If you want to be promoted, it pays to be proactive when working on your developmental edges, and demonstrating the capacities your boss or supervisor wants to promote. Here are 10 bases to touch when you are aiming for a promotion, especially within your organisation.

  1. Work out what role you're aiming for
    If there is a clear next step up the ladder, great. If there isn't, work out which way you want to go, and whether your current organisation offers it or not.

  2. Communicate - let your boss know you'd like the job
    Unless you want your boss' job, let them know your aspirations. Your boss may help you develop effective goals to merit promotion or may help you understand the timeline for or likelihood of your promotion.

  3. Learn what your boss wants and fulfil it
    Have an open conversation with your boss about what you're doing, and how you can improve it to better assist them and the team. Set some clear goals and measurable outcomes together.

  4. Work out who your competitors are
    Think about who you're going up against, and what qualities they have that put them in the running. Are there several people in your firm who are eligible for and interested in the job you want? Who will your boss consider? What is your boss' opinion of these other candidates? Consider what competitive edges you need to work on. Think about what makes you stand entirely apart from your competitors (e.g. a particular professional experience, accreditation, or even network you're a part of).

  5. Be consistent in your demonstration of “promotable” qualities
    Once you have discerned what qualities are considered most "promotion-worthy", develop ways to demonstrate them consistently. For example, if your firm values a more serious-minded and detail-oriented focus among their leaders, think about how you can introduce this into your work and communication style. Wherever possible, introduce behavioural changes in an authentic way.

  6. Know that experience is key
    Experience is one of the leading reasons to promote someone, if not the leading reason. Do you have relevant experience that your boss or those responsible for promotion are unaware of? If so, let them know you have it.

  7. Work on your network
    Knowing the right people and appearing as someone who is well-connected could tip the scales in your favour. Make sure to devote time to networking not only in your organisation and industry, but also outside of them. How much time you devote to networking depends on the industry and job role you're in.

  8. Don't try too hard
    Depending on your particular professional environment, raw ambition may be more or less well-regarded. Equally, if your promotion strategy is advertised too loudly, it might undermine your efforts. This is especially true where behavioural changes aren't integrated authentically.

  9. Liaise with others in your organisation in promotion-worthy ways
    Don't just strive to develop and demonstrate your promotion-worthiness within your team: integrate the capacities you're developing into how you liaise with others in the organisation.

  10. Make it easy for your boss or supervisor to say yes
    Most people will have an overall impression of you based on what they've seen and heard. Think about what your “brand” communicates, and develop it accordingly. Make sure that how you are perceived is consistent with the type of person your boss would like to promote.

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