So, you’ve been in your role for a while and you feel it’s time for you to move up in the company. You hit the point where your current role is becoming routine and you feel unfulfilled. You’re being a rockstar at your job, hitting all your numbers, and you want others to notice. You know it’s time for that promotion you rightfully deserve.
However, you don’t feel right asking for one. Either you are too shy (we’ve been there!), too scared, or don’t feel close enough to ask your manager for the promotion.
Don’t you wish your hard work and dedication could speak for itself and you could magically be awarded that promotion? Well, it might not be magical, but you can earn that promotion you deserve, and you won’t have to ask anyone for it.
This one is a no-brainer, but it matters. And it needs to be said. Millennials have this stigma as people who don’t work hard in the workplace, and oftentimes, it’s for good reason. Maybe hard work is a lost art, but it doesn’t take that much more energy to put everything you have into something rather than 50% of what you have into something.
Why would you show up to work everyday if you don’t want to put everything you have into it? For one, that makes for really long and boring days. Two, oftentimes your work reputation is the only reputation others may know of you. If you’re not seen positively at work, you may never be seen positively outside the workplace again.
So, take pride in your work. Don’t show up late. Don’t wear sloppy clothes. Tie up all the loose edges of your reports. Be the person who others notice (in a good way!)
This might not come as a shock to you, but it helps if you make yourself so needed and so ingrained in work that your coworkers can’t imagine working without you there. This isn’t to say that you need to be overbearing and get your nose into too many areas.
Essentially, find the areas that you can make yours. If not entirely yours, make it so you’re the best and most versed in a certain process that it wouldn’t make sense for anyone to turn somewhere else for answers.
Don’t Take on Too Much
This might sound counter-intuitive, but don’t say yes to every opportunity that comes your way. If your boss is asking for someone to take on a project, think hard about your workload first. Think about if this is something you can challenge yourself with or if it’s just going to cause headache. Don’t be afraid to shy away from a project that you couldn’t juggle with your current workload or a project that wouldn’t work for you.
There is nothing wrong with taking on new projects – please do! – but don’t ever overextend yourself to the extent that you can’t get everything done. Find something challenging enough, but make sure you can perform it with the quality you would perform the rest of your workload.
Don’t be the person who is going to take on “one more thing” because you have the time now, unless you know it’s sustainable for you. If you constantly find yourself working more hours than those around you, it’s not a problem if it’s not affecting your personal life or health. However, don’t burn yourself out. Eventually you will begin to resent your work if you’re taking on too much, and the passion and motivation needed to excel will be gone.
Find Flaws in Current Systems – or Create an Entirely New One
I’m sure whatever field you’re in is using either an outdated process or a flawed one. Maybe you realize something is taking significantly longer than it should. Or you realize that you’re doing the same thing as someone else and your efforts can be consolidated. Think about how you can improve that process. Even if it’s something small and seemingly insignificant. A good manager will take your improvements as initiative and maybe bring more processes your way.
You might work in a highly-regulated field where processes are tight and change isn’t allowed. Think about how to do something your own way. Think about the most effective way to organize your file folders. Optimize whatever process you do often and be proud of it. Whatever you can do to result in a time or money savings for your company, and you’re on the right track.
If you pray in nearly all aspects of your life, then why wouldn’t you bring God into your career, too? You’d be surprised at God’s timing.
My husband was in grad school and we were both living on my entry level salary. We lived (and still live) rather frugally, and we were paying all the bills and making ends meet. We knew, however, that we didn’t have much wiggle room for any emergencies. So of course, my car broke down. It wasn’t just one time, but several. Each time more expensive than the last. The amount we were paying each month in repairs just to keep it running was significantly more than a car payment would be, and over the course of just a few months, we had paid more in repairs than we paid for the car itself.
So I prayed. I needed something to happen so that we had a reliable vehicle, but we had used up the last of our savings. We didn’t have the money for one, and we definitely didn’t have the money to keep fixing the money pit. A few days before my I-have-to-ask-for-a-promotion-today-or-we’ll-be-living-on-the-streets day, my boss told me I was being promoted. It was 100% perfect timing. None of it would have been possible without God, and I’m so thankful I brought Him into my work life.
And that’s how it should always be. That situation was an excellent reminder to me that I oftentimes leave God at home. But if you’re going through a rough time at work or you’re looking for something positive to happen, seek guidance in Him. Pray. He’ll help you in ways you never imagine. His timing is always perfect.
Improve Your Knowledge
You can’t expect to get a promotion if you are still the exact same person who was hired in the first place. You have to keep on expanding your knowledge. Some easy ways to stay on top of your field include:
- Find blogs and thought leaders in your industry, and subscribe to them. Take a few minutes each day to scan through the daily posts to make sure you’re staying atop industry trends. If you have more time, dive deep into the posts that interest you. Turn a few of those topics into areas you’d like to master, and run with them.
- Sign up for free education courses. Webinars can be the best form of education for you in whatever skills you’d like to acquire. They cover a multitude of topics. Or, you can search places like lynda.com, codeacademy.com, etc. that have more specific training in certain areas.
- Search Google. You’d be surprised what you can find about topics just by digging through Google. Take some time to search Google for terms or processes you’d like to know more about. Know that all sources might not be reputable or helpful, but they could also help you round out your knowledge.
Some Final Notes on Promotions
If it takes a while, don’t lose heart. It may take several months to receive a promotion after you feel you are ready for one.
Sometimes, there just isn’t a promotion to give. Don’t give up. Don’t decide you’re suddenly going to slack off because you can’t move up.
If you really feel like it’s a promotion or nothing, it might be time to move on. Think seriously about if you want to make that move.
If All Else Fails, Ask
Sometimes, you really do have to ask. Sometimes your manager doesn’t notice your hard work or that you want to move up. If you don’t feel okay asking outwardly for a promotion, ask for something smaller first. Ask to be the lead on a project, or to take over the next presentation. Make it very known you want to be in charge of more and want to take on more work. Sometimes, it takes that kind of questioning for your manager to realize you are promotion material.
What have you done to help you get promoted?