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How to Get Promoted - Every Encounter Matters - Are You Ready to Climb that Ladder?

Updated on June 5, 2012

Tips to get that next Promotion and Move Up in your Career

Haven't we all scratched our heads, wondering how the guy in the next cubicle or the woman who just started got the promotion we were hoping for? Is it all about office politics or are we somehow sabotaging ourselves? Maybe a few of the tips below will be helpful in your professional journey.

  1. Do what you say you're going to do. First and foremost in all of our careers (as in life) is our reputation. Nothing can make you more questionable in the eyes of your supervisor than the inability to follow through and be dependable. If you find yourself making excuses for being late to work, being unprepared for a meeting, or missing a deadline, you're probably already in a space that needs some serious clean up. If you put yourself in a position where others have to wait for you, cover for you, or compensate for you, you're probably not on that short list for the next promotion. Your word should be golden. Don't put others in a position to question your intentions, even once.
  2. Show good judgement. Why do you think so many companies do credit checks and background checks? if you've made poor decisions in the past, can they trust you with their reputation? Every action you take, every remark you make, says something about you. Make sure your actions tell the story you want to tell.
  3. Make your boss's job easier. Okay, I know this one might be hard to do sometimes, but let's face it, your boss will have the biggest say in the next step in your career. Does your supervisor have to follow up on you - do part of your job - spend time cleaning up after your mistakes? You want your boss to think of you as someone who makes her job easier - someone who is indispensable. Do your job well but also try to find ways to take tasks off of her hands or make him look better to his boss.
  4. Be coachable. While we all want to put our best foot forward and express confidence, we also need to show that we want to learn and improve. Ask for feedback. Accept criticism willingly and show appreciation and an intent to change. Be confident in your skills but be open to improvements and growth.
  5. Volunteer for assignments. Everyone has more than a full workload but someone still has to plan the company picnic, participate in the latest task force, or head up the birthday committee. Show that you care about the group events and that you can manage your time well enough to do your job AND handle the extra activities.
  6. Every encounter matters. Don't think that your boss doesn't know how you treat your peers, the team's assistant, the janitorial staff, or the new guy who started a couple of weeks ago. Your reputation precedes you and people talk. Always put your best foot forward and assume your boss (or the president of the company or your grandmother) is watching you.
  7. Do the job you aspire to do. The previous six items were really meant to showcase your skills and reputation in your current position, but the most surefire way to get the nod at that next position is to remove the question "Can she handle the next level?". If you're already doing some parts of the next job - filling in for your boss when he's unavailable, doing the job that's a skill level higher than yours, taking on extra tasks - you can make the answer to that question an easy one.

Be the obvious choice - not because you do a good job where you are, that's expected, but because you do a good job where you want to be. If people already see you at that next level, then the decision has already been made, hasn't it?

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