How To Get A Promotion At Work

Written by Nicola Wylie

Navigating the promotion process and climbing the career ladder can be tricky in an ever-evolving professional landscape. With so much competition, it takes more than just clocking in and hoping for the best. Instead, today’s professionals need to be proactive and think strategically to stand out from the crowd. The first step is doing your research. That’s why we’ve put together this complete guide on how to get a promotion at work.

Keep reading for actionable advice and strategies for getting a promotion and expert career advancement guidance to land you that coveted new role.


8 Tips On How To Get A Promotion

Advancing your career isn’t just about earning more money (although that’s certainly an important factor). As well as better compensation, professional development makes you more motivated and satisfied in your job. As such, you perform better and stay engaged in the role.

But how do you land yourself a promotion? While the journey may look different for everyone, these tips for securing a promotion can help.

1. Get to know the Promotion Landscape

Start by researching how the promotion process works in your company. Once you have a clear idea of the criteria and requirements for promotion, assess your current job description, responsibilities, and performance. This will help you to pinpoint your strengths and areas for improvement, which will prove valuable during the interview process.

If you find that you are missing key skills or requirements for the promotion, define a plan to plug those gaps. For example, can you request additional training or mentorship? Are there steps you can take on your own? All of this will demonstrate to your employer that you are proactive and determined.

2. Seek extra responsibilities and demonstrate your interest in progressing

One of the best ways to stand out for a promotion is to take the initiative and volunteer for more responsibilities. This could mean taking on tasks above your current level, leading a project, or getting involved in cross-functional teams. Your goal is to showcase your ambition to go that extra mile.

A clever way to do this is to suggest solutions or improvements to current processes and workflows. By actively solving real company problems, you can show off your ability to handle more responsibility.

3. Develop your skills

Employers highly value employees with a growth mindset because they know this type of worker will continue progressing and developing no matter what. So, invest time in your own career development by actively seeking learning opportunities. This could include learning industry-specific tools to optimise efficiency, obtaining certifications, participating in elective training programmes, and attending industry events.

Ultimately, you want to showcase your desire to grow professionally and position yourself as a subject matter expert (SME) within your company. Doing this will help demonstrate your impact and achievements during the interview process.

4. Cultivate strong relationships and find a mentor 

All the biggest and brightest professionals know the importance of mentorship, no matter how senior your position is. Seeking a mentor demonstrates humility and an eagerness to keep growing. This is an attractive trait for employers as it shows you won’t grow stagnant as your reach more senior positions. Plus, you’ll learn a lot.

Fostering healthy working relationships with colleagues and partners proves you’re ready for a more senior role. So, start networking now and prove you can work well in a team. The stronger your relationships are in the organisation, the more insights and support you can expect as your career advances.

5. Put your money where your mouth is

Now that you’ve assessed your current role and performance, you’ll want to ensure you’re delivering consistently excellent results. There really is no better way of enhancing chances for promotion than being a top performer.

Be mindful of the impression you’re leaving. This means meeting deadlines, producing top-tier work, and ensuring your goals are aligned with the business.

Of course, it’s not just about being an overachiever. You’ve also got to learn how to communicate your achievements without coming across as arrogant. The best way to strike the right balance is to focus on results and impact. 

6. Seek out feedback (and act on it)

One of the most important steps to achieving a promotion is actively asking for feedback. Not only is feedback a valuable opportunity to grow, but it demonstrates your willingness to learn. 

Make a habit of asking for feedback not just from managers but your peers too. This is especially important during cross-functional collaboration. 

Of course, there’s no point in asking for feedback if you’re not going to listen. So, ensure that you take it on board and act on it. If you struggle with constructive criticism, seek out training to help you improve this weak area. After all, giving and receiving feedback are critical parts of senior roles.

7. Prepare for the promotion process

You’ve done the legwork, and you’ve read our guide on how to get a promotion. What’s next? The final phase is to get ready for the process and prepare a strong promotion package.

Start by updating your CV and LinkedIn profile, tailoring it to the promotion you’re seeking. Make sure your CV showcases any relevant accomplishments, skills, and results that indicate you’re a good fit for the role. For example, highlight any extra responsibilities, certifications, or projects that demonstrate your ambition.

Next, prepare a promotion package. You can do this by gathering documents that prove your contributions and achievements and support your case—for instance, performance reviews, recommendations from partners or peers, and training certifications. 

Finally, research common interview questions and start practicing your responses. Prepare real-life examples that demonstrate your skills and practice answering with confidence. We recommend using the STAR method to answer interview questions efficiently and concisely. 

8. Mentally prepare for success and failure

While we are firm believers in a positive mindset, it’s also crucial to prepare yourself for rejection. Since you’re a current employee, not getting the promotion you want can sting. However, just because you didn’t get it this time doesn’t mean you won’t in the future.

Mentally prepare yourself for both success and failure and remember to ask for feedback if you aren’t successful this time around. Conversely, you’ll also want to think about how you will communicate your promotion if you get it.

Talking about career progression can be tricky, so you’ll want to consider how best to let your colleagues know about your new role.


How To Get A Promotion: What Comes Next?

Applying for an internal promotion can be nerve-wracking, but it’s worth the risk. Best case scenario, you land yourself a new role and continue your career trajectory. Worst case scenario, you don’t get the role, but you have a better idea of where you stand.

If you’re unsuccessful, it’s important not to take this to heart. Instead, ask for feedback to better understand why you didn’t get the promotion. If you’re still unhappy with the reasoning, it may be time to look for a new job before resentment starts to build.

Looking for career advice? Check out our fortnightly blog for industry news, employment guidance, and the most up-to-date job market information. Whether you’re looking for a new role, to upskill, or land a promotion, we have you covered.  

If you think it’s time for a new start, browse our jobs board for the latest new opportunities near you. 

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