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Eyeing That Promotion

25th Feb 2015


I know you've heard it a thousand times before and it seems a bit cliche, but it’s true – hard and smart work pays off. If you want to be good, you have to practice, practice, practice. If you don't love something, then don't do it!

Getting a promotion doesn’t happen like it used to. There was a time when simply longevity was a pretty good pre-cursor to the fact that you’d at some point be offered a promotion. Today in a more competitive and evolved employment landscape, there is thankfully an appreciation that longevity and performance do not necessarily go hand-in-hand.

How do you distinguish yourself?

To get a promotion you must be prepared to work for it. There are a lot of other competent employees competing with you. How do you distinguish yourself and stand out in a crowd of ambitious colleagues?

Preparing for your next promotion shouldn’t start when the job listing is posted nor should moving to the next step be taken for granted. You need a strategy.

  • Start early – You should start preparing for your promotion the first day you walk through the door. You might think your manager or director is too busy to notice your daily performance but they’re paying more attention than you think. Don’t suddenly think you can start impressing the minute a new job posting is announced.

  • Stay humble - Whilst many employers will want to see you operating at the next level to justify a promotion, there are occasions when you won’t be able to gain skills or experience until you’re physically in the new position. When this is the situation you need to think laterally and seek exposure or you need to recognise that there will be gaps and talk to your employer to put together a growth strategy. Remember, people are likely to work harder at something they want to get absolutely right, as opposed to coming to the position with all the skills, and just sailing along.

  • Talk to people – You may find it useful to engage the use of a coach, mentor or business sponsor. Each has a slightly different focus but all will help you by talking through your strategies and thoughts as well as providing an objective sounding board for whether you’re really ready for that promotion.

  • Dare to be bold – Consistently present yourself in the way you want to be perceived and be consistent in your commitment to getting what you want. Asking for a promotion and getting turned down should only make you want it more, you shouldn’t be dismayed. Ask for feedback, set goals and timelines. If it’s worth working for, then work for it!

  • Expectations – All of these things will help set you apart if you’re perhaps competing with colleagues of the same level. Be realistic, if it’s never going to work for you, it may be time to consider opportunities outside of your current company.

Hard and smart work distinguishes character. Some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all. If you believe in what you are doing, then let nothing hold you back. Much of the best work of the world has been done against seeming impossibilities. The thing is to get the work done, at the end of the day.