Whichever career that you choose, one of your aims is to get noticed, to be appreciated, and for that appreciation to turn into promotions and pay rises as you apply yourself to your work.
While hard work alone is enough to earn you a promotion – as is time spent on the job – there are plenty of tricks to the trade that can help you achieve promotions a little quicker, if you’re prepared to invest a little more in your career.
Here are some of the top tips to help you boost your prospects of getting a promotion throughout the course of your long career.
Social and Networking
Being social while at work is essential. Although chatting by the water cooler incessantly is of course a big no-no, if you’re able to steal a few minutes each day to greet your colleagues and managers, and to ask them about their weekend, you’ll establish yourself as a personality in the office. Socializing is also great for team morale, and for showing your leadership qualities – even if you’re only in a junior role, to begin with.
Meanwhile, there’s another side to socializing, and that’s networking. As soon as you enter a professional space, the rules of socializing change subtly, and there are opportunities to establish yourself in the minds of your superiors and those who may grant you a promotion down the line.
So, whether you’re putting in appearances at the end-of-month drinks party, or you’re attending networking events and conferences on behalf of your company, you should always maintain in the back of your mind the opportunities that can come your way from the friendly and professional conversation.
Many employees turn up with a minute to spare before their shift begins and leave a minute after their shift has officially ended. These employees may well be putting in hard work while they’re in the workplace, but they’re unlikely to gain the respect and admiration of managers who are themselves turning up an hour early for work, and leaving an hour late.
If you can apply yourself a little more in the first year of your career – really putting in the hours where it counts – you’ll be seen as driven, reliable, and motivated. These are all good things in the eyes of your superiors.
But putting in extra hours isn’t the only way to perform extra work. You can also approach your colleagues or managers with a request for more responsibilities, and a larger workload, if you’re finding that your job is a little easy. Coasting on the job is bad news for your own professional development, as it leads to complacency and a lack of progress.
Instead, you should be looking to maximize your output while you’re at work – even if that means taking on extra tasks in your working week.
For some senior roles, it’s imperative that you get the educational experience to qualify as a manager or a consultant. Education is necessary for a number of different roles throughout the job market – as you’ll see when you are searching through job listings between jobs.
Indeed, the qualifications that you can get from high-ranking universities can often appear to be the golden ticket into far better jobs, with far higher wages, than those that you’re currently able to qualify for.
As such, education should form the backbone of your career. While you may already have an undergraduate degree, now is the time to search for further education to supplement your resume and to give you new skills that will earn you the promotions that you’re searching for.
You can access the University of Exeter’s online courses – in postgraduate studies, as well as undergraduate courses – as an example of the myriad opportunities or self-development that are out there for the ambitious few who see education as a gateway to a fulfilled career. Click here for more information.
If you’re feeling that you’re undervalued in your company, and that doors are closing around you despite all of the efforts you’re putting into your work from day to day, then you might find that you’d benefit immensely from taking yourself back to the job market and looking for a better role in a different company.
Sideways career moves often secure individuals’ higher wages, and better positions, and should always be on your radar if you feel unfulfilled in your current position. That said, you shouldn’t make a habit of hopping between companies indiscriminately.
If you perform too many career changes, you’ll find that companies see you as disloyal, and are less likely to invest in you as an employee. As such, timing your career moves is the key to making progress in your career, capturing opportunities for progression when they present themselves around you.
Meetings with Managers
One of the supplementary benefits of looking for other opportunities in the job market is that it provides you with leverage when it comes to your meetings with your managers. If you’re able to tell your managers that you’re coming across roles that pay more than what you’re currently paid, and you’re qualifying to interview with these companies, you’ll be better placed to secure promotion from your company.
They’ll come to realize you’re a valuable asset that other companies could tempt away. Even without this leverage, though, you should nonetheless be scheduling meetings, every few months, to receive feedback on your work, and to talk about the possibility for career progression.
In some of these meetings, you’ll actively pitch yourself for the promotion of a pay rise, and you’ll have prepared a short dialogue that you intend to use to persuade your manager to offer you a higher salary or a more senior position. It’s in these meetings that promotions are often offered – so be assertive, and take your chances, in order to get promotions in this way.
Managers are a one-part leader, one-part worker. That means that they’re responsible for leading a team and making decisions on their behalf, as well as completing more senior tasks within their company, too.
Those former skills – in leadership and decision-making – are often the skills that you need to develop in your career in order to be considered for a promotion. That’s because, elsewhere, you’re producing impressive work that’s certainly managerial level.
As such, you need to concentrate on your ability to lead groups of people in your career. There are plenty of avenues that you can choose to go down in order to learn how to lead – including sports teams, small gatherings, and even units within your workplace. In all these cases, you’ll begin to pick up the skills necessary to support your pitch to become a senior manager in the future.
Empathy and Emotion
While emotion can be a little taboo in the workplace, and your professional personality should never slip while you’re in the workplace, you should also endeavor to help those around you when you see that they are struggling. Colleagues can struggle for a number of reasons – be that personal difficulty, a lack of sleep, or difficulty completing their work on time.
As this pressure builds up, it can cause difficulties in an office space which can disrupt your work and leave your colleagues feeling terrible. If you’re able to nurture an empathetic and kind professional persona – and you’re able to spot issues as they arise within your team – you’ll be respected as a caring individual who is out to help your whole team succeed.
This comes across exceptionally well in the workplace, where ruthless individualism can only get you so far. Building alliances with your colleagues, through mutual support, can help you find yourself recommended for promotions in the future.
Above and Beyond
Mentioned above is the responsibility to turn up to work early, and to leave late, in order to show that you’re willing to go above and beyond in your current role. That’s certainly one way of showing that you’re willing to do extra work to secure the success of your company.
But there are numerous other ways in which you can go ‘above and beyond’ in your output of work. It’s simple gestures, that show just how much thought you’re putting into your professional life, which can make a big difference when you’re being considered for a promotion.
So, whether you’re ensuring your email manner is polite, professional and grammatically correct every time, or you’re bringing in treats for your team to enjoy at lunchtime, it’s important that you’re always devising new ways of making your workplace happier and more vibrant.
Combine your empathy and your social skills to ensure that you’re a key member of your team and that you’re greatly appreciated for what you bring to the table each week.
Taking the Initiative
Managers absolutely love employees who take the initiative, and who don’t ask for guidance about how they should perform their tasks. There can be nothing more gratifying, to a manager under pressure, than approaching a member of staff with a task, only to find that that member of staff has already performed it, preempting their request.
When you’re working from week to week, you shouldn’t just focus on the task at hand. You should try, also, to look at the big picture in order to continue to impress your colleagues and your managers with your intuition and initiative.
Whether this means you’re filing documents on the shared drive in order for all staff members to easily access them, or you’re linking individuals into important email chains, a little intuition goes a long way when you’re searching for a promotion in your career.
In the workplace, there are a number of essential skills that all employees must possess. For instance, you need to be able to process a document on a computer, to use email accounts, and to compile spreadsheets. There will be no one in your office who doesn’t have this base layer of skills and a few more specific skills on top of them.
But there are also a great number of unexpected skills that your managers will be delighted to find that you have. Perhaps a deaf individual comes into your office – it’s incredibly useful to have someone who can perform basic sign language to help them communicate.
Or, maybe your office needs a new fire marshal or first aid representative – if you’re already qualified in these areas of expertise, your managers will love you for taking that headache off their hands. There are countless other examples through which your special skills will entitle you to promotions and success down the line.
Every office needs a social coordinator in order for events such as the Christmas party, and other social gatherings, to get organized. Often, this is left to the last minute, and staff members don’t take responsibility for their parties in enough time to book a great venue, or to guarantee a wonderful event with all of their colleagues.
The solution to this problem is to have a ‘social secretary’ – usually informally – to help set up workplace events. If you’re a social kind of person, this is a role you should step into with confidence. If you’re able to think of fun and exciting outings for your team – and there are dozens to choose from – you’ll be able to impress your managers, and your colleagues, with events that bring your whole team together in laughter and merriment.
You’ll come out of these events looking even more valuable to your company, boosting morale and making time for the enjoyment of everyone.
Patience and Good Faith
If you’re able to perform even half of the tips outlined above, you should place yourself in front of the queue for when the next promotion arises. Ultimately, then, there is an element of patience in your career progression. You cannot find yourself promoted every few months.
Instead, you should wait, in good faith, for the email to come through requesting that all-important meeting about your promotion. Patience is the final tip to help you get promoted, and to be appreciated, within your company.
The many tips outlined above should be read as gentle guidance to help you find ways to earn promotions in the future, building a professional profile of respect within your company.