Tips for Getting a Promotion

You’ve been with your employer for some time now.  You feel you’ve done a good job, but haven’t been rewarded with a promotion.  What now?

First, let’s draw a distinction between getting a raise and a promotion.  Many companies give out an annual cost of living raise.  Yeah, it’s a bump up in pay, but it typically only helps you keep pace with inflation.  You don’t end up with an increase in buying power.

Earning a promotion means taking on new or additional responsibilities and should be accompanied by not just that cost of living raise, but an actual bump in salary to give you more buying power.

When it comes to landing jobs and promotions, we’ve all heard “It’s who you know, not what you know.”  And there’s certainly an element of truth to that.  Yet there things you can do to increase your chances of success.  Let’s explore a few.

First, have you ever asked your manager or human resources department about it?  They aren’t mind readers.  Frankly, some workers are happy in a job they’ve mastered and aren’t looking for new or increased challenges.  Perhaps your manager feels you’re one of those folks.

Express your desire to continue to grow… to add even more value to the organization is a larger role.  It’s not that you’re unhappy with what you currently do – it’s just a natural desire to continue to grow.  After all, if we never grew, we’d still be doing that same entry level job we first had as a teen.

Here’s a potential risk.  Many workers feel they have to leave an organization in order to move up.  That’s a sad but true reality in today’s job landscape.  By asking about growth opportunities, you do run the risk of making your boss or HR feel as though you’re unhappy and looking outside the company as well.  I’d reassure my boss that I enjoy the work culture and my strong preference would be to stay put if at all possible.

Inquire as to what steps might be necessary to be considered for promotion.  Maybe it’s specific training, licensure or other forms of education.  At least you’ll know what’s ahead if you’re serious about that next step.

But what if you already have the necessary education/training and you’ve been getting passed over?  First, make your boss aware you’d like to be considered.  Let’s assume you have let them know… you’ve even interviewed… and you’re getting bypassed.

Ask for candid feedback regarding your interviewing skills.  Companies who truly value their employees want to see them put their best foot forward during those internal interviews.  I’ve often encountered solid, hard-working folks who just freeze up during interviews.  They know it has cost them in the past and want help to make them more effective during that interview.

Lastly, make sure you take the time to become better known throughout the company.  This is especially true if your promotion would be to another department.  Get to know that future boss.  Have a co-worker introduce you to them.  That’s the networking component and can help address the “It’s who you know” part of things.

And then, if all else fails, you can always look outside the company.  Good luck!