Career growth requires one thing – that you be promotable. For most of us, promotion is a desirable thing. It can include a wider scope of responsibility and authority, more challenging assignments, new opportunities and an increase in salary and benefits.
Promotion is seldom automatic or random. There is a conscious decision made by a hiring manager who has weighed available information, and based on past performance, interviews and recommendations, has selected one candidate for promotion. And while you cannot force the situation, you can position yourself to be a superbly competitive candidate.
Being promotable begins long before an opportunity arises. It is the summation of your career to date. It rests on everything a hiring manager knows about you, thinks they know about you, and can find out about you from peers, supervisors, subordinates and others.
To Be Promotable:
- Be a great worker. This should go without saying, but marginal or problem employees are not promotable. If you cannot fully handle your current responsibilities, don’t expect the organization to reward you. Start with the basics. Be on time. Arrive early and be ready to start on time, every time. A minute or two might not be the end of the world, and you might think your boss “doesn’t care,” but they do. Get tasks done accurately and meet deadlines. Do things the right way the first time. Be outstanding. Demonstrate daily that you are ready for more responsibility.
- Create strong interpersonal relationships. Relate well with everyone, from the president of the organization to the housekeeper others may ignore. Be kind to everyone. Go out of your way to support customers. Help others without being asked. Be a team player. Business today depends on teamwork. Demonstrate your ability to work with others effectively.
- Support your supervisor. Make them look good. Do not be gunning for their job. Backbiting and bypassing them will backfire. No one wants to promote an employee who is intent on climbing to the top over their supervisors’ dead bodies.
- Be positive. Negativity is poisonous. Promotion often means interacting with a wider circle of staff and/or clients. If your affect is hostile, the organization cannot afford to promote you and spread negativity.
- Be proactive. Take the initiative within acceptable limits. Demonstate that you recognize emerging issues and opportunities, have the willingness to address them, and the judgement to know how to work within your organization.
- Demonstrate integrity. Be honest and consistent. When you make a mistake, admit your errors and work to correct them. And when there are victories, share the credit. No one succeeds alone. Highlight the contributions of others and thank them for their efforts. Ensure your social media profile reflects integrity and professionalism. Google your name and review all your online profiles. Make sure they represent you professionally.
- Expand your scope. Promotion often involves new responsibilities, new relationships, new issues and new skill sets. Take advantage of opportunities to learn new skills, interact with other departments and expand your personal and professional networks. Volunteer for committees at work, and consider volunteering for organizations which resonate with you. Hone the skills for your next job and be better prepared for promotion and success.
Promotional opportunities don’t come around every day. If you are interested in positions with more resposibilty, take action now to be promotable. There are great opportunities for those who recognize that tomorrow’s success begins today. Set your goals, be consistent in your efforts, and be promotable to emerging positions and responsibilities.