By : Edward Chalmers
Climbing the corporate ladder requires hard work, good timing and a little bit of luck. It would be great if your academic credentials, job skills and performance reviews would magically open the doors to the executive suite, but life's not like that. You need to create and execute your own plan.
Here are some tips to help you land that promotion.
1- Master your current job
Even if you're not interested in making your present position your life's work, give it your very best. Keep track of your accomplishments. Find ways to increase productivity. Offer well-researched suggestions that will reduce costs. Accept constructive criticism. Always be prepared to deal with any situation without becoming defensive, blaming others or blowing your professional image.
2- Volunteer to take on (valuable) extra tasks
Plan your strategy. Sometimes it's better to take on a series of smaller tasks instead of a flashy major project in addition to your regular workload. While others are vying for the more visible responsibilities, you'll be proving your worth and value by efficiently taking care of the less coveted ones.
3- Make your boss look good
Even if you do not particularly like your current manager, make it your goal to ensure the department is successful. When your boss gets promoted, someone has to take his place. Why shouldn't it be you? When you're seen as knowledgeable, skilled and interested, you'll be considered promotable. Just don't be a brownnoser or tie yourself too closely to your boss. If he's fired for incompetence, you don't want to be guilty by association.
4- Stay in close contact with the HR department
Making friends with people in personnel will help you find out quickly about upcoming openings. Your human resources department can also advise you of available training opportunities. Let it be known that you have long-term goals with the company. When decisions are being made for career development opportunities, you want to be on the HR short list.
5- Maintain positive relationships with the staff
You're not going to like everyone you work with, but no one else needs to know it. Be polite, considerate and courteous at all times. Be a team player and share accolades with others. By acknowledging the efforts of other employees, you'll earn their trust and respect. And watch your reputation: Keep your personal relationships private and don't do or say anything you might regret in the office, on business trips or at company functions.
Show off those skills, teach someone your position and always look good
6- Let your leadership skills shined
Every rung on the corporate ladder requires a strong image as a natural leader. Offer encouragement to others in the office, recognize special achievements and, on occasion, organize office outings. Getting the staff together for a beer after work is a great team-building tool.
7- Groom a successor
If you're the only one who can do your job, guess what? You'll be doing it forever. Share your knowledge and skills. When you're going on vacation, ask other people to handle aspects of your job and teach them how to do them well.
8- Get a mentor
Find someone you trust, preferably a senior manager or director with a lot of experience and a large network. Ask for advice. Discuss your career goals with him and plan your strategy. Sometimes you need to take a lateral transfer to gain a different type of skill in order to return to your preferred area in a higher position of authority.
9- Take additional training
No matter what your educational background is, there's always more you could learn. Look into night courses, seminars and workshops, and ask your mentor and your boss if they would add value to the company. Read business publications and books. Sign up for online informational newsletters. Stay up-to-date on your industry as a whole, not just your job.
10- Look presentable at all times
It's difficult to see vice president-potential in someone who constantly dresses down. If khakis and polo shirts are the standard in your office, make sure yours are clean, well-pressed and of good quality. Have a sports jacket handy in case you're called to an important meeting in the executive offices. Keep your hair stylish and your shoes polished.
11- Perfect your elevator pitch
You never know when opportunity will knock. If you meet the CEO, introduce yourself in a way that will leave him wanting to learn more about you. When networking or meeting clients, you want them to remember you for the right reasons. Never brag and don't be pushy. Ambition is an admirable trait unless you're perceived as being an egotistical showoff.
12- Watch your timing
It's usually better not to ask for a promotion. Avoid bringing this up when your boss is obviously stressed and has a strict deadline to meet. Choose the time wisely and let it be known that you feel ready to take on additional responsibilities. Try not to show you are in a rush for a raise and a new title.
promotions don't just happen
You cannot expect to be offered a promotion based solely on merit, potential or seniority, and there will be times when someone seemingly less qualified is offered a position you feel you deserve. Don't quit in a childish huff or you'll prove that you weren't the right person for the job. Hang in there and continue following these tips. An even better position may become available or the incumbent will fail miserably and you'll be promoted to replace him.
Remain focused on your long-term career goals. Maintain your integrity, your confidence and your efforts, and you'll get yourself promoted.