10 Tips to Get Promoted

Last Updated May 4, 2010 8:21 AM EDT

Promotion tipsYou might be relatively low on the office totem pole at the moment but you're not planning on staying there long. So for the young but ambitious striver, how can you speed your rise up the corporate ladder? Jenny Blake, a blogger who also works in career development at Gen Y dream employer Google, has ten great tips to get you promoted faster, culled from her recent appearance on ChaChanna Simpson's BlogTalkRadio show, A Stellar Day with ChaChanna:
  • Don't just focus on promotion as an end in itself - It's like losing weight: you can either focus solely on the number on the scale or on getting healthy overall. Getting healthy has many more fringe benefits. Similarly, don't just focus on the promotion itself. Focus more on the competencies, expectations and behaviors that will lead to a promotion; you'll be better off in the long run and most likely get there faster.
  • Build your career like a pyramid not a ladder (Carol Bartz) â€" Don't be afraid of horizontal moves. Focus on finding work that is soul-stirring (as Tim Gunn would say) and make adjustments along the way. Much better (for most people) to focus on finding work that is a great fit rather than just on getting promoted.
  • Have the right conversations â€" Ask your manager: what does success look like? In 3-6 months, what would you love to see me doing? What should I be doing to operate at the next level?
  • Be an observer â€" Pay attention to people who have been recently promoted or who work in the level above you. What skills, experiences and attitudes do they have?
  • Save the entitlement â€" You may think you deserve a promotion (and you might be ready) but also be aware that much of the time people think they deserve promotions earlier than their managers might think so. Be willing to compromise and navigate this through open, direct conversations. Also remember that it often depends on many factors outside of your job performance alone (the economy, other people in the company, etc).
  • Networking is key â€" Often there will be more people involved in deciding whether to promote you than just your direct manager. Try to get experience working on projects that involve other leaders within the company.
  • Want a promotion? Ask for more responsibility instead â€" In many companies, you pretty much have to already be operating at the next level before you get promoted. Keep this in mind. Keep asking for more responsibility.
  • Stand out - Make yourself indispensable by being proactive, having a positive attitude and being a flexible "team player." Come up with ideas, solve problems before your manager asks. Do what it takes to be their right hand.
  • Don't sacrifice your sanity just to work toward a promotion â€" It's not worth it! You'll get angrier and angrier if the promotion doesn't come right away, but mostly because YOU are giving too much. Keep the balance and remember to have fun, even as you're trying to move up the ladder.
  • Focus on impact, not just output - As you are taking on more and more responsibility, focus on delivering quality work that makes an impact. Be able to show that the work you are doing is improving the company in a material way.
(Ladder image by Myki Roventine, CC 2.0)
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    Jessica lives in London where she works as a freelance writer with interests in green business and tech, management, and marketing.