How to Position Yourself for a Promotion

Published: Jul 07, 2015

Whether you are a rising star or an established high performer, it is critical that you know how to position yourself to move up the ranks within your organization. When the time comes that you are ready to take on more responsibility and advance your career, follow these six steps to prepare yourself to make the big move:

Get on your manager's radar.
Do not wait for the promotion to come to you, take matters into your own hands and make your manager aware of your career aspirations. Brittany Dowell, vice president of publications for content marketing firm Influence & Co, advises that you start by subtly introducing the idea that you are ready for more responsibility. Requesting a one-on-one review with those you directly support is one of the best ways to signal that you are ready for a promotion. These meetings show that you have a willingness to improve, and that you are holding yourself accountable for your work performance,” she explains. Take the initiative and let your manager know that you are ready to advance your career.

Solicit feedback.
Once you've established your goals with your supervisors, ask for feedback on your performance. Andrea Chilcote, CEO of business consulting firm Morningstar Ventures, says that their input will allow you to set both short and long term goals with the end goal of being promoted. By simply asking for advice, not only will you learn how to make a change for the better, you'll also show company leaders that you're intrinsically motivated to self-improve for the betterment of the company - a key to earning a promotion.

 Accept constructive criticism.
Chilcote advises you to be open minded to the feedback you are given. Resist the urge to explain or defend your inquiry. Say "thank you" and consider the advice. It might change everything, she states. By welcoming feedback in a non-defensive way, and then applying that feedback to your work, you'll demonstrate a level-headed professional maturity that will go a long way in convincing management that you are ready for the next level.

Don't limit these conversations to your annual review.
Tiffani Murray, HR technology consultant and career expert, says that you should check in periodically with your manager to get his or her feedback and monitor your progress. It is vital to have these conversations with your manager and leadership. In the end, promotions and roles are decided by those above you, Murray comments. If you neglect to have these types of conversations with your superiors on a regular basis, they may assume that you are not holding yourself accountable for your progress. What's more, they may think that you have lost interest in the promotion altogether.

Leverage learning opportunities.
Before you can secure that promotion, you will need to demonstrate that you are willing to put in the extra effort to broaden your skillset by welcoming new learning opportunities. Show that you want to continuously grow, and ultimately increase your value to the organization. Tim Elmore, president and founder of Growing Leaders, a non-profit organization that prepares young job seekers to become successful leaders, says that you must "show your boss that you have a teachable spirit and hungry mind. Ask questions, offer to help with additional assignments, and make thoughtful suggestions." The most effective way to do so is to get involved and contribute to high visibility projects. Chilcote adds, "With that mindset, no task or extra hour will be a waste", instead, each will be a learning experience that adds to your skillset and resume, and further positions you as a team player. This will definitely get you noticed by key decision makers.

Go the extra mile.
Do the tasks no one else is willing to do. Arrive early, stay late, and do anything that emphasizes your willingness to give back to the company. "Think contributor, not consumer, and you will be more likely to be considered for a promotion," Elmore advises. "Managers want to promote employees that are going above and beyond their required work, employees they can easily envision in a role with more responsibility." Do whatever it takes to get noticed and put you in a position to move up the ranks.

Follow these tips, and you'll be six steps closer to securing that promotion.

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