How To Get That Promotion

Have you been slaving away in your current role, waiting for the promotion of your dreams but it just won’t come? You’ve put in a lot of time in your current role but you just can’t crack how to level up? Are you starting to feel frustrated? Are you considering looking to move companies because you have given up on that promotion? Don’t give up just yet! Your desired promotion might be within reach!

Promotions are hard to get. If they were easy, everyone would be moving up the corporate chain all the time. But, you do have options to help you advance in your career. I spent five years in Human Resources at a Fortune 500 company and everyone always wants to know, “How do I move ahead?” These are people who have been with the company for enough time, show up, do their job, have great relationships with their co-workers and whose behavior is never in question. For some companies that is enough to move ahead. Most companies, however, the workplace is competitive and this is the status quo. So how do you you get that promotion?

Master Your Current Role

As soon as you walk through the doors of an organization as a new employee, your prior experience ceases to matter. All that your new workplace cares about is how you perform while you are there. You may have coworkers who like to brag about graduating from an Ivy league school or working somewhere snazzy like Google. But, they still ended up in the same place you are. And what they did at Google or Harvard, doesn’t help the company they are currently working for. Ultimately, what your employers care about is what you can do for them.

When you take the time to master your current role, you demonstrate the value you deliver to your company. The value you that you are able to bring to your company will speak volumes about your promotability.

Make Yourself An Asset

Similar to mastering your role to demonstrate the value you bring to your organization, you must make yourself an asset. What I mean by this is that you need to become something your company feels it cannot do without. There are lots of ways to do this that can backfire (think knowledge hoarding. You can get a bad reputation fast). But, the best way to make yourself an asset is to solve a big problem.

When was the last time you caught yourself complaining about your job? Was it about a broken process? A bad partnership? Whatever the issue may be, find a way to solve it. If you are feeling the pain from this issue, then, others are too. Solve the problem and it will make your job easier and you will become indispensable to your organization.

Enterprise Wide Thinking

When you think about your job, are you thinking in “I” statements? For example, “I am a salesperson. I sell this product. I make these sales goals.” Now try turning these into “we” statements. Think in terms of your entire company. “We sell this product. We met these sales goals which means the company hit record profits.” This small change in your thinking could make all the difference in your career.

Why? Because your company doesn’t want to promote you, a great salesperson. It wants to promote themselves and advance as a company. Always link your work back to how you impact the company’s overall success. This will not only add purpose to your work, but you will be a living example of how the company can achieve its goals.

Make It Known

Say it loud and say it proud. I WANT TO BE PROMOTED TO X ROLE. The more people who know you are looking to advance to certain role, the more opportunities for advocates. When I worked in recruiting, all I wanted was to move to an area in HR where I could manage projects that would make an impact on the business. I didn’t quietly hope for it. I told my boss. I told her boss. I told the head of HR. I told my peers. Everyone knew I was looking to branch out my career. So, by the time an opportunity came available, my hat was already in the ring.

Oftentimes you might find yourself overlooked for a promotion because your leaders didn’t know you were interested. It is easy to see a person who is great at their job and think, “She must really be doing what she is passionate about.” While that may be a pleasant thought, it also means you are likely not being considered for alternate roles. You have to make it known that you are interested. This requires some tact. Keep in mind that you are not running away from your current role, but running towards the next role. When you speak up about your interest in another role, don’t knock down your current role. If you do, you run the risk of people seeing your current role and subsequently you in the same light you are describing it. So be sure you portray your current role in a positive light even though you are looking to leave it.

Start Doing The Work

Go above and beyond with you work to show that you are ready for the next level. One way to do this is to start doing the work of the level you want to be promoted to. No, don’t pretend you already have the job and shirk your existing responsibilities. But rather, find projects that allow you to take on work that is closer to the role you want. You will not only gain valuable experience, but you will demonstrate what you are capable of. If you are a salesperson and you are looking to be promoted to a leadership role over other salespeople, then showcase your leadership skills. Start informally mentoring and developing your teammates. Show them how to become top sellers. You will demonstrate that you are capable of doing the job as well as improving the overall team which ultimately brings more revenue into the company (see enterprise wide thinking?). The company won’t be able to deny your natural fit for the next role and before you know it, you will be promoted!


If you are looking for your next opportunity at your workplace but aren’t sure how to get your desired promotion, then follow these steps:

  • Master your current role
  • Make yourself an asset
  • Start thinking in terms of your company’s success and not just your own
  • Make it known that you are interested in a new role
  • Incorporate the work of the job you want into your current role to demonstrate your ability and add more value to your company as a whole.

Have another thought on how to get promoted? Let us know in the comments!


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