company has multiple people involved in the interview process (rather than just one manager interviewing people and deciding), ask your boss if you can be a part of it.
You’ll gain valuable experience, you’ll feel like you are a bigger part of the company, and it’s another way of showing management that you’re interested in your work and that you’re looking to be a bigger part of the company.
The worst that happens if you ask is they say they don’t think you’re ready yet. No big deal. Ask again six months later! Even asking and hearing “no” is STILL going to leave a positive impression on management because you’ve taken initiative and clearly told them you are looking for more ways to involve yourself (more on that coming up…)
This is so important and one of the most powerful ways to get promoted at your job. I know it’s hard sometimes but you cannot complain if you want to be viewed positively. It’ll ruin your relationship with people.
If you’re having a tough day, you don’t feel like being at work, or something a colleague said to you is really bothering you- think twice before complaining out loud! It’s going to hurt your reputation and people WILL remember.
So if you want to get promoted at your job, wait until you’re home and vent to a friend, not at the office!
If you’re going to be late on a project, tell your boss! One of the best ways to get promoted at your job is to be transparent and have a rule of “no surprises” for your boss and team.
And be accountable. If you say you’ll do something, do it. If you can’t do something, make this clear and explain why right away.
It’s amazing how many bad situations you can avoid by just communicating clearly, pointing out a problem the minute you see it instead of trying to cover it up, and things like that. Be super accountable and upfront, and EVERYONE will trust you more.
Speaking of trust…
There have been studies that show just showing up when you say you would does a TON to build trust. Your boss will see you as being so much more reliable if you simply go to work on time.
And managers promote people who they can trust. So showing up to work on time every single day is probably the simplest, easiest way to get promoted quickly at your job.
And it’s something anyone can do. It takes zero talent or skill.
Just leave early enough to get work on time, no excuses. If you want to get promoted, this is a must-do. If you aren’t doing this, or are making excuses to yourself right now about why you can’t do this… then you don’t want to get promoted badly enough. Somebody else is willing to do this, and they’ll get promoted first most likely.
If you don’t ask for something, you won’t receive it. Your boss isn’t a mind-reader.
While you’re sitting quietly wondering why you haven’t gotten promoted, your boss might be wondering if you really want more responsibility, if you like being here, etc.
Don’t make them guess. Go ask for the promotion! Tell them you’d love to be considered for the next opportunity available.
And before this, you should have been spending time taking on more responsibility “unofficially” (without more pay or a new job title). That’s what step #2 was all about!
Getting promoted is a great way to advance your career without having to change companies often. It also looks fantastic on your resume. If you follow the steps above you’ll be in great position to get promoted and succeed faster in your career!