How to Get Promoted
Lauren Berger (AKA The Intern Queen) offers a strategy.
On average, people change jobs every three years. Most people start with a company, stay for about 15 months and then start to think about next steps—either a promotion within the company or leaving the company. However, for some employers, 15 months aren’t enough; they want to see you in your position for closer to 24 months before any decisions on promotions are made. So, how can you show your business your value? Here are seven tips for getting promoted.
1. Master your current role
During the first three months of any new position, there’s a learning curve. As an employer, all you can hope for is that the new employee learns from their mistakes and doesn’t repeat the same issues over and over again. By your fourth month on the job, you should start to get into a groove and excel at your position. By month twelve, you should start to be an example to the rest of the team and new hires on how to do great work. If you haven’t 100% mastered your current role, it will be difficult for an employer to move you into a different one. Now keep in mind that no one bats 100%, meaning you can make mistakes—but on average, you know what you are doing and do it well.
2. Be willing to help out other teams
One of my team members always says that she’s here to help. I never knew that one sentence could sound so much like music to my ears. When our marketing team is having a stressful week and operating over capacity, I know I can bring her in on projects, and she’s always willing to learn and help out. Many employees do not have this “I’m willing to help” mentality. People are often only interested in what drives their paycheck and frankly, have a bad attitude about helping out other teams within the company. Employers want to promote people who are team players.
3. Show flexibility
As I mentioned above, you want to show your employer and your team that you are willing to help out whoever needs it, especially at smaller businesses where it can be harder for employers to promote from within because of limited resources. At my business, I’ve hired people who are flexible in terms of their hours and are willing to take on multiple responsibilities that might not typically fall into the same “position.” As an example, I’ll hire a sales rep who isn’t afraid to take on some marketing responsibilities or an assistant who is willing to do customer service. Currently, I’m trying to promote a team member but might need her to continue doing some of her current responsibilities under her new title as we slowly grow our business. An employee’s willingness to be flexible definitely plays into whether or not they will be promoted.
4. Build strong relationships with your team
If you have a strong relationship with your team, one that goes beyond work, you are setting yourself up to be supported. No one wants to break up a team that is positive, gets results and ultimately gets the job done. If you and your team work really well together because of skill level and a mutual respect for one another, the company is likely going to do what they can to keep that dynamic. Make sure that you prioritize your work relationships and let your co-workers know they are important to you. Take every opportunity to get to know them outside of work and build a friendship.
5. Be a reliable and consistent employee
Do you respond to your work emails quickly? Are you always providing feedback and notes when needed? Do you finish your work “homework” in a timely manner? Are you typically on task and meeting deadlines? Is your attendance at work pretty solid or are you calling in sick constantly? Companies want to promote people who are reliable and consistent in the office. What would you rank yourself in terms of your reliability? If you are constantly making mistakes at work and speaking to your manager about them, it’s probably not the best time to ask for a promotion.
6. Show the company you want to stay
Because it’s so common for employees to leave their jobs after only a few months, employers value long-term hires and people who want to stay with the company. By following my advice in the points above (being reliable, working outside of your paycheck, being willing to help), employers will start to wonder—in a positive way—if they can rely on you long-term. They will start to understand that you are an asset to the business. Go out of your way to attend different team-building events the company offers, get an internal mentor and show the company (or tell them, if you have the opportunity) that you want to stay. Companies want to promote people who see themselves there long-term.
7. Articulate your value
You must be able to clearly state how the tasks that you do add value to the bottom line of the business. For example, let’s say a social media executive at a company goes in to ask their boss for a promotion. She says, “My job is to monitor and grow our presence on Facebook. This past year, I grew the Facebook page from 100 followers to 10,000 followers, which has increased our social engagement, grown our web traffic and given us a unique, direct dialogue with our users. Growing this channel helps us put a voice behind our business, therefore making our current customers happier and appealing to new customers—both of which affect our bottom line.” In this example, she’s showing off her accomplishments and the way her work positively affects the business.