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What does getting a promotion mean? More money and perks? A pat on the back for doing well? More responsibility?

Often people think of promotion as a big deal and a big change. Well, that’s partly true. It is a big deal – and you can be proud of yourself if you nab your next promotion. But in terms of behaviour, it’s really lots of little changes over time rather than a big one.

If you’re hoping to pip others to the post for promotion you need to be prepared to prove to decision makers that you’re ready for it while you’re still in your current job.

1. Be good at your job

This goes without saying but you need to be good at your current job. You need to show quality work consistently, hit your deadlines, and make yourself indispensable. Is there someone in your team everyone looks to for a specific skill or advice? People in senior positions often become that way because they are naturally someone co-workers look to, rather than due to a title change.

2. Be Goal Oriented

Don’t sit around waiting for a promotion. Sit down with your boss and discuss your career goals from the get go. People find it obvious to ask in an interview ‘what do I need to do to progress?’ but when it comes to their first appraisal, it’s forgotten. Your boss is a key person who can help you get ahead (as long as you don’t replace them…). Be sure to ask them for help and make your goals clear. A clear plan will also give you a realistic guide and timescale to achieve your goals.

3. Be a Team Player and a Leader 

Build strong relationships across your team. Be aware of the impression you make day to day – do you show respect to others? Do you volunteer to help out? Decisions are rarely made alone by your boss. If you’re someone that ruffles feathers – no one is going to be rooting for you (or willing to help you) when you’re up for promotion. But being a team player doesn’t mean getting involved in office gossip and bad habits e.g. running late. You should maintain balance with an eye for leadership. Showing skills like decisiveness, confidence and trustworthiness are all key for becoming a leader, and showing promotion potential

4. Be an Advocate for your own success

When asked what you’ve done for the company, don’t pause to try and drag memories up from previous experiences. Try to keep a note of your achievements as you achieve them, especially if those achievements saved/made money, or had impact on ‘bigger picture’ growth. Not only do you show your success in a practical way, but you show how invested you are in your work. Why, you can remember even the smallest of details! 

5. Be ready to improve

You know what they say – every day is a school day. A high performing employee might hit their targets and be super productive, but maintain the same strengths and weaknesses year after year. A high potential employee will excel with their strengths, while continuously pushing for improvement everywhere else. Being seen to have the right mindset for growth and learning will reap rewards for you as you climb the career ladder.

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