I like the idea of always reaching; always striving for more and bettering yourself. As soon you stop setting your sights high, you plateau and stagnate – professionally, personally, totally.
Continuous self improvement isn’t about taking what you already have for granted, nor is it characteristic of someone who never feels content or settled – those are different things altogether. We live in a constantly evolving world; technologies are advancing every day, we’re growing older by the minute and in some ways, the future we always look to is here right now (if you consider yesterday’s mentality). Change is hard to swallow sometimes, but as it’s inevitable we might as well own it by adapting and planning for it on our own terms!
Now to the promotion bit. If you spot an opportunity to move your career to the next level and your personal circumstance allows it, why not give it all you’ve got? You’ve got to be at work for some 40 hours a week anyway, if the option to make more money and hold more responsibility exists, why not go for it? Giving things a go is the only way to discover and harness your true potential!
Great – so you’ve earmarked a promotion opportunity, now what?
Understand the requirements
It’s crucial to do bit of digging to understand what the new role entails, and what sort of person / skills is needed to fill it. If it’s not a new role per se, rather a level-based promotion you’re staring down the barrel of, you need to fully understand what the new responsibilities will be. Knowing that you’ll get a new title or bigger pay cheque isn’t enough information. Just as you would if you were applying for a brand new role with a different organisation, you need to to gather as much knowledge as possible in order to qualify whether the role is desirable and right for you.
Nail your current job
Now you know what it’s going to take to get the promotion, stop and assess your current situation. Are you a suitable candidate for the promotion? If you want to step up to the next level, you need to be 100% confident you are nailing your current role. There’s no point adding more work to your plate (in the form of a bigger role) if you are already struggling with your existing workload. Before you throw your hat in the ring, qualify yourself as an applicant first – would you give you the promotion if you were your boss? If the answer is yes, then back yourself all the way!
Express your interest
Sometimes you will be invited to contend for a promotion, however in other cases it might be appropriate for you to make the first move and formalise your interest. You could look into writing a promotion letter or having a meeting with the correct decision maker. Either way, you need to put your hand up and be on peoples’ radars. Don’t simply assume you’ll automatically be considered for the opening.
Who inside your organisation could be a mentor for you? If your manager isn’t the final decision maker, can you ask them for a couple of one-to-one sessions to help you nut out a roadmap to get you that promotion? Are there more senior people in your office who you could learn a thing or two from? Perhaps there is someone in your wider network (not necessarily a colleague) who could provide some advice and guidance to put you in great stead for stepping up the next level.
Go the extra mile
You’ve heard it all before. If you want to do well in your job you need to do more than the bare minimum. This is especially true for promotion applicants. This is the perfect time to get in early, join internal committees, up skill yourself, volunteer and get involved in extra-curricular corporate activities. Give everything you’ve got to your company – you don’t have to go full-throttle forever, but you’ve got to show you’re serious, fully invested and committed. Holding back will only result in major regret when you don’t get the promotion. Avoid singing, “shoulda, woulda, coulda’.
Don’t slag off the competition
Finally, always remember that promotions aren’t politics. Don’t sign up for a Trump/Clinton-style showdown. Trying to bring your colleagues or other applicants down will only reflect badly on you and make you bitter.
May the best employee get promoted!