“Attitude is altitude,” a famous adage tells us. When it comes to getting promoted fast, maintaining a can-do attitude conquers all. Keeping up a sunny, pleasant professional demeanor will help you win friends and influence Human Resources managers. So will good work hygiene. Show up early, work late, and volunteer for assignments once yours are completed to the best of your ability.
Realize, too, that every office newbie wonders how to get promoted fast. So you are always competing against others at the company for that spot above yours. For this reason, it’s not enough to be a whiz at your given tasks. You also need to be likeable—the type of person whom others want to work with and (ultimately) work for.
Research shows that employees with high emotional intelligence (EI), such as managing relationships, are 75 percent more likely to be promoted than employees with high IQ.((Career Builder: Seventy-One Percent of Employers Say They Value Emotional Intelligence over IQ, According to CareerBuilder Survey )) Teamwork matters as much as your individual abilities.
Additionally, these 10 steps will help you succeed faster than you dreamed possible.
Craft a Plan for How to Get Promoted
Step 1: Have a Plan
In this world of fast-disappearing mentors, you need to be the architect of your own plan.
Ask others in your field what they did to get promoted and how long it took. Map out a general timeline for your own advancement.
One thing to consider: think of where you want to be five years from now, then work backwards to figure out when you should receive your next promotion.
Step 2: Commit Your Plan to Paper
Studies show that writing down one’s dreams and aspirations helps them happen faster.
One Saturday when you’re not at the office, take a few hours to capture your plan on paper. Then, separately, pen the tangible steps you believe you need to take to accomplish your dream.
Perhaps you should aim to get into the office at least a half hour earlier than your direct supervisor each day. Or maybe write, “win one piece of new business per year” as your goal. Do you know someone who could throw your company a piece of new business? Consider reaching out to that person.
Step 3: Discuss Your Plan with Your Boss or Direct Supervisor
Performance reviews are a logical time to ask your boss how to get promoted. Bear in mind that any raise you receive may be an indicator of whether you’re perceived to be on the fast track for promotion or on a slower track. (To find out how your raise compares to other workers’ raises, ask around.)
If you already are on the fast track, just keep doing the excellent work you are doing. If you discover that you are on a slower track, it may make sense to first work out with your boss the steps you need to take to get a hefty raise, and from there, make the case for why you deserve a promotion.
Get It in Writing
Step 4: Ask for It in an Email
Did a client commend your public speaking ability? Did your research report exceed your boss’s expectations? Did your colleague profusely thank you for pitching in over the weekend? In the most gracious way, ask that person to send you an email thanking you and to please copy your boss on it.
When it comes to discussing a potential promotion with your boss and the powers-that-be, glowing emails really help bolster your case.
Be sure to bring those emails with you into your performance review meetings. The emails can help you prove you deserve a promotion.
Step 5: Put Any Interim Managerial Tasks in Writing
If you are ever asked to fill in for missing supervisor, ask your boss to write an email to the whole team about the process to be followed.
This one step will help clear up confusion among your teammates and smooth the way for you to demonstrate your managerial talent. You’ll spend more time managing people and less time trying to manage the process.
The Casual Check-In
Step 6: Check In with Your Boss Now and Then
If you happen to have a boss who gives you a lot of feedback, consider yourself lucky. You will already know how you are doing long before any performance review. You can also use any negative feedback to help you make micro adjustments so that you can bring up your performance before it’s officially rated.
However, if you happen to have a boss who doesn’t offer up much feedback, make it a habit to casually check in with him or her. Wait until a calm moment, knock on the door or cubicle wall, and ask if he has a minute or two. Then, simply sit down and ask what he thought about your contribution to the latest project. (See Step 7.)
But take care. The casual check-in should be used sparingly. Do it too often, and your boss may start to consider you a bit paranoid (and then wonder why you are).
Step 7: Accept All Feedback (Positive and Negative) Gracefully
When you ask your boss for feedback, you will receive it. And you may not always like what you hear.
Maybe you thought your two-minute introduction to the new product launch was phenomenal, but your supervisor found it uninspiring.
Perhaps you thought the client meeting was a smash success, but your client said otherwise after you left the room.
Those who get promoted fast demonstrate an ability to receive positive feedback gracefully and bounce back from negative feedback equally gracefully. Even if you don’t like what you hear, thank your boss for sharing her feedback and promise her that you will work to improve. Then, draft some action steps you will take to keep your promise.
Step 8: Remember You’re There to Solve Problems, Not Create Them
Try to be easygoing and flexible. Strive to receive the plum assignments, but realize that everyone in the firm also wants the better assignments. So, be gracious when you receive a terrible assignment, and just do your best to finish it professionally.
If you find yourself with a lot of free time, volunteer for extra work, but be judicious about what you volunteer for. It’s important to be perceived as poised and professional, not desperate and clamoring.
Prove you deserve to be promoted, instead of nagging your associates about how to get promoted.
Step 9: Work Hard
Today, business moves at the speed of technology. It’s important to keep up with technology as it evolves. You may need to take additional classes or get additional certifications and digital badges just to stay ahead of change.
Be the person at your company who embraces change rather than shunning it. Do things the new way, and prove that you love to learn.
By showing your willingness to change with the times, you’ll prove that you’re an employee who’s worth keeping around.
Invest your time in learning about the business, your company, and your clients, and your investment may well pay off in a promotion.
It’s Not Just What You Know
Step 10: Get Along with Everyone
Bosses tend to promote those whom they like faster than others on staff—regardless of their talent level.
So first and foremost: get along with your boss. But don’t kiss up because that will make your coworkers turn against you.
Strive to be known for being nice to all, fair to all, and coming up with creative solutions to problems.
To boost your popularity, try to attend some of the outings, all of the office parties, and as many office showers and office birthday celebrations as you can without sacrificing your work product. Occasionally offer to organize one of these events if you have the time.
Getting along with everyone is one is a surefire way to get ahead and be promoted faster.
The Bottom Line
To get promoted faster, it’s important to understand that ambition coupled with camaraderie wins.
When your supervisor notices that you take criticism well and learn from mistakes, and that you keep emotions in check and get along well with others, you will earn respect.
The most important mantra for those who long to get ahead: be professional.
Solve problems, so that you can be promoted to tackle and solve even bigger problems.
More About Career Advancement
- Is People Management the Right Career Path for You?
- The Most Critical Career Advice that Helps You Climb the Career Ladder
- How to Advance Your Career (and the Big Mistakes You May be Making)