Have you been applying for a job promotion for years and continue to get knocked back? Don’t leave it to chance any longer. Here are some essential strategies to help you break through.
Getting a job promotion can seem like a stressful and hard-won process, often drawn out over several years.
Many people spend years applying for promotions only to constantly be knocked back and are left wondering what they are doing wrong.
Despite being a high-performing employee, job promotions can seem scarce and, at times, unattainable.
In this post I’m going to share the most effective strategies for getting a job promotion at your current workplace and the pitfalls to avoid. These strategies will also work for obtaining a promotion at other organisations.
This post is about essential strategies to get a job promotion.
Find a mentor (or three)
Ok, if you have ever read any personal or professional development book or guide, mentoring is always mentioned and with good reason.
A mentor is a broad term that refers to someone who is an advisor. A mentor can advise a mentee about navigating a career path, industry or organisation, managing staff, problem-solving, professional development and almost any other work-related challenge you might come across.
A mentor can advise, guide and encourage you and connect you to influential people to broaden your networks.
I like to think of mentors as being able to provide a shortcut to your career goals, such as a job promotion.
Some amazing benefits to having a mentor include:
- Learning about the mistakes others have made and how to avoid them
- Access to an entirely new network of professionals you may not have otherwise been able to access
- Having a confidant to speak to confidentially about problems or issues you’re experiencing
- Receiving unbiased and constructive feedback about your strengths and areas for development
- Providing a different perspective or educated insights about an environment or challenge
- Providing insights and advice about a career path
- Helping you to make good decisions, especially about your future career or business moves
Having a mentor doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve a formal mentoring relationship with that person. A mentor can also be aspirational. There may be someone who you look up to at work, or within your industry, or even a thought leader who has no idea you exist; these people can still be your mentor, even if you never have a chance to meet or speak.
Simply observing someone who is awesome at what they do or has achieved something similar to what you’re working towards can have a powerful mentoring effect. Learning from them and implementing a similar approach can be one of the best (and quickest) ways to achieving your job promotion goals. job promotion gifts.
There are many articles and resources on the benefits of mentoring and how to build a mentoring relationship. I like this one from Indeed.
Get comfortable with feedback (and act on it)
Ok, I get it. Really, I do get it. Not many people like receiving feedback, particularly critical feedback.
It’s awkward, it’s uncomfortable, and it can be downright embarrassing or angering if not delivered appropriately.
However, it’s absolutely essential that you engage with the feedback process if you want a job promotion.
Receiving critical feedback is the most effective and efficient way to understand where you need to focus your professional development efforts to ensure you have the skills to not only win, but do, the job you’re looking to obtain. job promotion gifts.
Regardless of how self-aware we are, we all have a blind spot or two. Feedback is an efficient and effective way to undercover and address blind spots.
Receiving positive feedback is equally important. It can help with recognising your strengths and achievements, and may even draw attention to other skills or strengths you didn’t realise you had!
If you received informed feedback, it’s important to act on it. For example, If you’ve been advised to develop a particular skill that aligns with your career goals, then do it! Ensure you incorporate the feedback you’ve received into your professional development plan.
Learning to discern well-informed feedback from ill-informed feedback is also important. A person who provides you with feedback should have a well-informed view of your work performance and behaviour, and should be able to provide comments that are constructive and balanced.
If not, then it’s worth asking yourself if the feedback you’ve received is worthy of your attention!
Set career goals and develop a career plan for a job promotion
Setting career goals provides a roadmap to your career aspirations and keeps you motivated and accountable along the way.
Setting a career goal, or defining a career mission statement, is so important as it provides overall direction for career/professional development activities, and motivation and accountability to continue to work towards something that’s important to you.
Without articulating a career goal or mission statement, it can be difficult to define an effective action plan to achieve your goals. You can’t have a roadmap to a destination if you don’t know what the destination is!
Therefore, if you’re aiming for a job promotion, setting meaningful career goals is essential.
Need tips on setting career goals? Check out this post: Have you got inspiring career goals? Here’s how to develop them.
If you would like to invest even further in your career development, consider developing a career plan.
A career plan involves mapping the key steps and milestones of your career to provide strategic direction to achieve your career goals. They’re sometimes referred to as a career plan or professional development plan.
A career plan goes way beyond setting SMART goals. It’s a roadmap, not a set-and-forget statement or goal. It can start at the beginning of your career or can be developed at any point in time. job promotion quotes.
For advice about developing a career plan, you might like this post: The ultimate career plan example: everything you need to develop your own career plan!
Tell your manager you want a job promotion
This tip may sound really obvious, but it’s one that’s overlooked by many people.
If you’re aiming for a job promotion, tell your manager!
Being upfront and honest about your career aspirations with your current manager can open many opportunities that you may not otherwise be aware of.
If you’re a valued staff member, a good manager will make efforts to assist with your career development to keep you at their organisation.
Your current manager may be able to assist you to win a job promotion by:
- Providing advice about internal job applications and interview coaching
- Providing advice about your areas for development
- Providing advice about the skills and knowledge needed to do another job successfully (as well as the challenges)
- Connecting you with other, influential people in your organisation
- Providing you with an opportunity to undertake higher duties
Don’t assume your manager knows you would like a job promotion. If you don’t speak up, how are they to know? job promotion congratulations
Perform at the level of your ideal job
Ever heard of the saying ‘Dress for the job you want, not the job you have’?
Well, the same goes for your work performance.
It’s common for job offers to be made to people who’ve already demonstrated they can satisfactorily perform the role. This can be the biggest challenge for people who are looking for a job promotion as it begs the question: how are you meant to demonstrate you can perform a role without being in a role?
The answer is in the work you do and how you do it. Next time you are delegated a task, go above and beyond what’s asked to complete it.
When completing the task, ask yourself: ‘how can I add extra value here?’ or ‘what else might my manager want to see?’ or ‘how can this be improved?’.
Do your best to level-up your work. This can be as simple as improving your information visualisation skills to make your documents, reports or presentations look more appealing.
Note: this doesn’t mean over-delivering on work or working longer hours to impress! It’s about the quality of work you produce, your ability to work autonomously, your ability to anticipate your manager’s requirements, your problem-solving skills etc.
Learn to navigate workplace politics (the right way)
Ah, good, old-fashion workplace politics.
Despite your inclination, you won’t be able to avoid workplace politics as you are promoted, especially into management roles. In most cases, workplace politics are inherently intertwined with the organisation’s culture and are most evident when you have more contact with senior managers or manage staff.
Ignoring workplace politics is not a good strategy for navigating it (believe me, I’ve tried!).
Workplace politics is a complicated concept that would take me another blog post to explain. Instead, here are some general tips for navigating it:
- Develop strong interpersonal skills so when you have a negative interaction with someone, you can manage it effectively.
- Develop trusted relationships with peers so you can seek support during challenging circumstances.
- Don’t engage in gossip, gaslighting, undermining others or other destructive types of behaviour. Do what you can to discourage this behaviour from others.
- Remain neutral during conflict or negative situations.
- Build strong conflict resolution skills and always manage conflict in a professional and appropriate way.
- Lead by example. Demonstrate an ideal work ethic and behaviours to set the tone for others.
- Be guided by your own values and remain confident in your skills, knowledge and abilities.
- Seek advice from your mentor.
Learning to navigate workplace politics does take practice. It’s a skill that’s refined over many, many years. job promotion letter
Upskill for your job promotion
Upskilling involves improving an existing skill, including transferable or technical skills.
To advance your career and win a job promotion means you must advance your skills and knowledge, in particular transferable skills.
Transferable skills (often referred to as soft skills) are non-specific to a career path or industry. They’re skills everyone can build, regardless of their vocation.
Transferable skills become increasingly important as you move into more senior roles.
Employers are keen to recruit staff with strong transferable skills as they can be more difficult to develop compared with technical skills.
If you’re looking for a job promotion into a management or senior role, considering upskilling in one or more of the following (highly sought-after) transferable skills:
- Relationship management
- Conflict management
- Advanced written and verbal communication
- Influencing and negotiating
- Strategic thinking
- Change management
Many people completely underestimate the effect their attitude and behaviours have on their reputation in the workplace.
In particular, reputation is crucial when applying for a job promotion within the organisation you’re currently employed.
If your work ethic, attitude, or behaviour is viewed as negative, your colleagues and manager will notice this! Your reputation will proceed you – even managers and staff whom you have never met (if you work at a large organisation) will hear about these types of behaviours. The converse is the same too.
If you’re aiming to win a job promotion, here’s a summary of some attitudes and behaviours to adopt and avoid.
Ideal behaviours and attitudes to display for a promotion:
- ‘Can do’ and willingness to give a challenging task a try
- Helping and mentoring other colleagues
- Sharing your knowledge with colleagues
- Being flexible and adaptable to change
- Taking on a leadership role (without being given a formal one)
- Actively displaying and supporting the organisation’s ideal cultural traits
- Taking charge of your own professional development
- Genuinely investing in performance review conversations (even if your manager doesn’t)
If you’re in doubt as to how your attitude and behaviours are viewed at work, ask your manager at your next performance review meeting. Have an honest and constructive conversation about your career goals and how your attitude and behaviour can support your goals 😊 job promotion letter
Achieving your career goals and winning that job promotion is possible for you!
Don’t let past setbacks affect your aspirations or miss any more opportunities.
The key is to thoughtfully implement strategies designed to demonstrate your abilities, your good cultural fit in the organisation and invest in your professional development.
This post was about essential strategies to get a job promotion.
You might also like: 17 professional development goals to skyrocket your career.
Hi there, I'm Danielle Ward
Your go-to career development and human resource practitioner, guiding your career towards true north.
Latest posts by Danielle Ward (see all)
- 32 of the best interview questions to ask at your next job interview - 11 November 2021
- This single action can skyrocket your chance at a job offer | interview thank you email - 7 November 2021
- 7 signs you might have a bad resume (and how to fix it) - 5 October 2021