You want to get promoted at work in 2020, but how are you going to make that job promotion happen?
It's easy to want to get promoted, but knowing exactly how to get the promotion at work is a whole other story - but it doesn't have to be. Take these six steps and you will be on the fast track to career advancement...
Step 1: Find the Right Advocates
The first thing that you need to do is make sure that you have the right people on your side and in your corner.
Success is not solitary. If the things that you did on your own,z like working really hard and getting really good results, were the only things that you needed to do in order to get the promotion, you already would have gotten it.
While it kind of breaks my introvert heart, we really do need to cultivate relationships with people - and especially with people who have influence over us meeting our career goals. This is not inauthentic, sinister, scheming or anything that just makes us feel slimy.
It's about being intentional and taking control of your career.
Begin by identifying who is actually going to make the decision about your promotion. It might be that your manager makes the decision, or perhaps you have a review committee or a practice community; no matter who it is, you need to figure out who is making the promotion decision.
Next, you need to identify who has influence over that decision to promote you. Is it your boss's boss? Is it a team member? A manager from another department? Figure out the people that could be saying positive things to get you a little bit closer to your promotion, and hopefully, these are all people that you already have an existing relationship with.
Before I move into the next step, I do want to caveat something because often the decision-maker is your direct manager, and I know that a lot of the women that I work with struggle to get the support of their manager to get this next step in their career.
If you really want to be successful, you need to transform that. And if this is not a relationship your willing to transform, then you have to ask yourself some hard questions to make sure you're on the right team at the right company. At the end of the day, if your manager makes the decision and you are not of their favorites - they are not going to promote you.
Step 2: Communicate Your Intention
Does a goal even exist if we don't share it with other people? I've heard so many anecdotal stories about people, especially women, that have been working their butts off to get promoted and their manager didn't even realize that they were trying to get a promotion.
When they apply, their manager is shocked as they had no idea they wanted to advance their carer - I guess their managers thought they were completely overachieving and working all of the time for fun.
Don't let this happen to you.
It is a very simple and straightforward fix: make your desire to move up the corporate ladder clear to your decision-makers and to key influencers. The first person to know that you want a promotion should be your manager. If your manager doesn't know that you want to get promoted at work, they can't do their job and helping you get to that next level.
Sharing your goal with influencers within your network of advocates is going to be very helpful, because when they know that you're working to get that promotion, they may consciously (or subconsciously) go out of their way to market you for opportunities which would be a great fit.
For example, if you let an influencer know that you are trying to get to the next level, they may send an email to your boss, letting them know how instrumental you have been in the project success for something that you were collaborating on.
Look, I know it can be terrifying to tell people that you want to get a promotion, especially if you've been working towards a promotion for a while and you haven't gotten it, but truly no one can help you if you don't share your goal with the people who can help you make it happen.
Take the steps that you need in order to make sure the right people know your goal to get promoted.
Step 3: Focus on the Right Things
One of the traps that I've seen way too many ambitious professionals fall into is they start overachieving on *all of the things* when they want to get to the next level, except the things that they're overachieving on aren't demonstrating their ability (or their readiness) to get to the next level.
If you're putting your hand up and volunteering for every task and activity that needs to be done by your team, maybe you're proving yourself to be a good team player, but you need to stop and ask yourself: Is this a prerequisite for leadership?
An important quality in a leader is their ability to be strategic with their effort and the effort of your team.
Instead of focusing on all the things, focus on the things that truly matter. This is probably going to include identifying a high impact project, which is a project that drives a business outcome. Ideally is it will increase profitability, either by increasing revenue or decreasing costs (or, ideally, both).
Take a look around you and what could actually be improved. What are the gaps, and specifically what are the gaps that you are uniquely qualified to fill? Being proactive and taking leadership on an initiative is going to demonstrate your readiness for the next role.
Step 4: Know The Criteria
The other aspect of this is having a conversation with your manager, or human resources, or whoever has the information, about the criteria that will be considered in order to get the promotion you want.
For example, if you're trying to step into a leadership role, what are they looking for in a leader? The more that you know about the assessment criteria for the promotion, the more that you're going to be able to demonstrate that you have all of the criteria, skills, experience, and superstar traits of the person that they want in that role.
Step 5: Commit to Your Own Growth
One of the things that I hear too often from ambitious professionals at small companies, medium-sized companies, and gigantic enterprise organizations, is that they're not getting the support that they need from their manager or from their organization to get promoted at work.
While it would be really, really nice if every manager just focused on helping their team achieves the next step in their career, and if every organization had robust professional development programs and budgets at scale to help you get the knowledge and the expertise that you need to get to that next step in your career, it's just not the way that the world is.
The hard truth is the days where you could rely on your employer to give you professional growth opportunities are gone. Now it's something that you need to figure out on your own.
Scope out what training is available, if there's a professional development budget to cover or subsidize costs, see if there are allocations to go to conferences, and have the conversation with their manager to see if there is any mentorship or coaching that they can give you. Because if any (or all) of those things are available - aces.
But you need to be proactive about your own career growth. If you aren't showing up and investing in yourself first, you really can't expect anyone else to do so.
Step 6: Have the Right Support
When we think about support for our professional success, we often think about our partners, our friends, or being able to text our mom in the middle of the day when we're having a professional meltdown, but support really needs to go deeper than that.
The great thing is in this virtual world, there are so many different places to get it. You can connect with virtual communities on LinkedIn, YouTube, on Facebook, and if you are an ambitious woman in a male-dominated industry who really wants to connect with the community, working to elevate and accelerate their careers you can join the Strive Squad.
As I mentioned above, success is not solitary. Find the right people and the right resources to help you along your journey to career success.
Bonus Tip: Stand Out
I have one more tip for you and that is to make sure that you are making yourself stand out. If you blend in at work, if you don't stand out at work, even if the perfect opportunity and the perfect promotion came available, no one would think of you to step into it and you need to make sure that you are dodging that ditch. Make sure and check out this post to learn how to stand out at work, so when that promotion opportunity comes open you are first to mind.
What promotions are you working towards?