You already have a career in an industry or company that’s enjoyable and rewarding. Or, you might want to completely change your career. You envision yourself in the near the future advancing into a role with increased responsibility, a better title, and a higher salary. What steps can you take to help turn your dreams into reality? Follow these steps to earn a promotion and you’ll find yourself presented with more opportunities than you imagined.
Choose a solid career path. In order to be a strong candidate in the eyes of a hiring manager, your career trajectory should make sense. Write it down.
- Identify 1-3 target roles. They should be roles that experience and duties in your current role have already prepared you for.
- Research variations of the role job descriptions and salary ranges in order to ensure that when you are hired into your target role, you will be satisfied with the general scope of duties and pay.
- If you are not currently in a role that would typically lead into one of your target roles, you may want to consider a lateral move into a position that will provide you with experience that’s needed for your target roles. Alternatively, you may want to take training or certification courses that will add relevance in your qualifications to those required for your target roles.
Brand and market yourself appropriately, to the right people, in the right places.
- Always be ready for an interview. Study interview questions and testing commonly used during selection of candidates for the jobs you’re interested in. Have stories of your past achievements memorized in order to be prepared to answer situational questions. Thoroughly research any company that you are interested in or invited to interview at. This way, you’ll be able to demonstrate through your interview conversation that you have taken the time to find out how you can be an asset to the company if selected. Practice mock-interviewing with someone that can coach you if possible.
- Ensure that all of your social media posts, pictures, and activity portray you in a way that is suitable for the workplace. Many employers investigate potential candidates through social media before even deciding to schedule an interview. It’s best if your social media profiles don’t reflect opinions regarding sensitive social issues, put your personal life on display, or show you in attire or situations that could affect your employment or others’ ability to respect you and your professional efforts.
- Write a resume and cover letter that fits your target roles. You may need a slightly different version of your cover letter and resume for each role. Your resume(s) should highlight your specific skills, experience, education or other qualifications that will be needed for each target role. Be prepared to tweak your resume for different jobs you find posted. This will take extra effort and time, but it will also benefit you as it will cause you to be selective and careful to apply only for jobs that you are truly a fit for.
- Familiarize yourself with common terminology, practices, and other aspects of your target roles. Different lines of business and even levels of business tend to have their own mini-cultures. Hiring managers often consider candidates more seriously if they seem like they already belong, or will easily fit in.
- Become acquainted with people that already hold the kinds of positions you desire. Network with recruiters that specialize in your industry and hiring managers for these types of positions.
Have a positive, can-do attitude no matter where you are or what you’re doing. There’s always someone watching you, even if you don’t see them. And if by chance no one’s watching you, you’ll need it to persevere until you achieve your goals.
- Know that your job description is most likely not an exhaustive list of all of your job duties. Be flexible and eager to learn and take on new tasks in order to grow your knowledge and value in your current as well as future roles.
- Remove phrases like “I don’t know” and “Nobody told me” from your vocabulary. Replace them with phrases like “I will get the answer and get right back to you” or”Thanks for the information; now I know what to do”. Promotions are often given to people that are resourceful, proactive, and hold themselves accountable.
- Treat all people with the same respect regardless of their title in work or life. Be sincere, be humble. People that are highly ethical are likewise highly promotable.
- If you ever need to give criticism or address an unfavorable situation, do so in a constructive manner. Being positive does not mean not to speak up when there is a problem. Your ability to offer helpful solutions can be a determining factor in whether or not you will be seen as ready to go the next level in your career.
Set goals, evaluate your own performance, and make adjustments as needed.
- Establish a reasonable time frame within which you’d like to earn your promotion. If you’re like most people and depending upon the kind of promotion you’re aiming for, you might spend months, even a year or more, working toward it.
- Schedule at least 7 hours weekly (a minimum of 1 hour per day) for focusing on training or other self-improvements, networking, and job searching. Take note of responses or a lack thereof to your job applications and interviews. Solicit feedback regarding attempts that don’t result in offers whenever possible.
- Don’t give up. Rejection and disappointments may be hard to swallow at first. Unless you are offered the first position you apply for, you will not avoid them during this process. Don’t take them personally; the job that’s right for you will come at the right place and time, and you have to keep trying.
A great part of your success will be the self-discovery and character building that come with the overall experience. Let the journey not only lead you to the job you want but try to learn from every step of it.