There are two ways of making yourself stand out from the crowd. One is by having a job so big you can go home before the bell rings if you want to. The other is by finding so much to do that you must stay after the others have gone. The one who enjoys the former once took advantage of the latter.
One important question you must ask yourself before considering a promotion is whether the needs of the higher role fit with your lifestyle and with how far you are willing to go for a job. As the famous saying goes, “With great power comes great responsibility.” A higher position within the organization might mean the need to work longer hours, under more stress.
A key factor in landing a promotion is the employee-boss relationship. You must make it clear that you are ready to take on a promotion, first by behaving as if you were already at the next level.
Talking with your boss is a good step to take. Make sure you convey your desire and need for support. The perfect moment to do this is during a performance appraisal.
HR consultant and author Christina Osborne describes in her book “Managing Your Boss” how employees must review the opportunities for internal promotion with their boss, and ask for help in facilitating the move. Osborne also recommends to “network with people who could be useful when you are promoted.”
Once you have gathered all the pertinent information, it is time to take concrete action, which means you must be prepared.
The following are some tips to prepare you in your path to getting a promotion:
- Prepare for change: Get in touch with people who have been successfully promoted in the organization and note common factors among them. Osborne suggests asking about the easiest and most difficult parts of the process.
- Up your skills: Career expert Heather R. Huhman recommends showing your employer your commitment to a future within the company. This can be done by investing in professional development courses and other industry specific training programs. If you are unsure as to which skills are required in the position you are seeking, and which specific skills are your weakness, Osborne suggests you listen carefully to feedback given by colleagues and managers about your current competencies and those needed for a promotion. It is crucial to up your skills, as they are the basis for being considered for a new position. If you are able to offer something that is currently lacking at your desired level, you are putting yourself ahead of the competition.
- Be patient: As companies bounce back from the recession, hiring is expected to increase this year, though not in every industry. This requires employees to be patient about getting a pay raise or a promotion. Even as you make your best effort, some things are out of your hands. The situation might change in the near future, so never stop giving your best and showing that you are worth the higher role.
- Ask for more: Huhman suggests employees show their readiness for a promotion by taking on more responsibility. “Ask for—and volunteer for—more tasks and projects, especially those that correspond with your desired post-promotion position.” Show you are able to handle more responsibilities while also succeeding at it.
Interviewing for a promotion
Before being promoted, you will likely go through a hiring process similar to that of being hired for the first time. It will have its variations, but the key during this process is the interview.
Prior to the interview, research who else is being considered for the position. Are there outside applicants or only internal candidates? Which departments are they coming from? Make an assessment of their strengths and weaknesses and apply the same assessment to yourself. This will allow you to point out your advantages during the interview (which doesn’t mean you have to point down at someone in particular in order to highlight yourself).
During the interview, remember the interviewer might not know about all your past achievements. Osborne says “this is not the time to be modest – you need to state what your strengths are and cite successful projects.”
Also, remember the importance of asking questions during the interview. Because this is an interview for a promotion, you should show your knowledge of the company, and the questions must be specific and go deeper into the role’s characteristics.
Osborne suggests you ask questions such as:
- What major challenges do you anticipate in the next year?
- What are the key success factors in this job?
- What qualities are you looking for in the person who will perform this job?
- What opportunities are there to gain further development or qualification?
I feel that the greatest reward for doing is the opportunity to do more.
Next step: Success
If you get the promotion, think about it not as a lucky strike, but rather as a merit-based achievement. Now it’s time to prove yourself. You might want to devise an outline of what you should do during the first few months on the new job. You could begin by finding out what the person occupying the position before you was like, and how much more you can bring to the team.
Taking on a promotion is an important step in everyone’s career. Regardless of whether the move seems minor or if it is a big jump, it will definitely require more responsibilities, as well as provide more and better professional development opportunities. Start the new position with the certainty that you were chosen because of your achievements. This will provide you with a boost of confidence and drive you to succeed in your new role.
Osborne, C. 2003. Managing your Boss. Dorling Kindersley. United States.