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How to Get Promoted

Updated on March 23, 2011

I've been in the workforce for almost twenty years now. During this time I've worked for numerous companies in numerous places and held a number of positions. I've noticed several commonalities in the people that tend to get promoted most often. In this article I provide guidelines on how to get promoted, based on my experience.

Disclaimer: There is no guarantee that following any of these guidelines will get you promoted. I'm simply documenting what I've observed over many years of working. Life isn't fair and, like everything else, getting promoted or impressing your boss is often a game. Games take strategy, so it's best to have one and constantly tweak it until you get it right! Good luck!

Climbing the Corporate Ladder
Climbing the Corporate Ladder
Dress like your boss!
Dress like your boss!

Emulate Your Boss

This means a lot more than you may realize. You should emulate your boss as much as you can. Here are some examples:

  • If your boss laminates his business card and attaches it to his roller bag, you should do the same...and, get the same style roller bag.
  • Dress like your boss
  • Drive a car similar to your boss
  • Talk like your boss - if your boss tends to use certain phrases or terms, use them as well. For example, if your boss is always talking about the EBIT, you should talk about EBIT too.
  • Work the same hours as your boss
  • Get the same Blackberry model as your boss
  • Take up similar hobbies as your boss

I'm not sure why emulating your boss works so well. I assume it's because your boss sees his or herself more in you and can, therefore, more easily identify with you.


Be Agreeable, but Not Too Agreeable

I'm not advocating being a "Yes man" here, but in my experience it's always better to say what you can do versus what you cannot do. If you always are the one stating that you can do what the boss wants, he'll think of you as easy to deal with, and overlook the fact that you weren't actually able to do what you said you could. After all, he'll think you gave it your best shot.

The person that states "it can't be done" is typically labeled as "difficult", even though he or she may be right.

Make Your Boss's Priorities, Your Priorities

This is the priorities of your boss. Even though your boss may ask you to work on other tasks, what really matters to your boss are her priorities. If you work these, you'll help your boss, which will benefit you.

Answer Your Blackberry Whenever the Boss Calls
Answer Your Blackberry Whenever the Boss Calls

Always be Available for Your Boss

Make sure your boss has your cell phone number. If your boss ever calls, answer the phone, regardless of what you're doing. This shows the boss that they are important to you because you're willing to be at his beck and call. This also labels you as "easy to get a hold of" which is good thing, especially for a needy boss.

Keep Your Boss Informed

I'm a believer in the quote "Don't Confuse Motion with Progress"; however, in my experience, it seems most bosses promote people that seem to talk the most about everything they are working on. So, it is to your advantage to keep the boss informed of everything you've got going on. I've also noticed that the bigger deal you make about everything you're working on, the more the boss will think of you as busy and valuable. The quiet, yet extremely effective worker, often gets overlooked.

Show You're Dedicated to Work
Show You're Dedicated to Work

Show You're Willing to Dedicate Yourself to Work

This is similar to always being available for the boss, but you have to take this a step further. A simple technique I've noticed that a lot of people use is to send emails on a weekend. This shows that they were working on the weekend - that their boss and the company were weekend priorities. I've even known some people to draft reports and draft an email on Friday at work, then send the information out Saturday or Sunday. The appearance is that they worked the weekend on this stuff!

More Information


Follow these guidelines and you're bound to get promoted. Also, this should go without saying, but these are general guidelines; every boss is different! These guidelines, no matter how silly they sound, are what I've witnessed as being keys to promotion though.

If you have any tips or thoughts on this matter, please leave a comment.  Good luck!


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    • just jobs profile image

      just jobs 7 years ago

      hi Kea, well said for the most part. I just wrote on a similar topic at


    • kea profile image

      kea 7 years ago

      @Dental Nurse Jobs - thx for the comment! Good luck!

    • profile image

      Dental Nurse Jobs 7 years ago

      Thanks Kea, I really want a promotion, and found this article really really interesting, thanks Kea, please write more - Cheers

    • kea profile image

      kea 7 years ago

      @M. Rose - thx for dropping by! Good luck out there!

      @Ladybird33 - Good luck with your boss! Let me know how it works out. Cheers.

    • Ladybird33 profile image

      Ladybird33 7 years ago from Fabulous USA

      These are wonderful tips and I needed them! I struggle with my boss but these are going to help me focus. Thank you!

    • M. Rose profile image

      M. Rose 7 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Very interesting tips, Kea. I wouldn't have thought some of these would work. Thanks for sharing your knowledge on the topic, it definitely got my attention!

    • kea profile image

      kea 7 years ago

      hello, hello - thx for the comment!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you a very comprehensive and helpful hub.