Tips on how to get your next promotion
You’ve been in your job role for a while, you know you’re good at what you do, and you think it’s time that your bosses recognised your achievements with a promotion. That sounds simple enough but it’s unlikely that you’re the only person in your organisation feeling the same way, and you have no idea how your employers are going to respond to your promotion request.
Getting a promotion isn’t dependent on any single aspect of your work; your experience, your problem-solving ability and your fit with others all help build up the picture your colleagues have of you. You need to make sure you cover every one of these aspects when preparing for a promotion. Our best tips for a promotion take a multifaceted approach and will, hopefully, ensure that your hard work get the results you want when the opportunity presents itself.
Preparing for a promotion
- Am I more likely to get a promotion if people like me?
- What is the difference between likeability and ingratiation?
- How can I hit the right level of self-promotion?
- Can online study help me get a promotion?
The important thing to remember is that you can only be yourself. Pretending to be someone you’re not will only lead to disappointment and stress. Having said that, from time to time, we all benefit from a bit of self-improvement, and looking carefully at the way we do things and react to people can have a big impact on how other people (including bosses) see us. Here are a few key questions and answers about preparing for a promotion.
1. Am I more likely to get a promotion if people like me?
Nobody is liked by everybody but in the workplace, it is important to make sure that the people who are likely to offer you a promotion enjoy being around you. You don’t need a complete personality change to achieve this, simply remember that we generally want to work with people who are a good fit; in other words, we enjoy being with people who are similar to us. By finding out more about your employers and the company culture they’ve developed, you’ll be more able to align your behaviour with theirs.
2. What is the difference between likeability and ingratiation?
As with everything related to human behaviour, there’s a fine line between getting this right enough to lead to promotion and wrong enough to leave you disappointed. Ingratiation is the irritating side of likeability and is the result of trying to over manipulate a situation or person in order to achieve goals. One of our best tips for a promotion would be to learn to recognise when behaviours, designed to help you fit in, end up being over the top and have the opposite effect. Flattery is a great example, there is no harm in saying, ‘Well done,’ even to your boss, but save it for times when there has been an easily recognisable achievement. If you find yourself telling him or her every day that they’re great, you’re probably over doing it.
3. How can I hit the right level of self-promotion?
Self-promotion is a necessary evil when it comes to getting yourself noticed by your employers. Most of us prefer being around people who don’t shout their achievements from the rooftops but keeping your successes quiet is hardly going to improve your promotion prospects. Another of the great tips for a promotion is to learn how to shout quietly. Actions such as sharing knowledge, making valuable contributions to meetings, coming up with innovative ideas and offering to help others out, are unlikely to annoy (unless you go over the top with them) but will ensure that your main assets, i.e. your character and your skills, are out there to be appreciated.
4. Can online study help me get a promotion?
The answer to this question is a definite ‘yes’. Anything you do that shows how willing you are to give time and effort to improving the way you do your job is going to impress your employers. Online study demonstrates this but has the added benefit of improving your skill set and placing you above the workplace competition when it comes to qualifications. Another advantage of online study is that it’s available at all qualification levels. Take Upskilled’s range of administration and business courses for example, you can take advantage of flexible study options from Certificate II level all the way up to Bachelor Level.
Presenting your argument
- When should I ask for a promotion?
- How do I plan for presenting in a promotion?
- How do I compare myself to other employees?
Unfortunately, most promotions don’t fall into our laps and we often have to take the bold step of asking for them. This can be nerve-wracking because, as soon as you ask the ‘promotion’ question, you’re putting yourself out there to be examined. Here are a few top tips for presenting in a promotion.
1. When should I ask for a promotion?
The timing of your promotion request is important but also a case of using your common sense. Don’t ask your boss for a promotion meeting when the whole company is working flat out and don’t ask too soon after you start with an organisation. You need to give yourself time to build up a portfolio (this can be physical or online) of achievement within that company. When it comes to timing, one of the best tips for a promotion request is to build it in with your performance review. This makes sense because you, and your achievements will already be at the forefront of your employer’s mind.
2. How do I plan for presenting in a promotion?
Taking notes in to a promotion meeting can be a great way of combatting nerves and demonstrating how seriously you take your promotion prospects. You may find that just having the notes with you improves your performance, if you don’t need them however, make sure they’re visible, as your level of preparation will give a clear, positive signal to your employers. Your promotion planning notes should include: your achievements so far, the specific position you would like to take on and examples of how you’ve already proved yourself capable in areas relevant to this position. You should also include any key company facts or figures in your notes.
3. How do I compare myself to other employees?
The quick answer to this question is, ‘don’t!’ There are lots of ways to promote yourself and your achievements without referring to the weaknesses of others. We all have weaker areas and you can guarantee that your bosses will already know about your colleagues’ flaws. They will know yours too so be prepared to admit to them and suggest solutions. Nobody likes a big head and leadership is far more about encouraging the best in others than making something of their faults.
Following up and being promoted
- How should I respond if I don’t get the promotion I wanted?
- How should I respond if my promotion request is successful?
Whether you’re successful in your promotion request or not, the way you deal with the result will have a significant impact on the impression your colleagues (including your bosses) have of you. There are two possible results to a promotion request but hundreds of different possible responses. We give a few tips for a promotion, whether you get it or not.
1. How should I respond if I don’t get the promotion I wanted?
The first things to remember here is that it’s fine to be disappointed if you don’t get the result you want. An important measure of a person, however, is how they respond in times of disappointment, and your bosses will be watching out for this. It may be that they are planning to give your request another airing in six month’s time, be mindful of this and don’t do anything to spoil any good impressions you have made during your time with the company so far and during the meeting you’ve just had. Thank them for their time and then give yourself space before you formulate a response. When you do respond, mention specific improvement points and ask for opportunities, maybe training or project involvement that will help you develop in those areas.
2. How should I respond if my promotion request is successful?
Remember your manners and say thank you. Humility in this situation is far more likely to impress than appearing big headed (even if you were certain you deserved your new role). Before you finally accept the promotion, give yourself time to check that you are happy with the new role and your conditions of employment. Think carefully about the challenges you’re about to face and recognise where you’ll need to ask for help. Think as well about the relationships you’ve already formed with your peers; they’ll have played a part in your success and you’ll need to be sensitive both when you tell them about your new role and as you move into it. If you work from a position of respect for everyone with whom you work, you’re likely to earn respect and support back.
If you genuinely feel like you deserve it, then you should ask for a promotion. Promotions form a key part of career plans and, once you have properly prepared, asking for a promotion is a great way to bring yourself to the attention of your employers. For more help with making a career plan, download our free Career Guide on this page.