It would be safe to say you would have probably entertained the question of how to get promoted even before you graduated or left school. In my chats with juniors from my industry, I am often asked this question which I gladly answer. However, I sense they simply want short cuts to the next level.
These experiences pushed me to pen these 9 obvious but often not practiced tips on how to get promoted. Start internalizing these tips and make them part of your career management plan. Before you know it, you would have moved up to the next level.
One main reason for people to ignore these obvious practices on how to get promoted is because they seem very long term. But they are not at all. All you need to do is to consistently DO them. I have broken them down to 3 main sections: Plan, Attitude and Action.
1. Where Are You and Why Are You There?
How to get promoted? First you will need to have a reference point. Ask yourself, where are you now? And why are you there? Is there any key strength that has brought you where you are now that you can continue to leverage for the next promotion?
Are there any weaknesses you really need to correct before the next promotion is possible? These questions, while simple are strategic. It allows you to check your strengths and weaknesses. It forces you to access what has worked and what will work to get you promoted.
2. Where Do You Want to Be and How Do You Get There?
You obviously need to have an objective and a plan. Just saying you want to get promoted is not enough. You need to be clear on your next position. Is it a promotion to a different department or a different branch? Write this down.
Now that you have written this down, how do you plan to get that promotion? Develop a plan for to achieve that objective. If you are lucky, you can even work this out with your immediate boss. Most bosses do not promise that promotion at such discussions but at the very least you get an idea of what are the expectations.
3. Put Pride, Passion and Belief in Everything You Do
People who get promoted are those that have a sense of pride in their work. And they take pride in their work. They are driven by genuine enthusiasm and desire to do their best no matter how small the job.
They believe in themselves and they believe in the bigger goals of their unit or department and company. How to get promoted? Ask yourself; do you conduct yourself with pride, passion and belief?
4. Back it Up with Skills/Knowledge, Direction and Action
Having pride, passion and belief is only part of how to get promoted. It must be backed up by skills and knowledge. That means having the necessary skills and knowledge to do a superb job. Having a direction is important to guide that energy generated by your passion. Otherwise, effort is wasted. Without action which is the actual completion of the task, all else is academic. You will be judged by what you do.
5. See Challenges as Opportunities
Another obvious tip on how to get promoted is to see challenges as opportunities. Very often I see young executives being thrown challenging assignments, which they choose to see as an additional chore.
If you want to be promoted, look at challenges as opportunities to shine. Do not complain about hard work, how hard you worked or if your assignment is tougher than your colleagues'. Trust me, no one wants to know how hard you work. In everyone's mind, their own work is the hardest.
6. What is Your Part?
Know your part and play your part. What is your role? Are you an implementer? Or are you a leader? Know exactly what you need to do in order for your unit to achieve its goals. Knowing your part means being a team player. No one can succeed without help from others. We all need the support of colleagues. When the team succeeds, you succeed too.
7. Do Your Best NOW
I consider this as one of the most important tip on how to get promoted. Do your best NOW. Today. This week's tasks and projects. Do not bask in the glory of your previous work. That is gone. In all likelihood, no one else cares about it especially your bosses.
Do not think too much about future projects that are not implemented yet. That is in the future. It is not here yet. Focus on DOING your best NOW. It determines how you are being judged. When you reflect too much on the past and think too much about the future, you forget to focus on the NOW.
8. Do More than Necessary
If you want to know how to get promoted, do more than the necessary. That means volunteering for work and taking the initiative to make a job better. It also means not sitting around waiting for work to come to you.
Bosses like people who can help them solve problems. Even if the problem is not yours, but if you feel you can be of help and have the expertise to solve it, then volunteer to help. You become the team's competitive advantage when you do that. And bosses like people who give their unit an advantage over the others. Helping your team stay ahead is then helping you stay ahead too.
9. Do Work from the Next Level Up
If you continue doing work for your current position then you truly deserve your current position. People who know how to get promoted know that if you want the position next level up, you start doing some of those work from that level now. If you are a senior executive now, do some work that is only expected of an assistant manager (assuming that is the next level up). This allows you to demonstrate you are capable of that position already.
Obviously, there are zillions of tips out there on how to get promoted. These are some of those I deem to be obvious and not practiced enough by career success seeking newbies. Putting these into practice would greatly increase your chances of a promotion.
Yun Siang Long, or Long as he is popularly known, spent 16 years in 3 multinational ad agencies where he also trained people in the areas of career management.