How To Get Promoted - A Guide To Advancement

By Sean Stevenson – Latest Revision January 3rd, 2021

Obtaining your promotion and landing that dream job is never easy, nor guaranteed.  For any hope of success, you need to put in consistent effort and go far beyond the call of duty.

For those who have been employed at the same position for many years, it can be easy to assume you are the natural choice to replace your boss.  Yet this is exactly the type of thinking that often proves hazardous to a career.

Never assume.  Always actively take on additional responsibility. 

It is not enough anymore to simply log long and generic hours before calling it a day. 

To make it to the next level you need to show your superiors that you’re ready for new challenges.  You must leave no doubt in their minds that you are the best candidate to take on new responsibilities.

Be open about your ambition.  Tell your boss plainly that you would like a promotion.  Be fearless.  Explain why you’d be the best choice.  Truth is, you have to put your cards on the table and be upfront about your goals.

While no promotion is guaranteed, there are many things we can do to improve our chances of success.

In this in-depth guide, I’m going to show you:

  • Important tips, tricks, and highly actionable strategies that lead to promotion in any organization  
  • How to start taking ownership of projects to get noticed
  • How to deliver and safeguard important data that will make you indispensable
  • The way and reasoning behind making life easy for your current boss (so that you can take control!)
  • And more!
How To Get Promoted

"People don't get promoted for doing their jobs really well. They get promoted by demonstrating their potential to do more."

–Tara Jaye Frank

Start Taking Full Ownership At Every Turn

One of the fastest ways to proving yourself is to excel in your current position.  Every organization values merit.  Those who display an aptitude in their position are often the first considered for a new role or outright promotion.

Think of this as a foundation for your future efforts.

However, the key to propelling yourself to that next level, is to go beyond merely performing well. 

Most promotions are earned outside of your typical day-to-day responsibilities.  For those seeking to climb the corporate ladder, pursuing extra-curricular tasks to completion will yield the best results.  Always go above and beyond.

Try to take ownership of new projects and responsibilities from start to finish.  If you can, become an expert in a specific field.  Go the extra mile, do the additional research, work your way forward, and report your progress as it happens.

By taking charge you will inevitably make yourself indispensable.  People will come to rely on your expertise and work ethic.  New projects will find their way to your desk.  Most importantly, others will see you as a leader. 

If done correctly, you will be the one with all the important information and experience by default.  This is the ideal position to be in no matter where you work.

Think of taking ownership as a means of securing not only your current position, but future positions that will eventually become available. 

This is by far, one of the fastest ways to get noticed by both your organization and your boss.  Consider the merits of this strategy carefully.  They can pay massive dividends over time.

Deliver Impressive Presentations With A Smile

When discussing your projects or work, always be sure your presentation stands out.  Give your colleagues something exciting to look at.  Use excellent writing, visuals, charts, infographics, and more, to deliver important snapshots that promote intelligent discussion.

Always try to consider every angle of your topic beforehand.  If it is a product, who are the customers?  What are the sales margins like?  Are there specific logistics that need to be considered throughout the process? 

By taking the time to summarize large amounts of information, you will come across as both knowledgeable and professional.  Everyone will remember you for this, which is a huge asset going forward.

All too often, people dread giving presentations.  This is erroneous for many reasons.  Primarily, it should be viewed as an opportunity to deliver on the importance of your own work.  You can even take credit where appropriate. 

Just do not overdo it.  Remain professional and use your knowledge to give everyone a unique perspective.  Deliver compelling facts.  Highlight the strengths and weaknesses of your organization clearly, for all to see.  Most importantly, offer them a bright vision for the future.

Make Life Easy For Your Current Boss

Ironically, making your boss trust you is a sure-fire way to get noticed.  You can accomplish this by speaking candidly with them.  Offer to take care of simple tasks that they would normally have to deal with themselves.  Cite your reasoning as ‘wanting to be helpful,’ or ‘to save them time.’

In turn, your boss can now focus on other areas.  Often, this means addressing neglected “high-tier” work that went unaddressed.  This will get noticed further up the chain.

A strong team effort like this, can mean huge gains for a company.  I have personally seen instances where both the boss and their accomplice were promoted at the same time. 

They accomplished far more together than they possibly could alone.  Their teamwork was that good.  

Think of this method as a means of securing the loyalty of your own boss.  With the added benefit of getting noticed by your boss’ superior, you’ll be well on your way to establishing yourself as a prime candidate for promotion. 

Not bad for a bit of extra work!

How To Get Promoted

"Every obstacle is a hidden step on the path to promotion."

–Sunday Adelaja

Maintain A Positive Outlook and Attitude

There are times that prove trying and difficult.  During this period it is more important than ever to maintain a positive outlook. 

No matter what the circumstances you find yourself in, always stay ahead of your workload.  Never miss a deadline and stay on top of important topics.  Customer satisfaction, or overall sales, should be on your radar constantly.  Act on these wherever you can.

Most crucially, always be a problem solver.  If an issue arises, be the first one to address it.  Implement new and improved systems that address past mistakes.

Further, always strive to learn.  Look at every challenge as something you can gain insight from.  Make every single day a chance to gain new experiences or skills.  Strive to better understand work processes so that you can be more flexible in your thinking. 

Even if you are struggling on the inside, always remain outwardly humble and kind towards others. 

Professionals will notice individuals who can maintain their composure while under stress.  They serve as a role model for those around them.  Often, these individuals enjoy hefty promotions down the road.  They are often also asked for their input on important projects.

The key to all of this is consistency.  Always be there for your team.  Prove yourself as someone who can be relied upon in any situation.

Positivity such as this is infectious.  Others will notice your behavior.  It will make you more effective.  If done correctly, you’ll soon be recognized as an important asset to your organization. 

As others take notice of your can-do attitude, word will inevitably reach your superiors.  A promotion is often not far behind.

Help Others To Outperform And Grow

If you find yourself ahead of the curb, having completed all your available tasks, do not stop there.

Instead, consider helping your colleagues.

Raise the performance of your peers by using your own skills to help them along.  This will grant you improved relations with those you assist.  Moreover, your organization stands to gain by the extra work getting done.

Taking the initiative in this way is something highly sought after by employers.  They tend to promote people who raise the performance of their team.

Further, if you can teach other people new skills, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a leader within your organization.

Take Pride In Your Work

Often, modern businesspeople are eager to simply “get the job done.” 

Rather than subscribe to this trend, instead try to take your time.  Be steady in your work-ethic, and do the best job you possibly can.  View each assigned task as a chance for you to fully display your abilities.  Ask questions and always seek ways to improve.

When your own work has value to you, it will show clearly in the results.  This often reflects in higher quality work getting done faster, with more value-added to each effort.

Those who choose to take pride in their responsibilities are often seen as individuals with strong values.  They tend to be given positions and tasks that require more skill.

This is not to say the employees who obtain these higher positions are necessarily more skilled than their peers.  It is to say, however, that they have displayed a work-ethic and ability to get things done.  This is what merited their promotion.

Taking pride in your work is something to consider carefully.  Putting in more effort is always worth it. When you believe in what you are doing, you only stand to gain.  By doing the best work possible, you will show you are ready to be given a leadership role in your organization.

Discuss Your Future With Your Boss

The question of how to go about getting promoted seems a precarious one.  However, as is so often the case, a simple idea is often the best solution.

Openly expressing your desire for promotion can be a huge boon to your efforts.

This can seem entirely obvious, yet most people fail to act on it. 

Management may be entirely unaware of your ambitions.  Without you openly declaring your intentions, they may feel you are happy where you are.  This is especially true if the new position falls outside of your current department.

After all, nobody in your organization is a mind-reader.

When engaging with your boss about a promotion, be clear about your desire to fill the role.  Further, ask what you must do to be considered. 

Often, managers are all too happy to cite the requirements of a new position.  They will tell you exactly what you need to do in order to be promoted.

Be kind in your inquiries, and humble in your responses.  But never lose your focus, drive, or hunger as you relentlessly pursue that promotion.

Display Your Commitment Whenever Possible

An important part of being seen as someone who is ready for more responsibility, is to be utterly committed to your organization.

The quality of your work must remain high.  Mistakes must be learned from.  You should always be willing to put in more overtime if necessary, and more effort wherever possible. 

A key aspect of displaying commitment also, is by developing strong relationships with those you work with.  Try to always be pleasant, helpful, and efficient. 

Moreover, be ruthlessly pragmatic.  Always make sure the job gets done.

How To Get Promoted

"If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door."

–Milton Berle

Avoid Petty Politics and Office Gossip

To demonstrate your integrity and trustworthiness, always avoid politics.  This includes office gossip.

The temptations of these workplace elements can be strong. However, it sends an even stronger message if you can avoid them entirely.  You will be viewed as someone who is fair, honest, and even-handed. 

This is essential when considerations are made for a promotion.  It can mean the difference between you getting your dream job, or someone else being selected.

Never be afraid to socialize in a friendly manner, however.  Building positive relations is always a must.

Solve The Customer’s Problems

As a prelude to promotion, an organization will always look at how you deal with others.  Often, it is customer considerations that come to the fore of a discussion. 

You must show that you can take independent initiative to solve a customer’s problems.  Whether this is done through effective marketing, or a commitment to quality, management is always looking for effective implementation. 

Try to think creatively about how you can go about this.  Look for inspiration elsewhere if necessary.  Try to develop a better system, or a unique solution on your own.

Any employee who can demonstrate skill at solving the problems of a customer-base, will rapidly become a star.  It will only be a matter of time before they’re offered a better job, a new promotion, or both.

Make Your Organization More Money

What every organization really wants, is to find smarter ways to make money. 

The ultimate currency in any profitable enterprise is a higher return on investment (ROI).  This includes not just making money, but saving money too.

Learning how to leverage better returns on investments of any kind, will give you a massive edge over the competition.  Moreover, you can even ask for more resources or a new title if you merit the attention.

This strategy requires a lot of hunger and personal dedication to pursue.  It often takes a great deal of time, research, learning, and -above all- effort.  However, it is by far one of the surest ways to get promoted. 

If you’ve really knocked it out of the park, you’ll be writing the book on your own position.  This means you’ll have far greater autonomy than most.  You may even get to negotiate your own personal compensation.

Attract New And Ever-Greater Talent

A fast-growing company is a prosperous one.  Even slow but steady growth can be desirable. 

Despite this, one of the biggest concerns with growth is how to go about recruiting.  Leading-edge employees that will help propel the business forward can be difficult to find. 

Discovering and recruiting quality people often proves a time-consuming and difficult proposition for any enterprise.  This is why networking is such a valuable currency to have. 

If you can effectively network and convince quality professionals to join your organization, you will be a huge asset going forward. 

Further cultivating these new recruits into highly productive employees is also a massive benefit to your organization.  This is the basis of how teams are formed.  It is key to any management effort.

In short, building and managing teams is one of the clearest ways to gain a promotion.  Any organization on earth would agree.

Conclusion – How To Get Promoted

Everyone always asks how to get promoted.  Despite this, few act on it.  

In this very article, we explored various concepts that lead to obtaining a promotion.  When asking yourself how to get promoted, be sure to analyze your situation thoroughly:

Every situation is unique, so carefully consider each aspect before acting.

If you find yourself in a highly competitive field, with many others vying for the same slot as you are, do not despair.  Follow these ideas discussed in this article to the letter, and you will gain a keen advantage over your competition.

If the worst should befall, and you didn’t get the position you wanted, learn from the experience.

Understand that the best part about seeking promotions, is that there is always another opportunity around the corner.  Always keep your ear to the ground no matter what (LinkedIn comes to mind!).  Oftentimes, the new opportunity that presents itself, is even better than the last.

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