Feeling restless in your current position and eager to move up? Want to do so without shameless self-promotion?
We all know the importance of doing more than expected and doing it exceptionally well to get noticed. But there’s more to getting promoted than that. Sure, going above and beyond is a great start, but there are several other factors at play you ought to consider when looking to advance your career:
1. Find your passion
Why do you want a promotion? The added benefits? Or do you believe you have something special that position needs?
Take pride in what you do — even in the most mundane of tasks. Take pride in yourself and your company. If you can’t do that, then reconsider that promotion, because frankly, you don’t deserve it.
2. Stay positive
Don’t complain about your projects, your clients or your colleagues (including the higher-ups).
A good rule to follow is to refrain from complaining about your job in general. Even if you’re assigned to work on a tedious task or with a grating client, maintain a positive attitude. Though it can be tough to look on the bright side of things when you’re frustrated with a project, look at it as a worthwhile challenge to overcome to the sake of your promotion.
Why would anyone want to promote you if you seem to hate the job you’re doing now? People want to be surrounded by those with good, positive energy. Prove to your manager that you actually want to be there.
3. Turn negative feedback to your advantage
Instead of getting defensive when given negative feedback, reflect on it. Criticism is the best advice you can get.
While we would all prefer to hear good things about our work all the time, it doesn’t push us to improve. Instead, we tend to get complacent and comfortable with where we are. That’s not a good place to be for very long. So use that criticism to grow, no matter how negative it may seem.
4. Expand your skill set
Constantly challenge yourself to take on tasks for which you lack experience. View those challenges as opportunities. Use every task as a way to grow on a personal level and to develop new skills.
If you fail, you still learn something, even if that something is what not to do next time. But if you do excel, it demonstrates you’re always getting better. And that drive will get you noticed.
Consider a lateral move to start with — something similar to your current position but in a different department. Gaining experience in other areas of the company will not only help you learn new skills, but expand your contacts and help you better understand your company as a whole.
5. Know your strengths and weaknesses
Would your strengths come in handy if you were given a promotion? Or do you lack the necessary strengths to be successful in a higher position?
Take the time to focus on what you don’t do so well. If you don’t deal with your weaknesses now, it’ll be more difficult to obtain a higher position and succeed in it.
This also demonstrates to your boss that you know how to identify and overcome your weaknesses.
6. Take the initiative
Seek out and volunteer to do work from the next level up. A willingness to take on more responsibility demonstrates to your manager (and you!) that you’re already capable for the position and you’re beginning to outgrow your current one.
7. Don’t constantly play it safe
Test out your ideas and challenge how things are done. Of course, be mindful of the manner in which you go about this.
You need to be respectful and demonstrate that your intention is to make things better. Your risks should aim to improve everyone’s performance and generate results and growth for the company, not just advance your own agenda.
8. Find a mentor
It’s always good to surround yourself with people you admire. Connect with others on your own level or team who possess the attributes you want to emulate.
If possible, connect with someone in a higher position, preferably the level you’re seeking. Gathering their insight and advice will be invaluable in preparing yourself for the job you seek. They can offer you expert (and personalized) advice on how to get the job, how to do the job well and what’s expected.
9. Teach others
Be a mentor yourself. Helping your colleagues improve their performance is an excellent demonstration of your teamwork and collaborative leadership skills.
It also shows that you have expertise to share, the self-confidence to do so and a genuine desire to help others.
10. Don’t expect what you don’t deserve
Finally, be honest with yourself. Do you just expect the job? Or are you putting forth your best effort with your current work? Are you continuously making an effort to get better?
If you simply expect a promotion and aren’t doing everything in your power to expand your skills, demonstrate your desire to learn and take on additional projects, it’s unlikely that promotion will happen anytime soon — or ever.
Greg Bentley is a human resources specialist who has worked for several large-scale companies. When he’s not busy at work fixing the human resources software for a number of helpless staff members, Greg enjoys studying languages and fighting the good fight to keep bad disco dancing alive and well.