Hoping For A Job Promotion? How To Get Promoted At Work

by Jacques Sprenger on 2009-08-3010

Life is the sum of all your choices.
-Albert Camus (French author)

So you’re one of the lucky ones who’ve escaped a job layoff. Should you dare even think about or hope for a job promotion? It seems about as rare as spotting elusive wildlife, but a job promotion may still be achievable at a company that can thrive and grow in a bad economy.

Hoping For A Job Promotion?

In these difficult economic times, companies the world over are anxiously looking for people who can help their bottom line through innovative ideas and strategies. These gems are often found within their own ranks but may also go unnoticed if the employees in question don’t show that they have what it takes. If you’ve been working at the same company for 5 years without getting a promotion (not counting this recessionary period), then something could be wrong. Are you seeing less talented colleagues get ahead of you and wonder why? Your boss may have trouble remembering your name and you don’t understand why he/she always seems to be surrounded by other people. Believe it or not, any time could be the perfect time to get that promotion if you know what to do.

job promotion, get promoted

How To Get Promoted At Work

How do you plan to get ahead? Here are a few suggestions that may help you:

  1. Become the best at what you do. While the idea is not new, many employees are too busy trying to avoid the pink slip that has affected some of their colleagues. If your mind is set on fear (of being unemployed), you won’t be able to function properly and your performance may be affected. The worst case scenario? Your fear may become self-fulfilling and may eventually lead to job loss. So do your best to stay positive even during these trying times.
  2. Socialize. No, I don’t mean going to the clubs till the wee hours of the morning; I’m actually referring to networking at the workplace. No matter how you feel about your colleagues and your boss, take advantage of any social opportunities to show them the kind of person you really are. Be yourself, keep up the energy, and stay positive.
  3. Act like the CEO. Of course, be mindful that you don’t come on too strong either; instead, try to acquire in-depth knowledge of what your company faces in the market place. For instance, find out which government regulations affect your operations and obtain detailed information about the competition. It doesn’t matter where you stand in the company hierarchy. Thinking like an executive — as someone whose professional life depends on the success or failure of the business — can also be self-fulfilling! Hopefully, your efforts and talent won’t go unnoticed for long.
  4. Show leadership skills. Whatever your task, show management that you have what it takes to tackle bigger jobs. Offer suggestions after analyzing every circumstance carefully. Just be careful not to upstage or offend your superiors by exhibiting any of them as incompetent. Also, watch out if someone tries to take credit for your accomplishments, since this does happen more often than not. Inform a superior who’s supportive of you at work about any concerns you have.
  5. Let them know. “Believe it or not, you’ll have to ask for a promotion to actually get promoted.” That may not always be the case, of course, especially in smaller businesses where everybody knows everybody else. But in well-run large companies, top management is always looking for promising prospects, just as baseball scouts look for the next Nolan Ryan in minor leagues.
  6. Learn, learn, learn. The process of learning never ends, contrary to what some of us long-time graduates may imagine. Wouldn’t our diplomas be devalued if we just lie back and let the world get ahead of us? Things change every day and if you’ve got your eye on the big prize, you’d want to know and care about what’s going on around you (at work and in your industry). Things do change on a dime, so it’s good to be on your toes: for example, who would have thought two years ago that AIG would be so grossly mismanaged?
  7. Be humble. Arrogance could be waiting in the background for anyone who obtains their promotion. With human nature as it is, I’m sure you’ve encountered cases of cocky new managers who end up alienating everyone around them in record time. But nobody is better than the rest; some people may have just been luckier, or more political, ambitious, opportunistic and perhaps just a tad bit more prepared. If you are fortunate enough to get promoted, it’s always good to remain humble. Successful CEOs keep in touch with the base to stay connected: I remember the head of a steel conglomerate who was famous for knowing the names of every employee around him, from the lowest to the highest level. He even remembered the names of their children. Needless to say, he was revered by his staff. Then again, there are certain CEOs who remain successful despite being (or because they are?) pompous (check out the lifestyle of a former boss who makes no apologies)!

Good luck on getting that job promotion!

Copyright © 2009 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Writer's Coin August 31, 2009 at 5:42 am

Nice job putting all these tips together! I wrote a whole series on becoming a better employee and mentioned many of these same concepts.
Basically, it comes down to going beyond your duties to show that you’re more than just your current job title.

It means you have to be proactive and make it so they can’t say now when you finally ask for a promotion/raise.

Silicon Valley Blogger August 31, 2009 at 8:40 am

Thanks Writer’s Coin! I wholeheartedly agree. There’s that saying I keep hearing at work that in order to be noticed, you really do need to go “above and beyond”. The thing is, when you’re being compared to your peers at work and to other colleagues, it can be trickier. If everyone is a go-getter where you work, and regularly performs tasks beyond their duties, then the competition for that coveted promotion becomes tighter. What then?

Then again, only certain people have the actual profile to take the next step up. Many coworkers you have may simply be happy doing what they do. So showing that you have the ambition to take on the next rung of the corporate ladder may give you the edge. Are you happy doing the day to day job of the “doer”, “developer” or “operator”, or are you ready to handle a team and manage people? Usually that’s the next step up and that’s what you need to ask yourself if you’re ready to gun for a promotion.

Craig August 31, 2009 at 11:01 am

Along the lines of being the best at what you do, I would expand that onto learning new skills. By learning new skills it gives you an advantage over the next guy when a promotion or raise comes up as your skill set becomes more marketable.

Janie Out of Debt August 31, 2009 at 5:19 pm

Nice tips! I also agree that learning new skills are so important. Staying current in your field and working hard is so important.

Janie Out of Debt

Sherin September 1, 2009 at 5:47 am

I feel it is my time to remember the quote from William Shakespeare “Three Sentences For Getting Success – Know More Than Other : Work More Than Other : Expect Less Than Other”

Kevin@OutOfYourRut September 1, 2009 at 3:28 pm

All good suggestions, but I’d add: Take ownership and be the problem solver. All companies have problems, and it’s the person who can fix them that’s truly indispensible. Most people try to pass the buck when it comes to problems–“yes there’s a problem, but I didn’t cause it”. There seems to be some benefit just to staying out of trouble.

Become a problem solver and even if your company won’t promote you, chances are you coworkers will remember you fondly when they move to other companies, and then you might get a phone call…and the promotion you’ve been hoping for and deserving!

JonatsGonats September 1, 2009 at 8:45 pm

Nice. For any corporate slave to be promoted that person should act with no remorse. Trump down all competition and be the number one. Getting promoted in a corporate world takes cojones. A person will have to act like a CEO have leadership skills and most of all, have the marketing and networking skills to get ahead.

It’s no easy cake to bake. Once all done, you’re simply just an employee nothing more. What’s better is to already save money, start investing and setup your own company and bring change and wealth to people around you.

This is my opinion. I’m not satisfied with being a promoted employee.

Tom @ Canadian Finance Blog September 4, 2009 at 7:44 am

I really like #5. Almost every time I’ve got a promotion or major raise, it’s because I asked for it. Nothing threatening, just a simple “I believe I deserve this because I’m doing this” type of conversation. So far, they’ve always agreed, just needed it pointed out what I had accomplished.

Igor September 11, 2009 at 7:18 am

Very valuable tips, thanks.
To add, I’d like also to share some ideas concerning promotion: if it goes about promotion, a serious one, it needs to get estimated why you need promotion, which factors it is made up of? Which priorities you have? Say, the very status increase is important to you, or, suppose, you are waiting for the salary increase. Maybe, you’re targeted at broadening of the functional duties, e.g., you worked with key accounts, now you’re experienced enough to coach and share your experience with the stuff? Or maybe you are eager to get the larger area of responsibility? Or you just want to be called in some other – proud and dignified way (unfortunately, vanity is also possible…)? Anyway, whatever it can be, any manager or director, if he is experienced enough, will try to analyze and unscramble what YOU personally need and is it really concordant with your skills and ambitions. Promotion by its essence is made up of these factors.

Igor September 11, 2009 at 7:19 am

If it goes, for instance, about promotion to some managing position, then team-oriented specialists are more in favor (as the author fairly mentioned about one head of steel conglomerate, who remembered the names of all his subordinates). And finally, if you still fit the higher position, but for some reason cannot be promoted, maybe it makes sense to look for another job? Anyway, if you’re a valuable specialist, the company will try to motivate you.

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